Official boycott over Giants owner's campaign contributions ends

Image 1 of 2

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) Bay Area civil rights leaders announced today they're ending a boycott of the San Francisco Giants, which began this weekend after it was discovered that the team's principal owner made donations to racist political campaigns.

According to attorney John Burris, he and the Rev. Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and activist Dr. Harry Edwards have decided to end the boycott in light of new revelations that the owner has retracted his donation.

Team owner Charles Johnson reportedly donated to the campaign of Mississippi Republican U.S. Senator-elect Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has made statements some consider racist, as well as to a political action committee behind an advertisement in Arkansas that falsely claimed Democrats could 
bring lynchings back if black voters didn't support Republicans.

Today Burris said that Johnson has since condemned racism and requested his donation back from Hyde-Smith.

Burris said in a statement that the actions "are sufficient positive steps" and that "the boycott is not further warranted at this time." 

Instead of boycotting, he said, "this is time for engagement, dialogue and understanding.

"Mr. Johnson is free to make any and all contributions that he wants, but as principal owner of the Giants, those contributions should not go to organizations or politicians perpetuating racist views or condoning systems that further the legacies of discrimination," Burris said.

"I hope that Mr. Johnson and the Giants organization will be on guard to prevent contributions by its owners that undermine the goodwill and moral standing the Giants have in this community," he said.

"As a longtime Giants supporter and civil rights lawyer, I want the best for the team. But I will be watching."

Over the weekend, Burris said the financial support to the Mississippi Senator-elect's campaign was an "affront to all the African American families that have been victims of Mississippi's historical legacy 
of voter suppression, physical violence, intimidation, racial and ethnic discrimination, among its other atrocities."

Earlier this month, a video from a public event in Mississippi showed Hyde-Smith joking that she would sit front row if she were invited to a public hanging. Then another video surfaced showing Hyde-Smith saying that making voting more difficult is a "great idea."

On Sunday, Giants president Larry Baer distanced the team from the racist campaigns, saying in a statement, "In no way does the Giants organization condone any racist and hateful language and behavior by anyone. It is abhorrent and in direct conflict with the core values of the San 
Francisco Giants."