Giants Respond to Political Donations From Member of Ownership Group

SAN FRANCISCO -- If you're keeping score this offseason, here's the update from AT&T Park: One press release to announce a significant baseball move ... two press releases to explain political donations from a member of ownership. 

For the second time in five weeks, the Giants put out a release regarding political donations by Charles Johnson, who is believed to own the largest stake of the franchise. 

While Johnson is not mentioned by name, the release followed the revelation that he donated to the campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republic U.S. Senator facing a runoff election in Mississippi. Hyde-Smith was caught on video earlier this month talking about a local rancher, saying, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." In October, Johnson and the Giants released statements after it was revealed that Johnson donated to a super PAC that made a racist radio ad in Arkansas. 

While the Giants faced increased pressure on social media over the past week, Monday's statement made it clear that Johnson has no plans to sell his stake, and the rest of the organization can do nothing to force him into a decision.

Here is the full statement from team president and CEO Larry Baer: 

"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. 

We take seriously the platform we have to make an impact on our community, and for decades we have used it to advocate for social justice and equality, inclusiveness and tolerance in our communities.  We were the first team in professional sports to raise money and awareness for a cure for AIDS (Until There's A Cure Day), the first team to devote a day to preventing domestic and family violence (Strike Out Violence Day), and the first team to speak out against bullying, in particular of LGBTQ youth (It Gets Better). We were proud to support the renovation of the Willie Mays Boys & Girls Club at Hunter's Point and each year our Junior Giants program provides free baseball instruction and life skills coaching to more than 25,000 low-income children throughout Northern California. We in the sports world have an ongoing responsibility to step beyond the comfort zone of our ballparks, stadiums and arenas to address injustice and suffering in our communities and the Giants will continue to make that a priority.   

The Giants have more than 30 owners. Just like our fans, they come from different backgrounds and have their own political views. Many give to Democratic causes, many to Republican causes and some refrain from politics altogether. Neither I nor anyone else at the Giants can control who any of our owners support politically, just as we cannot and should not control whom any of our employees support politically. While our 30-plus owners span the political spectrum, they share one core belief: that sports has the power to inspire and galvanize a community. In 1992, when the Giants were about to be sold to a group in Tampa, these individuals recognized the importance of the Giants to the community, and they saved the team for the Bay Area. They helped turn the Giants into one of the most socially-minded and successful organizations both on and off the field. That vision has never faltered. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve our fans and the community."

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