San Francisco Giants president Farhan Zaidi made sure his thoughts on a Scottsdale, Arizona, city council member mocking George Floyd were well known. And he made it simple.
“I mean, f--- that guy,” Zaidi told The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly. “You can quote me on that. F--- that guy.”
Baggarly said he called up Zaidi to ask about player movement during COVID-19 after the three-month transaction freeze expires. Instead, the second-year head of baseball operations wanted to talk about Guy Phillips.
Scottsdale council member on ‘I can’t breathe’
Phillips, a member of the Scottsdale city council, opened his remarks at an anti-mask rally by saying, “I can’t breathe!” They were the final words said by both George Floyd and Eric Gardner when they died in police custody. Floyd’s death last month sparked protests around the country that have continued weeks later as the country reckons with racial inequality.
“Insanity,” he said with a sigh when he took his black mask off.
Here's the video of Scottsdale, AZ councilman Guy Phillips at an Anti-Mask Rally, shouting:— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) June 25, 2020
"I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"
(words uttered by both George Floyd and Eric Garner as they died while being forcibly detained by police).
As the protestors cheer him on: https://t.co/vyzmT20v1U pic.twitter.com/7xXTt1OKNc
The Scottsdale mayor announced last week that masks would be required in public as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state continue to climb. The rally, called “Unmask Us,” was set up by Phillips.
After Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said “despicable doesn’t go far enough” to describe the incident, Phillips issued an apology Tuesday.
“It was a stupid and insensitive comment that I shouldn’t have made, and I had no intention of disrespecting anybody while making that comment.”
Zaidi: Phillips putting staff, players at risk
The Giants have a training complex in Scottsdale and players remained in the city when training camp shut down on March 13. The complex reopened on a limited basis, though it was shut down last week after an employee and family member had flu-like symptoms.
Zaidi took issue with Phillips’ remarks mocking Floyd, and doesn’t buy the apology, but also takes issue with the government official’s push against masks. Zaidi told The Athletic:
“I think anyone would have difficulty getting beyond the abhorrent insensitivity of his statement,” Zaidi said. “But even if you can get beyond that — the fact that this guy is condoning behavior that put our staff and players at risk? Like, seriously. F--- that guy. I can’t believe that that guy is a public official in this country. It’s unbelievable.”
According to an analysis by The Philadelphia Inquirer, states that do not require masks have experienced an 84 percent rise in cases over the past two weeks. The 11 states with mask requirements have seen the number of cases drop by 25 percent.
Many people in organization mad
There could be repercussions for Scottsdale after the remark and rally by Phillips, one of six council board members. His began his second term in January 2017.
“I know we’ll have some internal conversations about that,” Zaidi said, via The Athletic. “I don’t know how you could watch that and not be angry about it. And angry may be too simple a term. As for what recourse we have, I wouldn’t want to speak to that. But I’m f---ing pissed about it. And I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that.”
The Giants are currently building a new spring training facility in partnership with the city at Papago Park on land the city of Phoenix leased to Scottsdale. It’s a $50.6 million complex with a venue larger than anything located downtown to host events.
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