Baseball team apologizes for video calling AOC ‘enemy of freedom’

The video, played on Memorial Day at a Fresno Grizzlies game, had not been properly vetted, the team later said

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., received an apology from a minor league baseball team Monday for broadcasting an “offensively edited” video to fans at a Memorial Day game. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., received an apology from a minor league baseball team Monday for broadcasting an “offensively edited” video to fans at a Memorial Day game. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call)
Posted May 28, 2019 at 9:08am

A minor league baseball team apologized Monday for playing a video showing an image of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez superimposed over audio of a speech given by President Ronald Reagan warning about the “enemies of freedom.”

The Fresno Grizzlies, a minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, issued an apology for playing the YouTube video during a Memorial Day game. The video had been edited in a “misleading and offensive” way and had not been properly vetted, the team said. 

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For most of the three-and-a-half minute video, Reagan’s 1981 inaugural speech plays over soaring music and images representing the U.S. military: Arlington National Cemetery, a flag-draped casket and fighter jets taking off into the air.

But around the three minute mark, as Reagan begins to admonish the “the enemies of freedom” and “those who are potential adversaries,” the video shows a series of images of anti-fascist protests, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and one member of Congress: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Team president Derek Franks said in an interview with KSEE that the team has broadcast the same speech before, but that an employee did not watch this version on YouTube until the video had been played for the 12,500-seat stadium. 

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“Unfortunately what was supposed to be a moving tribute ended with some misleading and offensive editing, which made a statement that was not our intent and certainly not our opinion,” the team’s statement read. “We apologize to our fans and to our community for the error.”

The team also apologized to Ocasio-Cortez.