California minor league team apologizes for video suggesting Ocasio-Cortez is an 'enemy'

"We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez ... in addition to our fans," the Fresno Grizzlies said in a statement. "It was a mistake."
Image: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) arrives to a House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing at the Capitol
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., arrives to a House Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee hearing at the Capitol on May 15, 2019.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images file

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By David K. Li

A minor league baseball team in California apologized Tuesday for inadvertently suggesting in a Memorial Day video that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among those who are "enemies of freedom."

The video was played by the Fresno Grizzlies between its games against the El Paso Chihuahuas in a Pacific Coast League doubleheader on Memorial Day.

As the Grizzlies do at many Memorial Day games in their home stadium of Chukchansi Park, it played a video featuring a speech by President Ronald Reagan extolling American values and warning of "enemies of freedom and potential adversaries."

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As Reagan's words about enemies were heard, images beamed on the scoreboard of Kim Jong Un, Fidel Castro — and Ocasio-Cortez, the outspoken first-term Democratic congresswoman from New York City.

The Grizzlies, a triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, said it had no idea the congresswoman's image was on the video and it accepts full responsibility.

"We're embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first," according to a team statement. "We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez ... in addition to our fans, community and those we hurt. It was a mistake, and we will ensure that nothing like it ever happens again."

The foul-up happened after a team employee found that a YouTube producer, whose videos of Reagan's 1981 inaugural address the Grizzlies had used before, had a new video of the speech in a higher resolution, Grizzlies spokesman Paul Braverman said.

The employee uploaded that newer video, which had been posted on YouTube just six days earlier, without watching all of it — and thus missing the inflammatory shot at Ocasio-Cortez, according to the Grizzlies.

"The employee is absolutely remorseful; his heart is broken over the incident," Braverman told NBC News.

A representative for Ocasio-Cortez declined comment Tuesday.