© Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
On Wednesday, Scottsdale, Ariz., city councilman Scott Phillips attended an anti-mask rally in which, as a crowd of largely white spectators encouraged him to remove his mask, he said twice, mockingly, “I can’t breathe,” the final words of George Floyd before he died, his neck beneath Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee, as three other officers watched on. Eric Garner, a Black man who was murdered by New York City police officers in 2014, said the same before police put him in a life-ending chokehold.
Scottsdale Council member Guy Phillips just addressed the crowd by saying, “I can’t breathe,” the last words of George Floyd before he died at the hands of Minneapolis police, before taking off his mask at this protest. @azcentral pic.twitter.com/jrxSUbHXi9
— Lorraine Longhi 🌵 (@lolonghi) June 24, 2020
On Thursday, San Francisco Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi responded to Phillips, via The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly.
“I mean, f–k that guy,” Zaidi told Baggarly. “You can quote me on that. F–k that guy.”
Phillips, who, at that rally said he’d wear a mask “out of respect for my fellow citizens, but not if the government makes him do it, has since issued two statements saying that his mockery of George Floyd was not intended to mock George Floyd, saying in a column in the Arizona Republic the classic non-apology apology that he was sorry to “anyone who was offended.”
The Giants’ spring training home is in Scottsdale, a facility that had to be shut down last week and 20 people tested after two showed symptoms. All tested negative. The Giants have a lot of sway in the city, where they’re also building a $50 million minor league complex — all of which they’re leaving for spring training 2.0 in San Francisco, a city that has handled itself more carefully throughout the pandemic.