A Florida politician has come under fire for allegedly telling a teenage Latino tennis player to "cut grass" — and then was accused of offering him $50,000 to delete the video footage of the incident.
The 15-year-old was approached by Martin Hyde, who is running for the Sarasota City Commission in Florida, at the Celsius Tennis Academy, NBC News reports. The teen, who is not identified in the story, received an invitation to participate in the Casely International Championship at the Academy's Bath & Racquet Club. When Hyde approached the teen, he reportedly began to hurl racist insults at him.
"You’re telling me to cut grass because I’m Hispanic,” the player says in video of the incident. "That’s racism, man. How can you say something like that? Aren’t you human?"
Hyde told NBC News that he regrets his “boorish and inappropriate behavior," but denied that he offered them any money to delete the video. “I was rude and I regret that. It was a long day and my kids were being disturbed while they were having their lesson, because the boys were being loud,” he said. “But I simply didn’t say those things, and that’s why they’re not on the video.”
He considered dropping out of the race after the allegations surfaced, according to the Herald-Tribune.