Sarasota’s Martin Hyde Apologizes for ‘Racially Insensitive’ Comments Towards Puerto Rican Junior Tennis Players

Dec 3, 2019
10:22 PM

On a local Saratosa Tuesday evening news broadcast, Martin Hyde finally admitted to his actions last week at a private tennis club and what he told two Puerto Rican junior tennis players.

“I came tonight because it’s the right thing to do,” Hyde said near the start of the interview with host Bill Logan. “If I got enough balls to tell people off and to be aggressive towards them, I have to face the reality that my behavior was wrong. It was racially insensitive. It was inappropriate. It’s not the first time I’ve spoken badly to people. I’m hoping that it will be among the last times. It’s difficult to explain why one behaves in a certain way, why one seeks to control a situation by putting somebody down.”

When asked if he had told the boys to go “cut the grass” because they were being loud, Hyde admitted that he did, although he did not say that the boys were speaking Spanish. According to the boys, they were speaking Spanish.

“Yeah, at the start, not at the end where they were implying…. It’s racially insensitive. It’s incongruous. It’s inappropriate. It’s designed to put someone down,” Hyde said. “Obviously, I didn’t know the kids, where they were from. I was irritated by the fact that they hadn’t taken direction to be quiet by somebody else. I asked them to be quiet. They wouldn’t, and then I made that throwaway remark, which is petulant. You know, I’m 54 years old. I shouldn’t be making that kind of comment.”

“There’s not fool like an old fool. It was a stupid comment,” Hyde added.

Hyde also addressed the social media reaction about the video.

“Let’s be fair. Quite a lot of them, I can figure out what ‘racista’ means but I don’t speak Spanish. I get it. This idea that it was a slur on the Puerto Rican people. The kids happened to be from Puerto Rico. That was news to me,” Hyde explained. “It was racially insensitive. It was designed to make someone feel small, and that’s not right. I think it’s time that we all stop dancing the dance and pretending that sometimes these darker thoughts don’t come in. I like to think that I was smarter than that. Cleary, I’m not.”

“I get why people feel that it was an attack, and I get why people feel disadvantaged, and I do understand that sense,” Hyde said later. “I do. It’s been brought much more into focus over the last four days. Frankly, it’s kind of an embarrassing admission.”

He also confirmed that he won’t be be running for city commission.

“I don’t think it’s really for me to be involved in political office,” Hyde said.

At the end of the interview, Hyde said that he would try to learn from this.

“Will I be more aware of my attitude and try to negotiate things better? Yes.”

“If the opportunity ever arises, yeah, absolutely, I’d like to take the opportunity to tell them to their faces.”

Hyde concluded with some final thoughts:

“If anybody else has got these kinds of behaviors and kinds of thoughts and whatever else, they should understand that we’re in 2019. It’s not colonial times. We don’t own people, and we have to behave in a different way, and if you don’t, these days, cellphone cameras are everywhere. The idea that you’re going to get away with it, is wrong.”

Earlier on Tuesday, news of another alleged racist incident by Hyde made local Sarasota news.