SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s a video that’s been viewed by hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter.
While we cannot see who recorded the video, we can see Sarasota businessman Martin Hyde. A tweet in Spanish about the incident says “A Puerto Rican junior tennis player was expelled from Celsius Tennis Academy facilities for speaking Spanish.”
The teens say they were in Sarasota to take part of the Casely International Tennis Championships.
Angel Diaz is the teens’ coach and is back in Puerto Rico. He spoke with ABC7 by phone, and says he was in the locker room when the teens rushed to tell him, what happened.
The teens told him Hyde had acted aggressively while telling them to quiet down when they were speaking Spanish, and told them to “go out and cut the grass." Hyde admits that he lost his temper on the teens but says he never made a racist remark.
“I acknowledge from the get-go is that I was wrong and that much wasn’t based on their ethnicity. It was based on my poor character,” he said.
After the incident, one of the teens posted on Twitter in Spanish saying he has never felt so mad in his life.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Florida commenting on the incident:
"These unconscionable incidents are becoming alarmingly common in our country as of recently. Though we understand that there are differences in policies and issues, the one value we should always share is civility.
Puerto Ricans, who are American citizens, are being attacked because they are bilingual and among them speak Spanish; one can only imagine the attacks against immigrants that are not being reported or lack evidence."
After the video hit social media and went viral, Hyde initially announced his intent to withdraw from the Sarasota Commission race for District 2.
Now he’s considering staying in the race, but has not decided yet. He told ABC7 he’s willing to meet with the teens to offer them an apology.
As for the teens, Diaz says they’re still shaken up from the incident. They claim Hyde offered them $50,000 for the video, which he denies.