Major League Baseball requested the campaign of Cindy Hyde-Smith, a United States senator from Mississippi, return a $5,000 donation made by MLB lobbyists Friday.
On Sunday, Cesar Brioso of USA Today reported the decision was made based on controversial comments Hyde-Smith made earlier this month.
"If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row," she said while standing alongside cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson.
Hyde-Smith, a Republican, apologized for the remark during a debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Mike Espy, per Matt Viser of the Washington Post.
"You know, for anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements," she said. "I have worked with all Mississippians. It didn't matter their skin color type, their age or their income. That's my record."
Espy responded by referencing the decision by Walmart to request a return of its donation in wake of the comments, a lead followed by MLB on Sunday, per Viser.
"It's given our state another black eye that we don't need," he said. "It's just rejuvenated old stereotypes, you know, that we don't need anymore. And we have companies like Walmart that wrote you today and told you that your comments did not reflect the values of their company."
Hyde-Smith and Espy are competing in a runoff election scheduled for Tuesday.
Although there are no major league teams in the state, it does feature two minor league teams in the Double-A Southern League Biloxi Shuckers (an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers) and the Mississippi Braves (Atlanta Braves).