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Ex-Ray Sean Gilmartin shares his side of incident at White House briefing

The husband of press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said he “happily” would have worn a mask during her briefing if asked.
Former Rays reliever Sean Gilmartin, back right, in yellow, pictured at Wednesday's White House press briefing without a mask.
Former Rays reliever Sean Gilmartin, back right, in yellow, pictured at Wednesday's White House press briefing without a mask. [ Twitter/Howard Mortman ]
Published Dec. 3, 2020
Updated Dec. 3, 2020

Former Rays reliever Sean Gilmartin said he would have “happily” put on a mask if asked during Wednesday’s White House press briefing, and there was “no altercation” with a newspaper photographer over the issue.

Gilmartin was at the White House to watch his wife, press secretary and Tampa native Kayleigh McEnany, deliver a briefing, the first time he’d had the opportunity to do so. The official press pool report included an item — with the description, “Incident after WH briefing” in the header field — about Gilmartin being told by a New York Times photographer that masks were required.

Gilmartin on Thursday offered this version of events to the Tampa Bay Times via email:

“During the entirety of the briefing, I was never asked to wear a mask by anyone. When the briefing concluded, a New York Times photographer loudly said to wear a mask next time after I had passed him and when I was a few steps from exiting the room. There were no words spoken by me in response to his statement. If the photographer had asked me to wear a mask during the two times he passed me during the briefing, I would have happily obliged.”

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Gilmartin pitched for the Rays during the 2020 season, making two appearances during the season, and was part of the postseason roster pool but not active. He is now a free agent.