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.”
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.