Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Omaha pastor Jarrod Parker met Wednesday, after a disagreement earlier in the week sparked public conversation about the relationship between the local government and the black community.
“We embraced, and we shook hands,” Parker, the pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church in Omaha, said in a live video on Facebook. “We met and vowed to work together in a spirit of peace and reconciliation.”
It was Parker’s second video this week about Ricketts, who is also part of the Cubs family ownership, but who stepped down from the Board of Directors when he took office. On Monday, after a meeting with local government officials and black community members, Parker posted an impassioned video in which he said Ricketts called black leaders “you people.”
In a statement, Ricketts said, “I chose my words poorly, and apologized when it became apparent that I had caused offense.”
Audio reportedly of a portion of Monday's meeting surfaced and circulated online Wednesday. NBC Sports Chicago obtained a copy of that audio.
After a break in the audio, Ricketts can be heard saying, “Where the hell were all you guys when I was trying to—”
Another man cuts him off saying, “Excuse me, what did you just say?”
Several other voices chime in, drowning each other out.
Parker addressed the audio, and the criticism he's received since it surfaced, in his Facebook video.
Posted by St Mark Baptist Church on Wednesday, June 3, 2020
“There’s sound that is kind of washing out what was being said after ‘you guys.’ Let me say this, as a pastor, as a man, … I was sitting right next to him. I stand by what I said, and the governor apologized for it. I thanked him as a man for doing that.”
On Tuesday Morning, Ricketts said on a local radio station, 96.7 The Boss, that he planned to speak with Parker.
“I’m absolutely open,” Ricketts said. “I think what we want to do is let everybody’s emotions kind of cool down here a little bit, but I will follow up with the pastor and apologize to him directly and certainly I apologized to all the folks in the room yesterday as well, while we were still there.”
Parker said he’s uninterested in the argument over the meeting audio.
“I hope that this is a message that as much as we disagree and as much as we can hurt each other and be intensive,” Parker said, “we have to come back to the table. Black people, white people, young people, old people, Christian people, non-Christian, people of all faiths, all colors … we’ve got to come back together now.”