The use of Native American imagery in sports has been debated for quite a while. The Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Fighting Illini and the Washington Redskins, especially, have been at the center of a discussion about what should be allowed in sports for the sake of legacy and tradition.
ESPN’s Bomani Jones just added fuel to the flames with his recent appearance on Mike & Mike. Jones is known for both his intelligence and becoming a lightning rod for sports fans that disagree with his views. So it’s not all that surprising that he got a similar response when he wore a Cleveland “Caucasians” shirt on live television.
The shirt was made to be a mock up of the Cleveland Indians and replaced their literally red-faced Native American logo with a white-faced man with a money symbol on top of his head instead of a feather. The Internet quickly took notice and Jones was trending on Twitter for the entire morning.
“To have a problem with the the logo of this would be to have a problem with the Indians,” Jones said in an ESPN interview with Molly Qerim. “But if you’re quiet about the Indians but have something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection.”
Brian Kirby, the one responsible for creating the shirts, saw interest in them boom with Jones’ live appearance.
“Bomani Jones couldn’t have been a more perfect spokesman for the intent of the shirt,” Kirby said to Forbes. “It’s not an angry thing, it’s more about making a point in a humorous way. It’s just holding up a mirror saying, ‘Hey, I’m wearing this and you’re broadcasting Indians games with the same kind of imagery. Why is this a problem and that not a problem?’ It’s about flipping the image on it.”
Jones’ fashion statement brought out both support and disapproval. But, at the end of the day, it continued the discussion, which is what’s best. Currently, many feel that they can tell people what should offend them to justify their support of team names that are as openly rooted in racism and problematic thinking as the Washington Redskins and many others.
Photo Courtesy: Twitter