ESPN host Bomani Jones put on a masterclass in starting a discussion about racism in sports Thursday.
And all he did was wear a T-shirt that had white people all hot and bothered.
Jones, host of "The Right Time," was filling in on "The Mike and Mike Show" when he wore a "Caucasians" shirt, which is a spoof of Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians mascot and a caricature of a Native American.
— Vince Grzegorek (@vincethepolack) April 7, 2016
Co-host Molly Qerim asked Jones why he wore the T-shirt, and his answer was simple: "It was clean."
He noted that the tee is just like the Indians' jersey, though the team's name has been replaced with "Caucasians." The mascot was also given paler skin with a dollar sign replacing the feather.
"To have a problem with a logo of this would be to have a problem with the Indians," Jones said. "But if you're quiet about the Indians and now you've got something to say about my shirt, I think it's time for introspection."
The shirt generated plenty of chatter on social media, with some opposing Jones' wardrobe choice, while others applauded him.
One Twitter user asked what would happen if another ESPN personality wore an "African Americans" shirt on air.
— Justin DePrimo (@justindeprimo) April 7, 2016
To which Jones replied ...
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) April 7, 2016
The host also didn't hold back with people who were offended.
— Brian V. (@godogs44) April 7, 2016
pass me a cup for all these salty tears. https://t.co/hkiH03lhbq
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) April 7, 2016
Later in the segment, Jones' hoodie was partially zipped up to cover the shirt.
According to TMZ, ESPN said that, "As the show progressed, we felt Bomani had made his point and had openly discussed why he was wearing the shirt, and we wanted to keep the focus to the topics of the day."
Two years ago, a letter to Ottawa's Westfest Music Festival complained that Ian Campeau of A Tribe Called Red, an indigenous EDM group booked to play the event, had worn the same "racist" shirt.
Campeau posted the letter on his Instagram, and Westfest organizers said they received "way, way more positive feedback" over the shirt than negative comments.
Shelf Life Clothing, which made the shirt about a decade ago, said it saw a spike in sales after Campeau wore it.
"He's fulfilling the intent of the shirt, which is an indigenous person flipping the role instead of having a grinning Indian on a white guy's shirt," designer Brian Kirby told HuffPost Canada in 2014.
"The prophecy for the shirt was fulfilled years after it was created."
Also on HuffPost:
EXAMPLE: Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1977–2011) Congratulations to the 99.9 percent of all flags for being awarded this prestigious top rating of 1/10, or "Not Racist." It's the easiest score to receive because all you have to do is ... not be racist! Perhaps no flag avoids racial prejudice more than the one flown from 1977-2011 by the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Say what you will about the GSPLAJ (now Libya), but it's tough to take offense from a plain green rectangle. Who knew Muammar Gaddafi and Kermit the Frog had such similar taste?
EXAMPLE: Flags On Cinderella's Castle At Walt Disney World Sorry, Mickey. While these aren’t the most overtly offensive banners being hoisted in the South, the flags gracing the iconic structure in Orlando score a "Barely Racist" due to Walt Disney’s, um, "earlier" works. Let’s all agree on this imperfect grade so we can have a slightly cleaner conscience while watching movies from the behemoth that brought us "Song of the South." Unlike Elsa from "Frozen," I'm not ready to "Let it Go."
EXAMPLE: Cowboy Hat On A Flagpole Huh? This is confusing. Strictly based on its physical likeness to a skinny country singer, a cowboy hat on a flagpole registers at a 3/10, or “Is That Racist?”
EXAMPLE: Checkered Flag NASCAR's most recognizable flag is waved when a winner crosses the finish line. Sunoco's logo shamelessly covers up the traditional design of alternating black-and-white checkers. But does a flag with 18 black squares and 17 white squares accurately represent NASCAR's fanbase? A 2012 poll showed that only 8 percent of NASCAR fans were African American. Take a look below to see a reimagined checkered flag that proportionally reflects the racial breakdown of NASCAR's audience.
EXAMPLE: Bare Flagpole What's going on here? What are you hiding? Until the truth is revealed, this clocks in at a 5/10, or "Secretly Racist."
EXAMPLE: The Movie "White Chicks" Being Projected Onto A Plain Flag This is a less prevalent manifestation of flag racism, but nevertheless, chalk it up as a 6/10, or "Racist." The good news is that this 6/10 score can be quickly downgraded to a 1/10 by turning off the projector. Then you'll be left with a blank white flag. That is, unless your flag is actually an undercover Wayans brother disguised as a white flag.
EXAMPLE: A Flag That Just Says "I'm Racist" This flag really cuts to the chase. However, it only scores a 7/10, or "Super Racist," because the newly-implemented algorithm deducts points from any flag made in Microsoft Paint.
EXAMPLE: Flag With A Superimposed Image Of Paula Deen The Starch-Spangled Banner earns a mark of 8/10, or "Cut That Out, Ya Racist." Deen has found herself in several sticky situations, including her admission to occasionally dropping the n-word and also the time she compared herself to "that black football player who recently came out" (Michael Sam). This flag comes buttered.
EXAMPLE: Washington Redskins Flag A flag bearing the Redskins logo gets a 9/10, or "Unforgivably Racist." Too many professional sports organizations still tolerate teams offensively depicting Native Americans in their logos. Prioritizing is key: to boycott every league guilty of this immoral conduct would be difficult, as friends are much more likely to attend your Super Bowl party than your World Table Tennis Championships shindig.
EXAMPLE: The Confederate Flag The Confederate flag received a score of 10/10, or "Confederate Flag," mainly because it is the Confederate flag. Hmm... It appears we have one more level of flag racism left to cover...
EXAMPLE: The Confederate Flag With A Superimposed Image Of Paula Deen Wearing A Washington Redskins Helmet Plus That Cowboy Hat On A Flagpole From Earlier Can ... not ... compute ... bigotry ... (EXPLOSION)