Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post is not known for its attempts to placate the Black community. Over the years the conservative alternative to the New York Times has run into its fair share of racial battles, perhaps most famously when one of its political cartoons seemed to portray Barack Obama as a chimpanzee righteously killed by police officers. Three years later, we’ve come to a racial fight that may top even that.
I was going to try to paraphrase, but I’ll just let Phil Mushnick, the New York Post’s sports columnist, speak for himself. Here’s what was printed in Friday’s Post about the Brooklyn Nets, which recently transferred to New York from New Jersey, and its new team logo, which was influenced largely by team owner Jay-Z:
As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N------s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B----hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!
There’s not a lot of subtext to sift through there. Mushnick is outright saying that Jay-Z, a Black rapper, is screwing up a professional basketball team by making it for low-class Black people. It’s about as racist as it gets.
Naturally, there are already calls for Mushnick’s firing. But, knowing the New York Post, which didn’t fire the monkey cartoonist, it’s unlikely that Mushnick, or the editor who allowed that piece to run, are in any real danger of getting canned. What they should be in danger of is people understanding that their mask is slipping. Not that Mushnick’s attitudes are widespread throughout sports, but it’s important to recognize that sportscasters and columnist are people, too, and they’re filled with the same prejudices as many other people.
Knowing that this is how some people who write about basketball feel, does it make you more or less comfortable with the idea of young Black men battling each other on courts and fields for America’s amusement?
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Courtesy Brooklyn Nets)