Alternative title: What’s wrong with this picture?
The image, which appears below, is of ESPN analyst Bomani Jones on the set of the network’s “Mike and Mike” show clad in a more or less familiar-looking team jersey. At first blush, the shirt appears to be a standard (if unofficial) Cleveland Indians jersey. On closer inspection, baseball fans will notice that the team name is misspelled, and the caricature of an Indian brave (whose nickname is Chief Wahoo) has a dollar sign in place of the customary feather.
Which is the point, even though Jones claimed at first that he wore the shirt because “it was clean” (implying that all other tops that he owns were in the laundry).
[Co-host] Molly Qerim and Jones actually dedicated airtime to the shirt, which was supposedly “dominating the social media conversation” as the show progressed.
Here is a video of the exchange, followed by a partial transcript:
Jones: The reason they won’t get rid of Chief Wahoo, which is completely indefensible, is they could still sell stuff with it. They can say they’re gonna de-emphasize it, but they’re not just gonna set money on fire. I thought [the shirt] was the exact same thing, and I could see the value in the design, so I was like, hey, we might as well give this a run.
Qerim: I think more thought went into it. I think you were trying to make some kind of statement.
Jones: The statement is obvious. This [shirt] is the same thing. What we have here, this is the same thing that goes on with the logo for the Cleveland Indians, right? So, to have a problem with the logo of this, would be to have a problem with the Indians, but if you’re quiet about the Indians, and you got something to say about my shirt, I think it’s time for introspection. I think that’s a fair thing to ask.
I frankly wonder what took liberals so long to focus attention away from the Washington Redskins long enough to get exercised over Chief Wahoo. The logo is far more stereotypical, if you’re going to get hung up over such silliness.
In the meantime, Twitter did indeed light up over the shirt. Here are some of the reactions:
I don’t think @bomani_jones‘s shirt is like a Cleveland Indians shirt at all. Caucasian is not a derogatory term towards caucasians.
— geco11 from CB (@geco11_from_CB) April 8, 2016
If Bomanis’ “Caucasian” shirt in the form of the Cleveland “Indians” logo offended you then you’re part of the cancer of this country.
— The Boy (@RoadBoyTrae) April 7, 2016
— Chris Todaro (@ctodaro21) April 7, 2016
— Sunni in Summerlin (@Sunny_in_So_Cal) April 7, 2016
My favorite tweet, purely from a grammatical standpoint, is this one:
Sports reporter Bomani Jones wore a “Caucasian” logo shirt similar to the Cleveland Indians logo. Was you offended?
— Jaysen T. Spencer (@JaysenTSpencer) April 8, 2016
As for me, I’m still waiting for my New York Jews athletic gear.