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Is This Hockey Jersey Racist? Take Our Blaze Poll


"Maybe you find it funny. Maybe you find it offensive. Maybe you're saying 'typical Philadelphia.'"

Last week we asked for your thoughts about a political cartoon that showed President Obama allegedly cooking a dog as the First Lady objected. Some screamed (literally) that the cartoon was "racist." Our Blaze poll showed otherwise. Ninety-nine percent of the responses to our poll said the cartoon was not racist in any way.

This week, another story has popped up that has us asking a similar question.

A hockey fan in Philadelphia was spotted wearing this jersey at a recent playoff game. The #17 is worn by Wayne Simmonds, a forward for the Flyers. So, we're wondering, is this jersey racist?

Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski offers his thoughts, including some background:

Now, the first question is whether this jersey makes you laugh. At face, it did not make me laugh. Had it read "Ya Know, The Black Guy?", then it would have made me chuckle. Harrison Mooney, Puck Daddy associate editor and self-identified "person of color," said "The Black Guy" made him laugh but that "Token" would have made him laugh harder. (He watches a lot of South Park.)

Look, we all just went through something with Joel Ward this week that makes a jersey like this wicked awkward. Not to mention Simmonds' own problems with racial "humor" earlier this season. Maybe you find it funny. Maybe you find it offensive. Maybe you're saying "typical Philadelphia", or maybe you're saying, "Oh crap, this is going to make people say 'typical Philadelphia.'" Maybe you're saying "but what if they had re-signed Ray Emery? Would the jersey have to be amended to "A Black Guy"?

The "racial humor" he's talking about happened in September, when a fan threw a banana peel on the ice during a game.

"When you're a black man playing in a predominantly white man's sport, you've got to come to expect things like that," Simmonds said at the time. "Over the past 23 years of my life, I've come to expect some things like that. But I'm older and more mature now, I kind of just left things roll off [my back]. I try not to think about stuff like that."

Despite the fact that professional hockey has been racially integrated since 1958, it still seems unusual when we see a non-white hockey player on the ice. Why is that? Perhaps it is statistically based?

The NHL has 30 teams and each is allowed a roster of 23 players. That puts the total number of active, professional hockey players in the NHL at 690. Based on varying reports (the NHL doesn't list players by race), there are fewer than 30 black players in the pro hockey league, or less than 5%.

Just because the NHL is not integrating as quickly as other pro sports seem to have done, is it okay to point out the lack racial diversity in hockey?

What's your opinion?


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