The Wizards have apologized for bizarre mashup photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and owner Ted Leonsis
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How should a pro sports team celebrate Black History Month? There are a lot of options for tributes, spreading the ideas of important figures in black history, or otherwise honoring civil rights leaders and other important figures in history.
That, or you could just mash up your owner’s face with Martin Luther King Jr.’s and call it a day.
That’s what the Washington Wizards did, releasing a series of bizarre mashup photos of important team members with important civil right leaders. Most egregious was a mashup of team owner Ted Leonsis with Martin Luther King Jr., a photo for which the team has now apologized.
Here is the photo in question:
I’ll assume you don’t need to be told why this is a problem. Here’s a man who made a ton of money and bought a basketball team; here’s a man who was one of the greatest voices for equality in human history. How could there be an easier comparison to make?
And here’s a bonus photo of Wizards mascot G-Wiz and Benjamin O. Davis Jr., because it’s always a good idea to compare the first African-American general in history with a ridiculous mascot:
Monumental Sports, Leonsis’ group that owns the Wizards and the Washington Capitals, has released a statement apologizing for the campaign (via SB Nation).
"“Throughout Black History Month we ran an “Inspire” campaign. We asked a variety of Wizards, Capitals and Mystics players and staff to share who inspired them. We asked them for a favorite quotation and then created a composite image that was half the player/staff member and half the person they admired. We released one composite image a day throughout February in an attempt to honor those whom our staff had identified as heroes. We intended this as a way to celebrate Black History Month and focus on the many important contributions by African-Americans to American history and culture. On a personal level, it was a way to share thoughts on African-American historical figures whom we admire.We may have missed the mark, and we apologize to those who were offended by the way this was presented.”"
It’s admirable that the Wizards and Capitals wanted to celebrate Black History Month. Maybe next time they’ll do so in a less tone-deaf way.
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