Who in the world thought this was acceptable?
Race is a complex issue in America. To discuss it with the understanding it deserves requires empathy, nuance, and context. But sometimes there’s a story where the only appropriate response is, “Who the f%&* let this happen?”
A rec league basketball team in Cincinnati has been kicked out of the league for its offensive jerseys. The boys team for 7 to 12 year olds with the sexually explicit name “Wet Dream Team” also had jerseys featuring the racial slurs “Coon” and “Knee Grow.”
In the fourth game of the Wet Dream Team’s season against West Clermont Middle School, opposing parents complained to the referee about the jerseys and it was shut down at halftime. While the referee’s decision is commendable, it’s mind-boggling that it took four games before anyone did anything about the jerseys.
Tony Rue, an outraged parent from the opposing team, took photos of the jerseys and posted them on Facebook.
Here’s an excerpt from Rue’s post:
“A rec league or not, please explain how this is even remotely considered appropriate for a high school basketball game. From a team name referencing sexual conduct, to offensive and racist nicknames, it was so inappropriate that the coaches of the girls teams that played before us quickly ushered the girls out of the gym so they wouldn’t have to see it...
Could you imagine being an African-American high school kid and seeing these things on the jerseys of the team you are playing and how uncomfortable and unsafe they would feel?
This isn’t a typo, this isn’t a mistake, these are ideas that were thought of, discussed, agreed upon by adults and kids alike, printed on uniforms, social media accounts, registered, and manned, and no one thought this was a bad idea or inappropriate?
The coaches involved in this team should not be allowed to be involved in youth sports ever again, these kids shouldn’t be permitted to be involved in these leagues, and the parents, how, as a parent, do you go to wash your child’s uniform and see “Coon” or “Knee Grow (negro)” and think nothing of it? There is no place for this in recreational, school, or any other level of sports. There must be accountability.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 9, Kerry McKiernan, a Kings Mills school board member resigned because his son was on the infamous Wet Dream Team. “I could have done more. I could have said more,” McKiernan said according to Cincinnati.com. “So to whatever degree I can help the healing, I will.”
The first person who should be held responsible for the offensive jerseys, the Wet Dream Team’s coach, Walt Gill, apologized as well. “We sincerely apologize to anyone that was offended by the jerseys,” Gill said in a statement. “We offered to cover them up or change, however the league saw fit to remove us and we have accepted that decision.”