This overt racism will only end when it stops at home

News item: A recreational boys' basketball team in suburban Cincinnati, made up mostly of high school kids, has been sidelined for the rest of the season. They wore jerseys to a recent game bearing thinly veiled racial slurs, according to WCPO, a television station in Cincinnati.

Per the station's report, Tony Rue, a parent from another team, noticed the team's sexually suggestive name, the "Wet Dream Team," before he saw what was printed on the back of their jerseys.

Rue took photos. One player's said "Knee Grow." Another's read, "Coon." Rue posted more explicit examples on Facebook, WCPO reported.

"I couldn't have made this up and had anyone believe me, I couldn't have," Rue was quoted as saying. "You're talking eight, nine layers of people and adults seeing these jerseys and thinking it's just a joke."

The Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League called the game before it was over because of the jerseys. The team won't return this season. The league coordinator issued apologies.

I'm honestly not sure where to begin. There might not be words for something so overt and egregious ... yet that a number of households in Batavia, Ohio, thought was funny.

Sort of makes me want to hear from our social commentators who think racism is overplayed in our country.

What say you?

I'd love to hear from you today.

No, really.

Defend this one.

Send your kids to play a basketball game with "coon" on their jersey?

Go ahead.

Defend it.

Because maybe then we'll all gain insight into what's being taught to an alarming number of kids today in their homes.

That's where this begins. At home. And so we may ask rhetorically, "when is this going to stop?" The answer is this: When it stops and home.

Until then, remaining silent on such issues normalizes racism.

Bigotry has always existed in this country. Not a news flash. But it sure seems to be undergoing a renaissance lately. Hmmm. Can anyone think of a reason bigotry's empowerment has inflated like a passenger's side air bag?


It's happening here, too.

I wrote a piece two weeks ago about the death of former New London High School basketball player Travon Brown. I knew Tray and liked him. His brother, Curtis Goodwin, is a good friend as well. My heart still aches for the family. In that column, I suggested that the answer to curbing violence in our city lies with us. All of us. Each of us. Taking nothing more than what we do well and sharing it. Doing something to better the community.

A social commentator named "Rich Lather" decided to unburden himself with the following:

"The names may change, but the article remains the same. I'm sorry, but I refuse to feel guilty for being white. ... This was a black kid that was most likely killed by another black kid, why drag white people into it, why do we have to be blamed for everything?"

Renders you speechless, doesn't it?

Except this: Perhaps it just got easier to connect the dots behind the thinking in Batavia, Ohio. It's only when you're taught you are superior because you're white in a world that still has a hard time tolerating people who aren't can you — with a straight face — believe white people get blamed for everything.


Makes you wonder again: What are these people teaching their kids?

Meanwhile, I hope the media in Batavia identifies and exposes the perpetrators of the T-shirts and all the complicit families. Some won't care. Such thinking begets a level of shamelessness. But then, maybe public ridicule teaches a lesson here. Or at least change what's taught behind closed doors.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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