Phil Mushnick, a columnist with the New York Post who has been with the paper for nearly 40 years, is under fire for racially insensitive comments he made regarding the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Jay-Z, one of the team’s minority owners.
In his May 4 column, Mushnick suggested that the Nets change their name to the “New York N—ers” since they have a rapper like Jay-Z as a member of their ownership team.
In the section of his column dubbed “Nets on Jay-Z Track,” Mushnick wrote:
As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment?
Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N—–s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!
Contrary to Mushnick’s assertion, the Nets explained in a statement that the team colors “are examples of our commitment to update and refine all aspects of the team” and make no mention of them being representative of “their new ‘urban’ home.”
How Mushnick related a black and white colorway — which already exists in other sports leagues including the NHL, as well as other NBA teams — to naming the team a racial epithet is unknown, but in an explanation emailed to sports blog Bob’s Blitz Mushnick explains that he is not racist and that his comments were simply references to language used in Jay-Z’s music:
Such obvious, wishful and ignorant mischaracterizations of what I write are common. I don’t call black men the N-word; I don’t regard young women as bitches and whores; I don’t glorify the use of assault weapons and drugs. Jay-Z, on the other hand…..Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call black men N—ers?”
Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of black-American culture and I’M the racist? Some truths, I guess, are just hard to read, let alone think about.
(Same column I provide support for Amar’e Stoudemire at a time when everyone in town is ripping him to shreds. That was my LEAD, too, but what does that matter?)
Bob’s Blitz reports that Post editors have no issue with Mushnick’s column and that Mushnick himself will not speak further about the matter.
Mushnick’s diatribe has already spurred some emotional responses, beginning in the column’s comments section.
“Wow. This is one of the most outrageously, unabashedly racist things I have ever read. Unacceptable,” reader Mike Fitzgerald wrote.
Reader Chip Stern was even more outraged and attempted to put the shoe on the other foot, writing: “As a fellow descendant of lost Hebrew tribes, I am certain your outrage would be telling if someone proposed a team logo for the Crown Heights Jew B*ast*rds, and shrugged it off as all in good fun. I long suspected you were a pompous, self-righteous d-bag, Phil…”
The Brooklyn Nets and Jay-Z have yet to comment, and there has been no official comment from the NY Post.