Who would have thought dressing up in blackface to portray Jay-Z, then releasing the picture on the internet would have garnered a less-than-favorable reaction?
NHL forward Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes is under fire for wearing what many consider to be a racist costume.
He darkened his skin with make-up, then wore a white t-shirt and a yankees hat to portray rapper Jay-Z at a Halloween party while his wife was alongside him as a pregnant Beyonce.
Fellow Coyote Paul Bissonnette tweeted the pics on Monday night– along with the rest of the team's outfits — only to immediately receive criticism from Twitter followers and bloggers, such as:
"Seriously people, don't do it, don't wear black-face on Halloween, or ever. It's stupid, it's ignorant, and it just doesn't fly."
Bissonnette is inisting that his teammate's costume is not racist and wrote in response to the critics:
"As far as everyone trying to call 'Racism' because Raffi dressed up like Jay-Z can simmer down. He's a huge Jay-Z fan."
The Phoenix Coyotes are sticking by their players too and have released a statement, reading:
"There was absolutely nothing racist about Raffi and his wife's costumes. Raffi is a huge fan of Jay Z and his wife loves Beyonce. It was a Halloween party. The fact that this was reported is ridiculous. We will have no further comment."
While nationality is never an excuse to condone racism, Torres is of Mexican and Peruvian descent. Sources not he was often the victim of taunts during his junior career, which has attributed to his "hard-hitting approach to hockey."
Torres' intentions may have been innocent fun, but it's hard to believe that someone who has felt the bitter effects of discrimination would think this costume was acceptable.
Much like beauty, racism is in the eye of the beholder. Some will argue in Torres favor, while others (as already proven) will undoubtedly be reminded of a terrible time in American history when whites found humor in impersonating African Americans on stage during minstrel shows.
If we can't agree on the picture being racist, we should all agree it wasn't a good idea to put it up on the internet!
[Image via AP Images.]