It’s hard to believe these things still go on in America in 2015.
John Henson, a star center for the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks, recounted his humiliating experience with racial discrimination on Monday.
Earlier that day — during regular, morning business hours, as he notes — Henson had gone to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, a high-end jewelry store in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, to look at a watch.
Henson — who just signed a $45 million contract with the Bucks — pulled up to the store, walked up to the door, and found the store’s employees had remotely locked it before he could enter.
From there, when he knocked, the employees ran into a back room, evidently concerned about Henson entering the jewelry store.
The basketball star detailed the entire unfortunate incident in an Instagram post:
Went to @schwankekasten jewelry today in White-Fish Bay during regular business hours . They locked the door and told me to go away . After I rang the doorbell twice everyone went to the back. No answered the door or told me what was going on. This was followed by two police cars pulling up and parking across the street and watching me for 5 minutes ( I assumed they were called by the store ) . I was then approached by 2 officers and questioned about the dealer vehicle I was in which is apart of my endorsement deal with Kunes country Chevrolet and asked me what I wanted amongst other things that were just irrelevant to me being there just trying to shop at the store like a normal paying customer would do . I told them I was just trying to look at a watch. He then had to go in the back and tell them to come out it was safe but this is after they ran my plates and I overheard them talking about doing more of a background check on the car. The employees finally came out of the back and proceeded to conduct business like they previously were as we walked up . This was one of the the most degrading and racially prejudice things I’ve ever experienced in life and wouldn’t wish this on anyone . This store needs to be called out and that’s what I’m doing . You have no right to profile someone because of their race and nationality and this incident needs to be brought to light and I urge anyone who ever is thinking of shopping here reads this and doesn’t bring any business to this discriminatory place .A photo posted by @johnhenson31 on Oct 19, 2015 at 11:56am PDT
By Monday night, the store had responded, with its owner Thomas Dixon explaining Schwanke-Kasten’s side of the story, alleging they had been on the lookout for certain types of cars after having previously been robbed and enduring another robbery scare the previous week.
Apparently, Dixon claimed that Henson’s car resembled one which was involved in the previous robbery scare, worrying employees and making them lock the doors on the basketball player.
Schwanke-Kasten also released a statement about the disturbing incident on Monday, with Dixon saying:
“We all agree that racial profiling is never acceptable and deeply regret how the circumstances unfolded Friday and today … [We hope to] apologize for what [Henson] experienced.”
Henson’s team, the Bucks, released their own statement on Monday, as well, calling the incident “very troubling” and saying:
“Nobody should be treated that way. We are trying to contact the store directly.”
Whatever the case may be, it’s unfortunate to see Henson, who attended the University of North Carolina for three years before becoming a professional basketball player in 2012, have to endure such a degrading experience.
[Image via John Henson/Instagram.]