UPDATE: Hey folks, don't forget to get your racist lawn gnome in Reading tomorrow night!
A few weeks ago, we gave our opinion on the Ryan Howard garden gnome that the Reading Phillies will be giving away on August 3rd. We jokingly called it creepy, and were first to mention that it was borderline racist. We certainly didn't think any malice went into its design, but we did liken it to Eddie Murphy's version of Santa Claus.
Well today, Annette John-Hall, a black reporter for Philly.com, gave her review of the gnome, and guess what? She played the race card too:
Face all Vaselined up, grinning from ear to ear, kneeling on one knee, and, as he is prone to do, holding a bat like a billy club – all ready to beat back those menacing garden snails. Say what?
The original jockey statue, standing proud and usually carrying a lantern, shepherded runaway slaves to safety during the days of the Underground Railroad, explained Charles Blockson, curator of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple.
But as time went on, lawn jockeys were often caricatured as a stooped-over black man with dark skin and painted-in white eyes and big red lips. They were usually displayed on lawns of homes in the South and served no real purpose other than to diminish African Americans.
Jockpost thought so too.
The story has gained some traction. 97.5 The Fanatic's Mike Missanelli spoke with [listen here] R-Phils GM Scott Hunsicker about the gnome, and poor Scott spent the interview defending his prized promotion, even saying that Howard thought it was cool.
Just to be clear, we didn't think the Reading Phillies were being racist when we critiqued the gnome, we just raised an amused eyebrow to its caricatured features.
And It looks like we weren't the only ones.
What do you think?