Reading Phillies GM Defends Ryan Howard Garden Gnome

Ryan_howard_gnome

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?

 

She continued:

 

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?

 

Is Ryan Howard's garden gnome racist?

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48 Comments

  • Adam Gonsiewski May 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Our next weekly roundtable discussion thing should be about this gnome. Nothing else.

    Reply
  • Kyle Scott May 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I completely agree. I get write a whole page on just its beard.

    Reply
  • Christian Rivera May 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Here are my thoughts on it..
    In the article laced with utter nonsense, she writes about how a ticket for a Phillies game is among the priciest in baseball (the inquirer must not pay very well) and how the Ryan Howard gnome looks too reminiscent of a lawn jockey.
    Really? A lawn jockey? You’re gonna bring race into this? With Ryan Howard of all people?
    “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.”
    So she’s saying a Ryan Howard gnome looks like a slave and the reading Phillies are out to promote racism? Ludicrous! Ryan Howard is the number one alumnus of the reading Phillies and they simply want to put a fun spin on him. Sure, it looks a little dopey, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? It’s a fucking lawn gnome!
    It kills me to see someone take something that is meant to be fun and brings something serious like racism to the table. It’s not like he has a sandwich in his hand and a speaker that says “I made you a sammich massa” when you press his nose. That MIGHT be a little racist
    In all seriousness — It’s 2010, we don’t harbor slaves anymore, our president is black and Tyler Perry is allowed to make movies. What else could you possibly ask for? Clearly you’ve come a long way.
    And what about the Phillies ticket prices? They’re some of the cheapest in baseball! Have you ever been to a Yankee game? I haven’t …because they’re so god damn expensive.
    Just look and compare: http://www.flipflopflyin.com/sport/2009tickets.html.
    In 2009, the Phillies had the second cheapest ticket prices of any other team in major league baseball. Not much has changed and that’s been proven through 50+ consecutive sellouts.
    “Tickets for the major-league Phillies are among the priciest in baseball. Add food and parking, and a game at Citizens Bank Park can easily set a family of four back $500.”
    $500?! Clearly the family’s son is 300 pounds and drinks too much. Learn to budget your money. No one spends that much.

    Reply
  • Bre May 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

    This is ridiculous!! There have been Ryan Howard bobblehead promos, and nobody thought that was racist! So, why would a garden gnome be any different from a bobblehead?! If it were say a Jayson Werth garden gnome (which would have been ironically fitting up until yesterday since he shaved off Philly’s beloved beard), there wouldn’t be an issue! In my opinion, there’s no need to play the race card….it is, afterall, just a garden gnome!

    Reply
  • John E. May 28, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I don’t think there was any racism intended. But I think it probably highlights that most likely there were no black people in the Reading Phils marketing department when this promotions was being considered. It’s more a lack of awareness of the history of lawn jockeys and the fact that many people may still be offended by that.
    The point of marketing and promotions is to give something away that people want. Give them an extra reason to drive to Reading. I don’t think they wanted to give something away that is controversial and offends many fans.

    Reply
  • Tyson August 3, 2010 at 12:01 am

    IT’S A FREAKING LAWN GNOME. OF RYAN HOWARD. WHAT THE HELL IS RACIST ABOUT THAT?
    I know this is a amateur blog, but this is post is simply irresponsible journalism.
    You guys can do better than this.

    Reply
  • Kyle Scott August 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Tyson, clearly we were joking about the racist part. The media jumped all over it calling it racist. Sarcasm.

    Reply
  • Kyle Scott August 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

    “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.”

    Reply
  • Chris August 3, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Way to be a douche, Tyson

    Reply
  • Tim August 3, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I don’t think it’s outlandish for people to be offended by it because it does resemble a lawn jockey, which mockingly caricatures African features.

    Reply
  • Bill August 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

    When are they giving out one with J Ro?

    Reply
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