A Minor League Baseball team in Tennessee is scrambling for a new t-shirt design after some fans thought they saw a racial slur in their most recent design. But not everyone is convinced.
The Minor League Chattanooga Lookouts recently put out a new shirt riffing off the last five letters in name of their city and making the two Os into a pair of eyes. But some saw a word other than “Nooga” glaring back at them.
One tweet led the charge to question the shirt design over its supposedly racist subtext as an account using the Twitter name “Dre” jumped up to say “Oh no, Chattanooga this isn’t gonna work.”
Oh no, chattanooga this isn’t gonna work pic.twitter.com/l9cnHvRzSA
— Dre (@newhandledre) July 23, 2023
But there was mixed reaction to the question over what the shirt “really” says, with the obvious implication being that this stylized “Nooga” hews a little too close to the actual N-word slur.
One Twitter user agreed with “Dre” and bashed the purportedly racist shirt as “hilariously bad.”
Hilariously bad. https://t.co/iIXee4PIWT
— Keg. (@GratefulKeg) July 24, 2023
Another blasted the team and the city both saying, “Thought Chattanooga couldn’t get more racist.”
Thought Chattanooga couldn’t get more racist https://t.co/QajwBJNXds
— Netflix and Will (@teflon_will) July 24, 2023
Twitter user “Jamie” thought the whole thing was a bad idea.”
The person who designed that shirt must have been wearing Bad Idea Jeans.
— Jamie (@jamierohrig) July 29, 2023
But many others felt it was reaching solely to find something to be offended at to purposefully misunderstand that “Nooga” is a long-time nickname for the team and the two eyes in the logo represents the “Lookouts,” which is the name of the team.
If you go looking for racism in every nook and cranny, you’re bound to find something that will seem racist to you, and this jersey controversy appears to be no different — at least according to some.
“Nooga is their long standing nickname. The looking eyes in the graphic suggest their actual name ‘Look outs.’ So what’s the problem here?” Twitter user “Catboat Guy” explained.
Nooga is their long standing nickname. The looking eyes in the graphic suggest their actual name “Look outs.” So what’s the problem here?
— Catboat Guy (@catboat401) July 28, 2023
“You have to dig really hard and be predisposed to using slurs in your vocabulary to see anything wrong with this shirt,” another Twitter user wrote.
You have to dig really hard and be predisposed to using slurs in your vocabulary to see anything wrong with this shirt.
— Feral Fawcett (@angelRlong) July 27, 2023
“Ridiculous,” one social media fan wrote. “Nobody decent thinks of the N-word until someone has to bring it up to get their 5 mins of fame.”
Ridiculous. Nobody decent thinks of the N-word until someone has to bring it up to get their 5 mins of fame.
— The Potter’s Clay Church (@TPCC83335) July 29, 2023
Twitter user “Jake” blasted the naysayers and said that the attack on the shirt is “Censorship and fascism at it’s best.”
Censorship and fascism at it’s best.
— Jake (@flex_lane_abuse) July 28, 2023
After the fuss was kicked up social media, the shirt disappeared from the team’s online store, according to TND-TV. It’s a curious move given that every article of clothing that the Lookouts sport generally features the term “Chattanooga” (and thus “Nooga”) on it.
Your Lookouts will wear these specials jerseys TONIGHT vs the Braves as we celebrate Unum’s 175th Anniversary 👀 pic.twitter.com/UnUTqK8EPQ
— Chattanooga Lookouts (@ChattLookouts) July 14, 2023
It is, perhaps, a matter of perspective. But it seems undeniable that the shirt had absolutely nothing whatever to do with race. All the letters and symbolism in the design are of long standing in Chattanooga. And no one has questioned it at all until now.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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