Although the sport of Lacrosse was originated by Native Americans sometime around the 12th century, the game has gone under modifications by European immigrants, leading to the style of play that exists today. The knock on Lacrosse has always been that it's a sport frequently played by White athletes of privileged means – and on most levels, that sentiment has some truth. Sports apparel company, Warrior Lacrosse, probably didn't consider this after introducing their “Ninja” line and using the struggle marketing pitch slogan, “Ninja, Please” – raising the ire of Black pro Lacrosse player Jovan Miller who has publicly boycotted the company.
Miller, a graduate of Syracuse University, is the lone Black player on the Major League Lacrosse Charlotte Hounds roster. The 23-year-old became aware of Warrior Lacrosse's tagline after noticing a number of his Twitter followers using the hashtag “#ninjaplease,” , reports Deadspin. After some quick investigation, Miller discovered that Warrior, which supplies his Lacrosse league's uniforms, was behind the marketing ploy. Speaking with local NBC affiliate WCNC, Miller expressed his disappointment and is even considering retirement.
“It kind of alarmed me at first. The actual meaning behind it is 'Ninja Please' is the 'N-word Please.' They put ninja in it to kind of disguise it,” said the former All-American. “Honestly, it was offensive. I didn't feel like there was necessarily malice behind it, but I felt like they knew they could get away with it. Warrior is a company that prides itself on being 'edgy' but this is too far.”
Miller, one of Pro Lacrosse's most beloved standouts, took to Twitter this week to voice his frustrations and has been giving away his gear, but he is refusing to give the uniforms to other Black players for obvious reasons. "This [isn't] a time for jokes, I'm very serious. I can't let something so backwards be in my house or on my hands or feet in a sport I love,” tweeted Miller.
Warrior Lacrosse, or its parent company Warrior Sports, has not offered any response to Miller's request to discuss the issue nor has it made any public statement in the matter. Check out some photos from the "Ninja Please" campaign in the gallery.
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