The Sacramento Kings scrapped a planned promotional “Year of the Monkey” T-shirt giveaway after DeMarcus Cousins complained. Coincidentally, the Chinese New Year shirts were to be given out on the first day of Black History Month.
The Kings ultimately realized the message could be misconstrued after thousands of shirts were strewn across the chairs of the Sleep Train Arena, ahead of Monday’s (Feb. 1) game. Retired NBA player Marques Johnson publicized the situation on Facebook.
“I walk into the building and DeMarcus Cousins calls me over to an animated discussion he’s having with Kings operations people,” he wrote. “He ask me, ‘Olskool, what you think about this T Shirt? Told him a little insensitive on 1st day of Black History Month’. They pulled the shirts…”
Kings president Chris Granger later explained, “We all need a lesson in sensitivity. In an effort to celebrate Chinese New Year, we had some concerns about the T-shirt giveaway, so we pulled them all before the doors opened. Certainly we don’t want to offend anybody, and we acted as soon as we heard the concern.”