SBD/November 9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLL Player Refuses To Wear Sponsor's Apparel After Racially-Charged Ad Campaign

Miller says while Warrior is often edgy, #NinjaPlease is going too far
MLL Charlotte Hounds MF Jovan Miller said that he will not wear a jersey made by Warrior Sports after discovering the company was running an ad campaign with the hashtag "#NinjaPlease," according to Dianne Gallagher of WCNC-NBC. Warrior is "one of MLL's main investors and makes the jerseys, among other gear, worn in games." Miller, one of only three African-American players in the MLL, said, "The actual meaning behind 'Ninja Please' is the 'N-word Please.' They put ninja in it to kind of disguise it." He added, "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." Gallagher noted MLL had "shared the campaign on Facebook and retweeted it on Twitter." Miller: "As far as Major League Lacrosse is concerned, I do believe they were just ignorant to what the phrase was. But in those (Warrior) offices, when someone came up with that phrase, I believe they knew exactly what they were talking about." MLL Commissioner David Gross said, "I honestly didn't know what it meant until someone told me to look it up. MLL was simply posting and retweeting a sponsor. We deleted all of it after I found out what it meant." Miller said that he would "like an apology and explanation from the people at Warrior." Gallagher noted as of Thursday night, Warrior had "removed any active references" to the campaign (WCNC.com, 11/8).
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