Monkey T-Shirts Giveaway for Chinese New Year Canceled After Kings Players Cite Racial Issues

Sacramento Kings Year of the Monkey
Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Kings have canceled a planned t-shirt giveaway after player DeMarcus Cousins hinted the shirts were “racially insensitive.”

The black T-Shirts featuring a purple monkey were aimed at celebrating 2016 as the “year of the monkey” in the Chinese Lunar calendar. But the shirts were to be given out starting Monday which is also the first day of February’s Black History Month.

The player apparently told Bucks TV analyst and former player Marques Johnson he was offended by the monkey-themed shirts.

“I walk into the building and DeMarcus Cousins calls me over to an animated discussion he’s having with Kings operations people,” Johnson wrote according to ESPN. “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…”

After these feelings became known the team gathered up the shirts that had already been laid out on seats at Sleep Train Arena and canceled the hand out.

“We all need a lesson in sensitivity,” Kings president Chris Granger told the Sacramento Bee. “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.”

Johnson praised the move on his Twitter feed.

Cousins didn’t play Monday night due to a sprained ankle but the Kings snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 111 to 104. Still, the Kings are 2-7 thus far this season without Cousins.

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