FanPost

The Jovan Miller Situation

Update 1:30, November 9, 2012: In the interest of fairness, I'm pulling back some sentiments based on some new information.

Update: 6:40, November 9, 2012: I'm pulling a piece of this post pursuant to this treatment from IL Gear and a conversation with IL's managing editor, Terry Foy: http://insidelacrosse.com/ilgear/news/2012/11/09/jovan-miller-warrior-respond-dojo-campaign-mainstream-media-attention.

This site is dedicated to an adventure through Division I lacrosse, but the great thing about the site being aligned with SB Nation is the opportunity to write FanPosts and FanShots, little asides -- for me, at least -- to write about some other stuff in the world of lacrosse. And one of the biggest things going on in the world of lacrosse right now is Jovan Miller's stand-off with Warrior over the company's "Ninja Please" campaign.

Miller, a member of the Charlotte Hounds in the MLL and the Colorado Mammoth in the NLL, took a stand against this Warrior campaign around the fifth of this month. Since then, Miller has threatened to quit playing in the MLL if Warrior doesn't pull the campaign and has, over the last few days, started giving away all of his Warrior equipment. Whether you believe that Miller is right or wrong in his distaste for the Warrior campaign isn't the biggest issue to me; there are two bigger issues at play here:

1. [I pulled this. Please refer to the piece at IL Gear from Terry Foy. It's a solid piece of work on a sticky subject. Stories take time, and the development, after a conversation, only bloomed later in the day. Leaving the original copy here would be unfair under the circumstances.]

2. Race and lacrosse is still a big, important issue. If Warrior had implied a Native American slur in the campaign, there would have been shit falling from the sky. But because Miller is a minority that isn't well represented in the game? There is still a feeling that lacrosse people don't want to talk about that. I get it; it can be uncomfortable. But here's the truth: lacrosse -- at almost all levels -- looks like me -- pale, white, and relatively affluent. I'm not saying that lacrosse is inherently racist; rather, lacrosse isn't diverse, and without this diversity stupid things like the Warrior campaign exist. Minorities are still coming to lacrosse, and they need to be embraced and accepted. Dumb stuff like Warrior running a campaign based on a hurtful implied slur is standing as opposition to that pursuit. I'm sure that, at some level, minorities feel somewhat marginalized in lacrosse, if only because the vast majority of lacrosse enthusiasts are white or previously accepted; Warrior's campaign only further creates this kind of gap. We need to be better about thinking about race and lacrosse, and what steps should be taken to make the game truly unified and representative of this (and other) countries. We're pretty far away from that right now.

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