Apparently this happened at today’s Lions game

lionsgorilla

While the individual above, according to reports, was apprehended and arrested shortly after running onto the field during this afternoon’s Lion’s game, it’s still unclear what his motivations were. Given the times we live in, and the racist attacks against black football players over the past several weeks, as more and more of them have joined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernic in standing up against the oppression of people of color in this country by kneeling during the national anthem, some folks understandably assumed that the incident was racially motivated — yet another instance like the one last week, in which a white East Tennessee State University student decided to attend a Black Lives Matter rally wearing a gorilla mask, carrying both a rope and a banana. Well, in the hours since the game aired, not only have hundreds of people condemned what they took to be a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement, but more photos of the incident have begun to circulate on social media. And, it would seem, those photos show that the man in question was not a white racist, as many of us had assumed, but a black man. And, as you might imagine, the rightwing blogosphere is now on fire with conspiracy theories about how this whole thing was likely orchestrated by anti-Trump operatives in Obama’s hometown of Chicago in order to further fan the flames of racial animosity in the run up to this extremely contentious election.

While I doubt that this action was orchestrated by any political campaign, as they would have surely known that the man’s identity and race would become public knowledge shortly afterward, it’s clear that the fellow who ran out on the field was trying to make some kind of statement of some kind about race and violence in America. [Early reports suggested that the back of his shirt said something about Hambre, the gorilla who was recently killed at the Cincinnati Zoo, but apparently it said something to the effect of, “Put down the guns,” which could either be seen as commentary about gun violence in Chicago, or the fact that police officers keep shooting and killing unarmed black men.] Assuming his intent wasn’t to suggest that black people are gorilla-like, it’s just unfortunate that he chose to make his statement, whatever it was, from behind a gorilla mask, triggering a response form the left that would in turn give the far right in our country an opportunity to spew more venom while painting themselves once again as victims. [“See, racism isn’t real. This man was black.”] Here, to give you an example of the backlash we’re now seeing from the right as they go after those who attributed this incident to racism, is an excerpt from a video put out by racist conspiracy theorist Mark Dice.

“Nobody ever said that liberals based their outrage on actual facts,” Dice said. “As we’ve seen with the black crime movement, and their countless riots over the death of black thugs across America, 99.9% of them are violent criminals, armed and confusing to comply with the orders of police. But, the black crime movement celebrates their death, and honors their latest poster boys by rioting, looting, and specifically targeting white people for assault, during their violent reign of terror during the days following high profile police shootings.”

Regardless of whether or not it turns out that the man behind this action on Sunday was black, it does not change the fact that racism does still exist in this country, and that Trump has positioned himself to be the candidate of the Alt Right faction in American society that feels as though individuals of color are less deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness than those of us who are white. Let’s not lose sight of those facts as we debate what happened during the Lions game today.

[note: This post has been edited since it first went live.]

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17 Comments

  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 2, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    “Unclear what his motivations were”.

    “The minute the words leave your mouth, this is what people will see”.

    What are we supposed to see here?

  2. Joe M.
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    There’s one legitimate possible alternative to just the race card here – Harambe.

    Still pretty much endless posts and memes about Harambe on the internet. They’d love this just as much as the racially motivated part of ALM does.

  3. Posted October 3, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Where is EOS when you need her?

  4. Frosted Flakes
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I think, even after the re-write, you are being very uptight in your thinking, Mark.

    In my opinion, regardless of the person under the Harambe suits race, this was a very interesting act.

  5. Dan
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    EOS is a woman?

  6. anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    What do you find interesting about it, Frosted Flake? I’m curious.

  7. Meta
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The man has been identified as Angelo Graham, 31, of Tennessee.

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/man-charged-with-running-onto-field-in-gorilla-suit-at-bears-game/

  8. Eel
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that both this man and the man to who wore the gorilla mask to the Black Lives Matter rally last week were from Tennessee. It makes me wonder if a disproportion number of our nation’s gorilla costumes are sold there.

  9. Lynne
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    @Dan, well there is slightly larger than 50% chance that she is.

    I would be really interesting to hear of this man’s motivation for running around in a gorilla suit with an “All Lives Matter” t-shirt. It does seem like a bit of stirring the pot. Still, what those right wing critics fail to point out is that this wouldnt even be possible if it weren’t for white people making gorillas a racist symbol of black people or if it weren’t for white people responding to BLM with “All Lives Matter” in the first place.

  10. Dan
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Where’s Howard Cosell when you need him?

  11. Bee Roll
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s not as though the right can handle the fact that people of color also can be anti-black. But hey.

    Or the left for that matter.

  12. Citywatch
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This is what happens when a “protest” is made in an inappropriate way at an inappropriate venue by people made rich and elitist by the country they protest done in a way that cheapens the real issues and makes it all about THEM, not the people and families that suffer every day.

  13. site admin
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Howard Cosell on his “little monkey” comment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtGVepfknro

  14. Steven C Pickard
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m ok with this stupidly funny prank in that the AltRight…say what you will..they’re fascists, xenophobes, racists…whatever…IS a demographic that exists and part of our culture is to allow free expression of ideas. If someone comes out and says “I’m threatened by an idiot in a gorilla suit on an NFL field because of my prior experience with racist posts on the internet that involve Harambe”, I’d just counter, that’s like an uptight Moral Majority member complaining about a nude hippie streaker on an NFL field in the 1970s…which also happened.
    Everyone has an opportunity in our country for protest and free expression as long as it PHYSICALLY doesn’t hurt someone else or specifically DISCRIMINATES against their civil rights. Just being butthurt doesn’t count. i see mostly butthurt in people who are reading too much into this.

    Guess what kids? In America BOTH sides get to talk.

  15. Steven C Pickard
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    also, its not the first time. look at this one. back in august. prior to ColinGate. http://www.sbnation.com/2016/8/29/12696286/man-in-gorilla-suit-drags-child-around-cincinnati-football-field-to-honor-harambe

  16. Love
    Posted October 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Harambe as racist meme.

    http://fusion.net/story/346541/death-to-harambe-memes/

  17. iRobert
    Posted October 8, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I thought is was a really offensive insult…

    …toward gorillas, to suggest one would attend a Lion’s game. They are in fact known to be highly intelligent creatures, capable of using language, tools, and strategy.

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