Professional lacrosse player Jovan Miller has turned in his uniform and gear and has talked about retiring after an unexpected Twitter search left him stunned.
Miller, 23, is a midfielder for the Charlotte Hounds who recently stumbled across a Twitter hash tag many of his online followers were using: #ninjaplease. The term is a play on a somewhat popular phrase, “N-gga please.”
Researching the meaning behind the repeated usage of the hash tag, Miller found that the slogan was endorsed by Warrior Sports, one of Major League Lacrosse’s (MLL) biggest sponsors and the company which provides his team uniform.
Warrior Sports has used the slogan as an advertisement for its “Dojo” shoe line. The campaign received support from MLL officials who re-tweeted and posted the catchphrase on the league’s official Facebook account.
However, league officials claim to have been in the dark about the racial undertones of the advertisement.
“I honestly didn’t know what it meant,” MLL Commissioner David Gross, told Charlotte, N.C. NBC affiliate WCNC. “MLL was simply posting and re-tweeting a sponsor. We deleted it all after we found out what it meant.”
Miller, a Syracuse graduate and one of only three African American professional lacrosse players told the television station that he had reached out to Warrior Sports but has not gotten a response.
“This does not just affect me,” Miller said. “I’m not just speaking for myself, I’m speaking for every Black girl or man who has ever picked up a Lacrosse stick.”
Miller has received vocal backing from his teammates, who are helping to get the campaign terminated.