In the wake of a storm of criticism, a New York Post writer is defending his use of the N-word in a May 4 column that linked rapper Jay-Z’s music to his co-ownership of the new Brooklyn Nets National Basketball Association (NBA) team.

In his “Equal Time” column, writer Phil Mushnick blasted the franchise, which officially made its transition from New Jersey to Brooklyn last month.

“As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots–what a shock that he chose Black and White as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new `urban’ home–why not have apply the full Jay-Z treatment?” Mushnick wrote. “Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N—s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—s or Hoes. Team logo? A 9mm with a hollow-tip shell casing strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”

Shortly thereafter, critics fired back at Mushnick for his use of the racial epithet and slammed the Post for allowing the piece to run.

“It does not surprise me that the writer and editors in question lack the journalistic chops to eloquently make a point about Jay-Z’s influence in the Nets franchise,” Gregory Lee, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), said in a statement. “Mr. Mushnick’s crusade against the gang mentality in sports has taken a wrong turn in this piece of lazy journalism. This commentary does not follow the principles of our craft.”

NABJ Sports Task Force chair Mark J. Spears also said in a statement, “I find it appalling that a newspaper would be comfortable allowing such a demeaning word in its publication and that its editors did not use better judgment in supervising a columnist with a disappointing and misguided mentality.”

Amid numerous demands for an apology, Mushnick defended his comments in an article on the Bob Blitz blog.

“Such obvious, wishful and ignorant mischaracterizations of what I write are common,” he wrote. “I don’t call Black men the N-Word; I don’t regard young women as b–ches and whores; I don’t glorify the use of assault weapons and drugs. Jay-Z, on the other hand…Is he the only NBA owner allowed to call Black men N–ers?”

“Jay-Z profits from the worst and most sustaining self-enslaving stereotypes of Black-American culture and I’M the racist? Some truths, I guess, are just hard to read, let alone think about. (Same column I provide support for Amar’e Stoudemire at a time when everyone in town is ripping him to shreds. That was my LEAD, too, but what does that matter?)”

Mushnick joined the Post in 1973. His “Equal Time” column, which concentrates on sports media, appears in the newspaper three times a week.

In 2009, the Post came under fire for depicting President Obama as a dead chimpanzee. The publication later issued an apology.