The San Jose Giants, a farm team for the San Francisco Giants, had to apologize recently when they shared a questionable tweet to celebrate its annual Japanese Heritage Night.
The tweet, a GIF that has since been deleted, displayed three of the minor league players wearing traditional yukata-style bathrobes, one player performed karate-like kicks, the second fanned himself and a third bowed while wearing a rice farmer hat. Their tweet was met with backlash nearly the moment it went viral. They were immediately labeled as tacky and "tone-deaf." They were called out on their lame attempt at humor that came off as insensitive and racist.
The team was quick to respond with a sincere apology and a swift removal of the post.
However, not everyone took issue with the tweet. Some Japanese Twitter users said they found nothing wrong with the team’s video and were happy to show support.
Even though it seemed innocent the civil rights group (JACL)Japanese American Citizens League voiced their disapproval. In a blog post they stated that the baseball team’s GIF featured “stereotypical and derogatory caricatures of Japanese culture,” though they acknowledged that the graphic was taken down without hesitation.
Tom Oshidari, co-president of JACL’s San Jose chapter, told CBS SF, “They’ll just make these mistakes over and over again. It’s something that we’ll just have to keep fighting.”
“The offense is in the eye of the offended. So if somebody is offended, you offended them,” Oshidari said, later adding, “I think it’s a minor mistake. Hopefully they’ll do better going forward.”
The Giants have always been a community oriented team, thinking of fans as a priority. Shortly after the incident everyone carried on and Japanese Heritage celebration was met with success.