Sports

The Detroit Lions’ ski mask gimmick is playing with fire

No matter how hard white people try, some things just can’t be gentrified.

In one of the oddest and most bizarre moves that have been made during the Dan Campbell era — which included him wanting his team to bite their opponent’s kneecaps and discussions about having an actual lion on the sidelines — the team is encouraging its fan bases to wear ski masks to games as if they play in Des Moines and not Detroit.

How did all this start?

Because Lions defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson is a dumb ass.

“You gonna see on Sunday, blue ski masks everywhere,” he declared days before Detroit’s 31-37 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Lions’ home opener. Gardner-Johnson was wearing one after the Lions upset the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener. He wanted it to become a trend. His wish was tragically granted.

“Part of us, it’s the culture. I’m changing it,” he said.

“From what I’ve seen, the crowd, we’ve probably got the most ruthless fans in the game,” he added. “So, I think, from talking crap, they feed off of us, they yell the loudest … They just love their Lions team, so the more we win, the more we’ll see true Lions fans.”

Not only did it not work on Sunday, but the Lions lost a game in which they had more total yards and drives than Seattle, and fewer penalties and penalty yards in a game they were favored to win.

“I know it stings and those guys are disappointed. I’m disappointed, the staff is, but this is good,” Campbell said after the game. “We’ll get a little humble pie here.”

“Sometimes you don’t know exactly where you’re at until you’re in it. We come off a big win and you can always preach certain things, but man, this is the NFL, and these guys came in, and they took that win,” he added. “They earned it over there and we did the mistakes that cost us.

“I don’t want to say we weren’t ready, but we have to make those plays in the moment, and not just assume it’s gonna turn into the type of game you want it to.”

Sunday wasn’t just about letting one slip away coming off a huge win. The Lions were trying to build momentum after last year’s season-ending win against the Packers — which was Aaron Rodgers’ last game in Green Bay — and their opening win against Patrick Mahomes. Over the weekend, a statute of Barry Sanders was unveiled, as it felt like things were finally headed in a positive direction.

But then, those dumb ski masks happened before a loss.

According to research by Security Gauge, Detroit is the fifth-most dangerous city in America. At the beginning of the year, CBS had the city ranked third when it came to cities with the biggest homicide rates. And according to Axios, due to a shooting that happened in Denver over the weekend, this country has now reached 500 mass shootings for the year — and it’s only September.

Playing with guns is deadly. Walking around with ski masks on when you aren’t about “that life” invites bad behavior.

“F*ck a fair one, I get mine the fast way, ski mask way…” — The Notorious B.I.G. (1994)

This year, the city of Detroit ended its 40-year reign as America’s largest majority-Black city. Michigan’s biggest and most popular city is a place with a layered history. One side of America has always viewed it as dirty, dangerous, and a place you stay away from. While the other has chosen to focus on all the positive things about Detroit. It’s a city that demonstrates why there are “Two Americas” — one white, and one Black.

Ski masks are worn for two reasons — to hit the slopes or to commit a crime. In Detroit, it’s for the latter, not the former. Having people show up to games with blue ski masks isn’t the smart thing to do for white or Black fans. In fact, it’s quite dumb, and insulting in some ways. Besides, the cheap gimmick has already failed. Seattle celebrated Sunday’s win by wearing one of the masks in the locker room, meaning that the Lions let the Seahawks steal a game — and their property.



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