Stick to sports, indeed.
The NBA has terminated the contract of a freelance photographer in the Orlando bubble following the discovery of an offensive meme on his Facebook page related to Sen. Kamala Harris, who was recently selected as Presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s running mate.
Photographer Bill Baptist, who has worked with the Houston Rockets as a photographer for 30 years, posted a meme that refers to Harris by the derogatory term “hoe” this past week. The post caught the eye of three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes, who played for the Houston Comets for ten seasons and remembered Baptist when he worked as a photographer for that team as well.
Swoopes took a screenshot of the post and commented on her own Facebook page.
So this guy works for the NBA but covers the Houston Rockets. Has been around for a while. Even worked for the Houston Comets. It’s amazing how people will smile in your face but eventually their true colors will show.
@NBA and Houston Rockets he needs to GO!!! So disrespectful. Bill Baptiste shame on you!!!😡
KPRC 2 in Houston reached out to the NBA for comment on the post and a spokesperson for the organization issued a statement saying that the league will no longer work with Baptist:
“The photographer is an independent contractor and his services are no longer being used in Orlando.”
Baptist then issued a statement of his own to KPRC, going with the well-worn defense of denying that the racist/sexist/ugly thing you happily did is not actually a reflection of who you are.
“I deeply regret posting on my facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP. The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all. I should not have been so insensitive to post the statements by others. I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended and I have taken the post down from my FB page. It was a horrible mistake on my part.”
Baptist is no longer in the Orlando bubble. Meanwhile, the Rockets will continue play against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday in Game 1 of their playoff series.