The Toronto Raptors have launched a brand new line of team-branded hijabs in an effort to be extra inclusive to followers of all cultures.
The group partnered with Nike to design the hijabs — head coverings worn by some Muslim ladies — and unveiled them on Twitter, saying the athletic attire was “impressed by these courageous sufficient to alter the sport.”
The Raptors, that are owned by Maple Leaf Sports activities & Leisure, claimed to be the primary group within the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation to supply an athletic hijab, The Associated Press reported.
Jerry Ferguson, the corporate’s senior advertising director, instructed The A.P. that the concept was impressed by the Hijabi Ballers, a local organization that promotes Muslim women in sports.
“They actually needed to contain native Muslim feminine athletes,” Amreen Kadwa, the group’s founder mentioned on Sunday. “There was a real partnership and curiosity to spotlight this group, making it genuine to the Muslim neighborhood.”
Ms. Kadwa, who based the group two years in the past, mentioned 10 to 20 ladies repeatedly present as much as weekly gatherings.
“It’s been acquired positively amongst Muslim females and Raptors followers,” she mentioned of the brand new attire. “Toronto is a good multicultural metropolis to introduce one thing like this.”
Greater than 400,000 Muslims stay within the Toronto space, according to national data from 2011, the newest obtainable.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most important Muslim civil rights and advocacy group in america, praised the brand new hijabs.
“It sends a robust message of inclusion to the Muslim neighborhood,” Ibrahim Hooper, the group’s nationwide communications director, mentioned. “I feel the Raptors should be congratulated for taking a step that different groups have but to make.”
Norm O’Reilly, the director of the Worldwide Institute for Sport Enterprise and Management on the College of Guelph close to Toronto, mentioned the advertising choice was an enormous step however not a stunning one.
He mentioned it reminded him of when the Nationwide Soccer League started marketing clothing for women.
“When that originally occurred, there was a whole lot of public press and the marketing campaign was scrutinized, however now it’s widespread follow,” he mentioned. “It takes a primary step to push for acceptance in a gender, race or cultural situation, but it surely normally finally ends up understanding in the long run.”
He mentioned that it was attainable the group would lose followers over the branded hijabs, however that the group will need to have decided the advantages outweighed the danger. Some critics on social media known as hijabs an emblem of oppression.
Professor O’Reilly in contrast the transfer to the time Nike used Colin Kaepernick, the divisive quarterback who knelt throughout nationwide anthems in protest of police brutality and social injustice, because the face of its advertising marketing campaign.
“From a advertising perspective, those that don’t embrace change and humanity are inclined to not have issues work out as nicely within the longer run,” he mentioned. “It’s the pure development. The N.B.A. is international and the Raptors have a worldwide viewers.”
Irving J. Rein, a professor of communications research at Northwestern College, mentioned that some individuals would discover the branded hijabs empowering and others would discover them offensive, however that it was exhausting to say how many individuals may cease watching the Raptors due to them.
“Athletes are actually talking out about controversial subjects in ways in which they’ve not spoken out earlier than,” he mentioned, citing Kaepernick and LeBron James. “We’re dwelling in an area that we don’t perceive very nicely and the power to foretell may be very troublesome.”