An Australian promotional television ad sparked outrage over a scene featuring a black National Basketball League player, Taj McCullough, hopping into bed with a white couple. Several black former stars of the league have blasted the ad, saying it was racist and insensitive.

The commercial shows a series of Australian basketball players throwing a ball around a suburban house. Near the end, Sydney Kings forward Taj McCullough, who is African-American, leaps onto a white couple’s bed and nuzzles up to the woman. McCullough is the only black player featured in the commercial.

Former Melbourne Tigers player Darryl McDonald slammed the advertisement. “It puts black Americans in a bad light,” McDonald, who is also African-American, told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “That commercial has nothing to do with basketball. Nobody else would present their sport this way.”

In a statement Friday, the NBL defended the ad as “lighthearted and fun.”

“We believe viewers and supporters will certainly see the promo in the light in which it was intended, and we note the overwhelming feedback from the public that this is indeed the case,” the NBL said. But Cal Bruton and Leroy Loggins, African-Americans who became naturalized Australians after starring in Australia’s domestic league in the 1980s with the now defunct Brisbane Bullets, were both highly critical of the concept of the advertisement. Source: Canadian Press

To echo the words of Rodney King, can we all get along? Surely the NBL should have known that a black player jumping in the bed of a white couple would spark outrage. I wouldn’t call it racist, but insensitive maybe, from a historical context. The reality is we have become a society too hung up on being politically correct.

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