Happy Halloween one and all, as we celebrate another day of ghouls, ghosts, candy and white National Hockey League players dressing up as famous black men.
Your 2012 addition to this annual tradition: Tyler Bozak, center for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who had this picture on Instagram for a few moments before deleting it on Tuesday night (but not before the nimble fingers of Wrap Around Curl capped it).
Go figure: a center with no pop, dressing as the King of it.
[Nick Cotsonika: Pavel Datsyuk's magic act astonishes fans, teammates in KHL]
Bozak joins previous NHLers that dabbled in blackface on Halloween such as Adam Burish and Patrick Kane, who attended a 2009 Halloween party as Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen; and Raffi Torres, who attended a Phoenix Coyotes Halloween soirée as Jay-Z while his wife was Beyonce.
The Leafs forward hopped back on Twitter after fans told him to beat it or felt the image was a thriller (because, you see, he was … forget it) after its publication, writing:
That's a tribute to one of my fave artists. For anyone saying its racist is crazy!
— Tyler Bozak (@Bozie42) October 31, 2012
"Bozie are you OK? Bozie are you OK? Are you OK, Bozie …"
Obviously, your reaction to this costume, and those like it, is framed by your own experiences, sensitivities and taste. (Jeffler has a good take here.)
Your truly, pudgy white boy from the Jersey suburbs, thought the backlash against the Blackhawks was manufactured outrage. Harrison Mooney, black guy from B.C., didn't believe Raffi Torres was racist but did believe that his costume was racially insensitive and thoughtless.
And so it goes. If you're thinkin' about my Bozie, doesn't matter if you're black or white … OK, it probably does, but we wanted to use another MJ lyric ...
UPDATE: As was pointed out by a few readers, this isn't Bozak's first dabbling the dark arts of blackface, having previous been a Jamaican bobsledder. Cool runnings, mon.