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Sacramento Kings cancel Year of the Monkey T-shirt giveaway on first day of Black History Month

The Sacramento Kings pulled the plug on a T-shirt giveaway at the last minute Monday night because of concerns within the organization of racial insensitivity.

The seats at Sleep Train Arena had already been draped with shirts featuring a large purple monkey to commemorate the Lunar New Year before the game against Milwaukee. The Chinese Year of the Monkey starts Feb. 8.

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According to multiple media reports, Kings star DeMarcus Cousins and others objected to such shirts being handed out on Feb. 1, the same day players and coaches across the NBA were wearing T-shirts celebrating the start of Black History Month.

"I walk into the building and DeMarcus Cousins calls me over to an animated discussion he's having with Kings operations people," Bucks broadcaster and former player Marques Johnson wrote on Facebook. "He ask me, 'Olskool, what you think about this T Shirt? Told him a little insensitive on 1st day of Black History Month'. They pulled the shirts..."

The Kings have another home game, against Chicago, on Wednesday before starting a long road trip that ends on Feb. 19.

“We all need a lesson in sensitivity,” Kings President Chris Granger said, according to the Sacramento Bee. “In an effort to celebrate Chinese New Year, we had some concerns about the T-shirt giveaway, so we pulled them all before the doors opened. Certainly we don’t want to offend anybody, and we acted as soon as we heard the concern.”

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