An Open Apology

Home 9 An Open Apology

In 2013, I wore blackface for a Halloween function I was attending. At the time, no one said anything negative about it, but in 2018 someone saw the picture of me in blackface and brought to my attention that my costume was offensive. I’m deeply sorry for my choice in costume and it wasn’t my intention to hurt or offend anyone. I let down the people who I offended and I let myself down by choosing my costume without consideration to others. What has embarrassed me the most is the perception that I’m insensitive to other races and groups. 

I’ve grown up with a diverse group of friends of all races and have always had tremendous compassion and respect for people of all walks of life. No racial divisiveness ever existed and I’ve made it a point throughout my life to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of their skin colour, age, gender affiliation, income, or job status. 
I admit my poor choice of costume in 2013 and I take full responsibility for being racially insensitive. Since 2018, I have taken a proactive role in my personal education of diversity and inclusion, and the experience has helped me learn and grow. I will continue to support the game I love so dearly through contributing and hosting football camps coached by CFL players and CFL alumni. Camp participants include students from all walks of life, all skin colours, and gender affiliations. 
Since 2018, I have implemented corrective steps, including engaging in multiple conversations with clients and other players in the league, friends, family, and even those who criticized me on social media. I now have a clear understanding of how blackface was used in the past and how it is interpreted much differently in today’s social and racial climate. I also have a better sense of how portraying a stereotype can be hurtful and should not be done in any form or fashion.
In addition, I attended a racial sensitivity course not long ago and I learned that people have different lived experiences that causes them to interpret the world differently than others. What I observe in my lived experience is different than others lived experience, and that difference shapes the choices we make. I also learned that a single story is interpreted imagery we have of something or someone, without knowing a different narrative. 

We are told in life not to care about what others think, but the fact is that I care deeply about what others think of me and my brand and what it represents. My actions in 2013 damaged that brand and I have been and will continue to be fully committed to rebuilding my brand, both personally and professionally.

I will continue to work on educating myself, as well as the community work that I’ve been doing for many years. And, most importantly, I will never repeat my mistake. I hope those who I’ve offended and/or hurt, will find it in their hearts to forgive. I welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with anyone if they so choose.

Jason Staroszik