By Ryan Gaydos
Published March 21, 2019
A Pennsylvania youth hockey player and an artist were reportedly slammed on social media after the goalie wore a mask which featured President Donald Trump holding a trowel and a brick, in a nod to Trump's campaign promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
Doug Wager, an artist who had been working with goalie masks for more than two decades, told USA Today on Wednesday he didn’t have a problem with painting the mask for the 14-year-old.
“They asked if I wanted to paint it and I said, ‘Sure. Why not?’ he told the newspaper. “Personally, I would have picked something different. It’s a hot topic. It’d be a bit too far for me if it was my mask.”
Trump is featured on the front of the mask with the trowel in his right hand and a brick in the other. The mask was given to the teen, who plays for the Palmyra Black Knights. Wagner told USA Today that the parents who asked for the mask were Trump supporters who own a business in the state.
“It’s freedom of expression," Wager told USA Today. "It’s not like they wanted a Mexican flag with a slash through it or anything like that. I think they wanted to be funny. Normally, there’s no reason why anyone would be upset over having the President of the United States on a mask. Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that people take offense to and, in my opinion, it’s a willful act to be outraged."
However, not everyone thought the mask was ok.
College hockey writer Jashvina Shah wrote on Twitter Monday: “To be quite honest I don’t think a picture of a man who has admitted to sexually assaulting women should be on a goaltender’s mask.”
She later added: “The kid who has Trump on his mask is 14 years old. He needs someone in that organization to explain to him why it’s not ok, and why it [represents] racism and other forms of bigotry. I hope someone will explain.”
Another person agreed with Shah, saying they felt “sorry for his teammates.”
Wager, whose clients include Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Garrett Sparks, shrugged off the criticism saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” and didn’t expect his involvement with the mask would hurt his business or detract from his clientele.