As USA Today reports, Houston-based photographer Bill Baptist shared the meme Wednesday via Facebook shortly after Biden announced the Senator and former presidential candidate as his 2020 running mate. The meme reads “Joe and the Hoe,” insinuating Harris as the “hoe.”
A spokesperson for the NBA confirmed with Houston television station KPRC 2 that Baptist had been removed from the bubble. “The photographer is an independent contractor and his services are no longer being used in Orlando,” they said.
Basketball Hall of Famer and gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes later shared her reaction to Baptist’s post on Facebook.
“So this guy works for the NBA but covers the Houston Rockets. Has been around for awhile. Even worked for the Comets," Swoopes, who is a former player of the Houston Comets, wrote. "It's amazing how people will smile in your face but eventually their true colors will how. @NBA and Houston Rockets he needs to GO!!! So disrespectful. Bill Baptiste (sic) shame on You!!!”
Baptist has photographed the Houston Rockets for 30 years, though he is not officially associated with the team. He later issued an apology statement to KPRC 2.
“I deeply regret posting on my facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP,” he wrote. “The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all. I should not have been so insensitive to post the statements by others. I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended and I have taken the post down from my FB page. It was a horrible mistake on my part.”