A group of friends in the Dallas area switched sneakers to show that a popular club was selectively enforcing a ban on Air Jordans to turn away black club-goers.
Dallas native Sam Sayed had invited friends from his grad school in Philadelphia to visit his hometown of Fort Worth, the Star-Telegram reports, and they went out for a night at the clubs. But when they got to a bar called Varsity Tavern in the West 7th nightlife district, his friend Stephen, a black man from the Bronx, was turned away by a bouncer who said he was not allowed in because he was wearing Jordans sneakers and "he couldn’t allow anyone wearing Jordans into the establishment."
Sayed and his friends could see that people inside the bar were dressed casually, so they decided to test the theory that the exclusion was racially motivated by switching sneakers.
Stephen gave his sneakers to a white friend, Sean Gallagher, who got in. He wore Gallagher's dock shoes and was also allowed in.
"So let me clarify Varsity’s Jordan rule. It’s not that they don’t allow Jordan’s in their establishment, they don’t allow BLACK PEOPLE with Jordan’s in their establishment," Sayed wrote on Facebook.
Once inside the bar, the men switched their shoes back—and Stephen was immediately discovered and thrown out.
"We are stereotyped as racist people here in Texas and you guys validated that notion," Sayed wrote on Facebook. "Not that is should matter, but this guy is going to be a freaking doctor!"
The club has been accused of racism a number times on Yelp over many months.
"Racist! Racist! Racist!!!! It is a shame this place is still open. The employees, owners and anyone that supports this business should be ashamed of themselves," wrote one reviewer last November.
The bar says it is "investigating."
“Varsity Tavern takes these incidents and accusations very seriously and we are in the process of doing an internal investigation into this matter."