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Coyotes, agent defend Torres after Halloween costume photo

TSN.ca Staff

10/31/2011 4:47:57 PM

Raffi Torres' agent Eustace King is defending the Coyotes winger's choice to dress as entertainer Jay-Z to celebrate Halloween.

"Raffi's outfit was harmless," King told TSN. "It's Halloween. People need to relax, enjoy spirit of holiday."

Torres is drawing criticism from fans and media after teammate Paul Bissonnette tweeted a picture of Torres in blackface dressed as rapper Jay-Z alongside his wife who - also in blackface - came dressed as singer Beyonce Knowles.

Some were offended by the costume choice, explaining that it harkens back to a less racially-sensitive era when blackface was used by predominantly caucasian entertainers as a method of mocking African-American stereotypes.

The Coyotes also released a statement denouncing the reaction to Torres' costume.

"There was absolutely nothing racist about Raffi and his wife's costumes," the statement read. "Raffi is a huge fan of Jay-Z and his wife loves Beyonce. It was a Halloween party. The fact that this was reported is ridiculous. We will have no further comment."

After tweeting the controversial picture, Bissonette was quick to come to his teammate's defence.

"As far as everyone trying to call "Racism" because Raffi dressed up like Jay-Z can simmer down," Bissonnette tweeted. "He's a huge Jay-Z fan."

Bissonnette then let his followers provide back-up, re-tweeting statements in Torres' defence.

Torres is in his first season with the Coyotes, who signed him as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.