Artist Doug Wager has airbrushed bricks and walls on ice hockey goalie masks for more than 25 years.
But including the image of President Donald Trump – who declared a national emergency last month in his latest attempt to build a multibillion dollar barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border – on a mask building a wall was a new one for Wager.
“They asked if I wanted to paint it and I said, ‘Sure. Why not?’ ” Wager told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “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 prominently with a trowel in one hand and a brick in the other on a mask that was delivered last month to a 14-year-old male who plays for the Palmyra (Pennsylvania) Black Knights. Wager, who is based in the Philadelphia area, described the parents of the youth goalie as Trump supporters who work for a family-owned business in central Pennsylvania.
“It’s freedom of expression,” Wager said. “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…