For some, there’s hardly a dressier pair of shoes than Nike’s Air Jordan.
But they’re not good enough for Texas Republic, a bar, nightclub and restaurant just south of West 7th Street in Fort Worth.
Coleman Maxwell, a Fellowship of Christian Athletes assistant life and character coach who works with TCU athletes, was denied entry Saturday night because he was wearing Jordan 11’s, which are prohibited by the club’s dress code.
Maxwell was trying to attend the draft party of TCU linebacker Ty Summers, who was taken by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, the venue wouldn’t let me in because I was wearing the Jordan 11’s,” Maxwell said in a string of posts on Twitter on Sunday. “Just so you know that I’m being objective, I totally respect a venue’s dress code, if they have one. What’s interesting about Texas Republic’s dress code is how specific it is. And how there is a hint of a racist motive in their dress code.”
The dress code, which is listed on the club’s website, prohibits baggy clothing, Air Jordans, Air Force Ones, Polo boots, sports attire and offensive clothing after 9 p.m. It’s also posted on its Facebook page and at the entrance.
A man who identified himself as the Texas Republic manager but declined to give his last name said customers are turned away all the time for dress code issues. The shoes are banned at the club, he said, because too often fights erupt after one patron steps on the shoes of another patron.
“They’re so expensive, it’s a busy club and people step on them, people get upset,” he said. “We allow other sneakers. Nobody is going to be mad when someone steps on their dirty Adidas.”
Maxwell suggested the dress code is targeting a specific group of people to potentially discourage them from patronizing the club.
“I was also wearing a striped, collard @RalphLauren Polo shirt, with a nice pair of black jeans. It was a fresh look with my Jordan’s. I was dressed up. TXR didn’t allow me in,” Maxwell said.
Dress code discrimination was alleged a year ago at another West 7th bar, Varsity Tavern. The Texas Republic manager said he used to work there.
“We turn away a lot of people every night,” he said. “You’d be surprised how many go to Target or Marshalls across the street and come back. And I’m like, ‘Cool, come on in.’”
None of that washes with Maxwell, who asked on Twitter whether the dress code was inherently racist.
“Is there an indirect agenda within their dress code. What does this dress code communicate? What demographic predominantly wears these items,” Maxwell said. “I do have a problem with a private business like Texas Republic targeting a specific audience with their dress code.”
Summers commiserated with his coach on Twitter.
“That’s frustrating brotha,” he said in a reply to Maxwell’s tweet. “That’s not right.”
The dress code doesn’t discriminate, the manager said. He insisted it was about safety but also said the club wants people to look good, too.
“It doesn’t matter what color you are, nobody comes in with them,” he said. “I don’t care who they are. People shoot videos in our club and we want people to look nice in there, so it’s just good business.”