Wondering what San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo meant when he wore that "I just look illegal" T-shirt at the championship parade Wednesday?

Some fans were hoping Romo would clarify the eyebrow-raising message Thursday night as he appeared with teammate Barry Zito on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

"I do hope he explains it, if asked," said Giants fan Raul Rico of Salinas. "People may not take it serious because he's always goofing around, but you can tell there's a social aspect."

While the shirt was briefly mentioned on the late-night show, which airs at 11:35 p.m. Thursday but was already taped, NBC says it was not fully discussed.

That means fans will have to keep guessing at Romo's intent.

Rico was among more than 1 million Giants fans from across Northern California who crowded downtown San Francisco for the World Series Championship parade through the city Wednesday.

As he spotted Romo and his convertible near Market and Larkin streets, Rico said he was stunned, and moved, by the provocative T-shirt message. The 27-year-old Salinas fan said his own Mexican-American upbringing makes him feel connected to Romo, a 29-year-old son of Mexican immigrants born and raised in the Southern California community of Brawley.

The star pitcher was taking a stand, Rico thought, to combat the animosity and racial hatred commonly expressed against Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans.


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"To me it represented, 'Here we are. You downgrade us. You call us names. And look at me, I'm successful. I'm here. I made it. This is who I am.'"

Romo has worn similarly controversial shirts joking about his Mexican heritage in the past.

Wednesday's "illegal" attire won the popular player accolades on social media as photos of Romo pointing at and flashing the shirt spread around the Bay Area and nation. Some immigrant activists took it as a satirical kick against racial profiling and derogatory immigrant terminology.

Other activists accused Romo of doing more harm than good through what the Think Mexican blog on Thursday called "racial self-mockery."

"Sergio seems to want to say: I'm Mexican, but I'm a jokester; I'm not a threat," said an unnamed author on the blog.