Vanderbilt University likes to think of itself as an Ivy League school living in the South. I have been more than happy to allow them to think that over the years. After all, the biggest contribution the school gives to the Southeastern Conference is a boost to the overall grade point average of the conference athletes each semester.
However, when a basketball team like the #1 ranked University of Kentucky comes to town for a game, bringing with it ESPN's Game Day telecast, apparently all that book-learning they have in Nashville marches right out the door, and is replaced with emotions and fears for which the South is widely known: homophobia, ignorance, and shallowness.
Here is a picture of the shirt that the Vanderbilt fans have decided is best to wear for today's nationally televised game:
I understand there are tons of other shirts that say lots of things about rival teams. UK fans wear shirts stating Tennessee fans are ugly and only ugly girls go to Duke. Taunting the enemy is part of the fun of sports. I get it, however, calling someone ugly is an actual insult. What is not acceptable is using the term "gay" as an insult. By using that word, you are saying that being gay is wrong and bad and shameful. That is not right.
Vanderbilt, part of the enlightened academic elite? I hardly think so.
Keith Stewart’s remarkable adventures usually occur near his hometown of Hyden in the hills of southeastern Kentucky, although he can be found aimlessly wandering the streets of nearby Lexington at any given moment. Before he shed his corporate casing, he worked as a certified public accountant for a multi-national company. He now enjoys less stressful work with much less pay, and blogs and writes and stuff. Oh, and he is as happy as a clam.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Shame On Vanderbilt
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Although the t-shirt is offensive (and even more offensive for not being clever), I don't think it's appropriate to blame Vanderbilt University for it. From what I can tell, the t-shirt was made available through cafepress.com and not an official merchandiser for the university. At this point, it is unclear if the t-shirt was created by a Vandy student. Additionally, Vandy officials have condemned the shirt (http://www.wsmv.com/story/16912063/vanderbilt-officials-discuss-controversial-shirts).ReplyDelete
I received an email and a tweet from two separate Vanderbilt officials who said the the school had nothing to do with the t-shirts. University officials have asked fans not to wear them. If fans show up with the shirt on they will be asked to change. If they refuse, they will be asked to leave. Way to do the right thing, Vandy!ReplyDelete