Hardcore fans sometimes say that all’s fair in love and sports, but the Chicago sports apparel maker Cubby Tees may have taken things too far.
Until last Friday, the company was selling a T-shirt that included a part of the Chicago Blackhawks logo and the phrase, “Chicago stronger.” The shirt was a reference to the “Boston strong” slogan that became a rallying cry for the Massachusetts city after the April bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The Blackhawks are playing the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.
The website Boston Sports Then and Now
collected just a few of the angry tweets directed at Cubby Tees and at Chicago sports fans. The words “disrespectful” and “classless” were used.
Chicago Now’s Ted Gruber
called on Cubby Tees to “remove the shirt and have an ounce of respect for those people.”
Cubby Tees did, but not without a fight. In a lengthy blog post
on its website, Cubby Tees said it endured a “good new-fashioned Twitter lynching” and was taking action that appeared to “bow to bullying.”
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“Anyone who believes that the ‘Chicago Stronger’ shirt mocked those injured in the horrible events of Patriots’ Day seems to be desperately looking for insult and to have regrettably missed the point expressed in our commentary. Nowhere on the shirt’s face (or within its subtext or motivation) did we take aim at the victims or make light of the incident — nor would we ever.”
The Cubby Tees website included (before the product was pulled) a description of the shirt that stated that the “Boston Strong” motto had been co-opted by Boston sports fans and that the Chicago company “couldn’t stomach this use of the nation’s sympathy or believe the homicidal lunacy of two disturbed locals has rendered its teams invincible.”
At the risk of editorializing, a T-shirt shouldn’t require that much explanation.
Over the weekend, Cubby Tees updated its explanation post with an FAQ of sorts, in which it states in no uncertain terms it has no regrets.
“This is a site that sells sports tee shirts,” it states. “We promoted one team while taking umbrage with the behavior of another team’s fans in the context of sports – we’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.”