It’s hard not to be incensed by a new T-shirt design just released on Facebook by a new pro-Terps “company” called Shirts for Terps. The horrific shirt slogan is wrong on more levels than I could count, using a horrific reference to take a shot at arguably the Terps’ fiercest sporting rival.
The front of the shirt reads, “I’d rather shower at Penn State than root for Duke.” It is a clear reference to the heart-wrenching Penn State sexual-abuse scandal that broke last November. The episode ostensibly ended with the conviction of serial molester and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky on assault charges, plus the slapping of unheard-of sanctions on Penn State’s football program, but the scandal will continue to make its mark on countless lives for years ahead.
And that’s what makes the shirts so despicable. This new company, of which little is known, seems to have just launched earlier this month (though we can’t be sure). Its Facebook page has only 62 likes, and I’d never heard of it before these shirts came out. I’m not sure if the T-shirts are a publicity stunt to gain market traction or just a supreme show of ignorance.
What I am sure of, on the other hand, is that there’s nothing funny about child rape. Don’t believe me? Ask the dozens of kids Sandusky molested over a decades-long reign of terror at Penn State and his charity, The Second Mile. Ask the thousands of other innocent victims across America every year. Ask their families. Hell, ask any resident of Pennsylvania (where I’m from, by the way) who saw their friends and families cry for days over the story.
Ask the legions of fooled fans who bought tickets to watch Penn State football for years, only to find out the foundation of the program was covering up child molestation for years at a time, right under their noses.
For good reason, none of them are laughing.
Look, I hate Duke, too. Their basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, is a villain, and the Cameron Crazies are obnoxious and annoying. I hope the Terps crush them in every sport in which they meet, especially basketball on Feb. 16 at the Comcast Center.
I’ll try to be there watching, no doubt, and if the crowd shouts obscenities at the Blue Devils, I won’t have any problem with it. It’s college, and that stuff happens. Mentioning them in conjunction with sexual assault, though? Child sexual assault? Give me a break.
Terps fans — and the College Park community — deserve better.