First-class students should wear first-class T-Shirts

First-class students should wear first-class T-Shirts

by Emili JohnsonStaff Writer

I remember my first Simpson versus Central game like it was yesterday. My friend from down the hall banged on my door in an attempt to wake me up.

“Emili, you have to hurry up and get ready for the game!!!”

It was 10 a.m. and I had overslept. So I put on a skirt, a cowboy hat and my red Simpson Storm T-shirt and was on my way to the game. When I got there, I noticed that not many people had on the same signature t-shirt that I did. In fact, they were wearing a plain white T-shirt with “FTD” in black lettering. I asked the girl standing next to me what the acronym meant.

“It means f@#% the Dutch!” she said with a laugh. I think she laughed because I didn’t know what it meant.

I also remember that a friend of mine, who was of Dutch heritage, was highly offended by the shirt. When he would tell people that, they would tell him that he should lighten up and that shirt was in spirit of a long-time rivalry with Central College.

From then on, FTD shirts have been a staple in athletic fashion here at Simpson. Every year, there is a different rendition of the t-shirt with a different version of the original slogan.

Personally, I am offended by the shirt. No, I am not Dutch, but I am a person and I feel the shirt is in poor taste. As an institution that is highly accredited for academics as well as athletics, we can definitely do better.

I know that all the football players and fans alike want to do is cream Central, but I don’t think that we should attempt to do so with a derogatory racial slur across our chest.

Earlier this year, Director of Athletics John Sirianni sent out an e-mail to the entire student body expressing the importance of leaving a good impression on the people who come to all athletic events. In the e-mail, he also said that we should support athletic programs “in a manner that represents a first-class person representing a first-class institution.” I would have to say that he is right. Simpson is the best of the best in the Midwest and we should keep it that way.

When I spoke with Sirianni last week, he expressed that the rivalry between Simpson and Central is something that has been around for a very long time.

“Frankly speaking, Central is trying to strive for an academic, athletic [and] social situation the same way that we are,” Sirianni said. “They pride themselves on a lot of the same stuff we do.”

He did mention that there has been some hostility over the years between the schools, but that is not an excuse to result to tasteless apparel about the rivalry. Sirianni simply feels that the shirts cross the line into vulgarity and bad speech that should not be accepted here at Simpson.

“I think there’s a cross-section of people that think they’re just college kids having fun,” said Sirianni. “But I think there are other people that are truly offended and they look at it like ‘How can you do that?'”

Sirianni also mentioned that when students wear these T-shirts to athletic events, they are asked to either turn them inside out or change into a different shirt.

I hope people reading this article do not think that I am against the Simpson/Central rivalry. My dad played football at Simpson in the ’70s and he told me that the rivalry between the schools was a big deal back then.

Actually, instead of wearing derogatory shirts, the players from each school tried to burn the letters of their school in the other’s football field. This may explain why Simpson now has an Astroturf field.

The next time you see FTD, think about what it represents and how it may offend someone. What would you say to someone if they told you they were truly offended? How would you react? These are valid things to think about as we become adults and go off into society. Simpson is a first-class institution so let’s keep it that way and act like first-class students.