By Matt Lamb at The College Fix
College warned against wearing the dreamcatcher shirt to first game of the year
A college administrator’s public warning not to wear an offensive T-shirt at the first football game of the season now appears to have been all bluster.
The shirt depicts a popular tailgaiting spot for University of Nebraska-Lincoln games that netted its owner, a Native American community center, handsome profits for several years.
The creator of the shirt fought back against the school’s warning against wearing its wares, arguing that those who are offended are hypocrites.
The two versions of the shirt each depict bottles of beers dangling from a dreamcatcher. It reads “Indian Lot, Lincoln, Nebraska,” a reference to the Indian Center, which until last year allowed tailgaters to consume alcohol on its property in return for a tailgating fee.
After a rowdy tailgating last year that featured revelers throwing beer bottles at police and several arrests, the center banned alcohol at future tailgates.
In case anyone is confused, ‘not endorsed’ by UNL
Writing in the student newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan Franco called the shirts “offensive and insensitive” and warned students not to wear them to the UNL-BYU game.
“They needlessly perpetuate the worst and most ignorant of racist stereotypes,” Franco wrote. “And they have no place among educated people.”
Franco seemed concerned that observers would assume the shirts were the university’s own licensed apparel, saying they are “not endorsed by or affiliated in any way with the university.”
“University of Nebraska fans – and especially our students – have a well-earned reputation as being loyal and loud, but also welcoming and inclusive to all,” he continued. “I ask you to consider this when choosing your game-day attire, especially in the case of these t-shirts.”
Though his open letter included terms that implied students could be in violation of UNL’s code of conduct if they were observed wearing the shirts – noting their “responsibility” and “special role” in representing the school – Franco did not explicitly say whether students would be punished.
UNL is rated a “yellow light” institution by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: Its disciplinary procedures and “rights and responsibilities as a resident” are judged to be examples of “ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application.”
Emails from The College Fix to Franco’s office, as well as to the media relations team for the university, were not returned.
“I just thought it was a lame attempt to glorify the drunk brawl at the Indian Center last year,” one commenter wrote in response to Franco’s open letter, claiming that the ABC broadcast of the UNL-BYU game included a commercial for an ABC sitcom that featured “a racist slur about 10 times in 30 seconds.”
Get our permission
The director of the Indian Center upped the offensiveness ante.
“Not only was it racism, but it was an offense to our religion,” Clyde Tyndall told the Omaha World-Herald. He said Corner 3 Tees, the maker of the shirt, had not asked for the center’s permission.
“If he wants to do it, he should come to us, and we’ll tell him how,” Tyndall said without identifying “he.” “Non-natives have no idea how to do that.”
The company says it was “launched” by “Derek and Danny,” identified by the World-Heraldas Derek Hernandez and Danny Troutman.
The shirt first appeared on a sports website founded by Hernandez, in an article about tips for “Nebraska Football Saturdays.”
Though the images of the shirt have been removed from the current article, the original article remains cached by Bing. The images themselves remained hosted on the website until early Monday morning,
When its board voted to ban alcohol at its hosted tailgates, the Indian Center lost a cash cow.
“Last year, tailgating walk-ins were charged $5 and cars $15, with the center turning an average of $10,000 in profits each game,” the newspaper said. “Tyndall said the center might now make $1,500 per game.”
‘Synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption’
In a statement to the World-Herald, Corner 3 Tees accused the center of hypocrisy after years of alcohol-fueled parties.
“We assumed that since the Indian Center (and the Native American community in Lincoln) had no objections to tailgaters taking part in alcohol-related festivities on their grounds, including taking pictures of bonging beers and playing beer pong near Native American structures, the community would be receptive to the T-shirts’ depiction of the very parking lot environment they sponsored.”
The company said the Indian Center deserved its reputation. “We found little to no outrage with the Indian Center being synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption on Husker game days during our research prior to creating the T-shirt design concepts.”
UPDATE: As of Monday afternoon, No Coast Bias has taken down the individual links to the “Indian Lot” images. The article has been amended to reflect this.
Schools: University of Nebraska – Lincoln