A high school has banned football players from wearing T-shirts made to motivate their team after complaints about rape culture.
The Arlington Martin High School parent booster club made the T-shirts for the players to wear to celebrate their team. A student reportedly came up with the design and phrases which led to the banning of the T-shirt from campus, reports Fox 4.
The T-shirt, featuring a pirate flag with skull and crossbones, states, “We take what we want” and printed beneath it reads, “Shhh…just let it happen.”
It was the high school’s own newspaper, "The Warrior Post," that questioned the T-shirts in an editorial, stating they glorified rape culture.
“'Shhh, just let it happen' - is that a message we want to send to high school seniors or high school boys or girls in general that they can just take what they want without anyone putting up a fight,” said student newspaper editorial writer Sherilyn Morales.
Morales’ editorial did mention how it is not believed there was an intention in the making of the T-shirts for a rape connotation, reports Star-Telegram.
“The shirt’s main message is to state the player’s idea that there is no need for the opponent to put up a fight in letting our team take the ball away from them,” the editorial said. “But can this saying be easily misunderstood? Yes. Though it certainly was not the goal of the shirt, its slogan connoted rape culture.”
Reaction to the editorial has been mixed amongst students.
“There were some that thought we were taking a personal hit on the football team,” Morales said. “We got mixed feedback.”
Martin Coach Bob Wager does not find the T-shirts inappropriate.
“I’ve seen the shirts several times since July, and not once did it cross my mind that it was inappropriate,” Wager said.
Booster club President Kevin White said this is not the first time in 40 years of students designing T-shirts for their football team that the phrase “We take what we want” has been used to refer to beating other teams on the field.
“One of the things we’ve done really well [at Martin] throughout the years is winning the take-away battle. In fact, when you leave our locker room, there’s only one billboard on the wall and it simply says ‘take aways.’ The act of piracy, taking what you want. What we want is the football,” Wager said.
When questioned about the “Shhhhhhh, just let it happen” portion of the T-shirt, Wager and White view it as referring to the Warriors doing all the “talking on the field.”
“It’s sickening to me that [T-shirt slogan] was misconstrued,” White said. “And it’s weird that it has been out for so long and just came up.”
The T-shirts were handed out in August to football players. The editorial was published in October.
Wager did not know about the editorial before it was published, and it upset him that he was not made aware it would allude to his team’s T-shirts promoting rape culture.
“I have a wife, I have a daughter, I have a mother. Our players have sisters and cousins. It’s unwarranted. Our kids deserve better, especially from our own school,” Wager said.
Regardless of the intended meaning behind the T-shirts, they have been banned from campus.
“They were never intended or thought to have any meaning other than a football-related meaning — taking yardage, the ball, etc.,” School district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston wrote in an email. “When this other view was brought to the school’s attention, the students were instructed not to wear the shirts.”
Photo Source: Star-Telegram