Thursday, April 16th, 2015 will forever be a day that lives in Mississippi sports infamy. The day that SHIRTGHAZI (yes, this is what we're calling it now) broke the Magnolia State's internet and dropped 10,000 searing HOT TAKES about the appropriateness of gamesmanship and intrastate rivalries the country over. Will we, as a people, ever recover?
The whole ridiculous shirt fiasco is just plain funny (which is now RCR's editorial line on this chaotic whiplash), insofar as it's often hilarious to watch knee-jerk fallouts come crumbling down in the space of mere hours. How dare they don such foul-mouthed vestments?! They can't say that to our school; only we can say that to their school! Ugh. What's more, how were the warm-ups disappeared after State's practice session on Thursday? Did some besuited-secret-service-type swoop in to confiscate all the brand new gear? Damn I hope so. Were the jerseys ritualistically incinerated before the weeping eyes of MSU's players? Permit one to hope.
Here's the thing though: let Clanga keep the ugly things. Honestly, is "F--K TSUN" in any measure worse than a fraction of what's spouted out at the Egg Bowl every year? Leaving aside the historical linguistics and semantic finagling of "fuck," have you or someone you love ever screeched the detested F-word in Dan Mullen's direction? Let he who hasn't wished every kind of ill on a cowbell buy the first bourbon. I daresay all of this would have blown right over had State's AD not quickly apologized to all offended (who out there was offended, really?). Come on: this is dreary respectability politics where none are needed; preemptive damage control for damage that won't ever happen.
What's in a way refreshingly ironic about this week's crazed reaction over State's wardrobe malfunction is the glaring lack of sanctimonious hand-wringing from large-circulation outlets like the Clarion-Ledger. Take for instance Hugh Kellenberger's milquetoast prompt, which reads as if he must Weigh In for the sake of Weighing In. You can almost hear him issue the world's deepest sigh. Watch him almost argue his way to a line in the sand before dropping off into awkward musing about the stupidness of Clanga's predicament:
[I]t's just mostly stupid, because how dumb do you have to be to think no one would notice? I don't like calling for people's jobs, because they are human beings with lives and families and we all make mistakes and some compassion is a good thing, but man ... how asinine do you have to be to think this is OK?
Asinine, really? How about marketing genius? Good gravy, even post-human Darren Rovell would marvel at how cynically brilliant Adidas' misstep (or was it?!) played out on Thursday. Every son and daughter of every State alum wants one of those dumb warm-ups now. And why so smarmy, Hugh? Call for EVERYONE'S job. Even down to the criminally under-paid factory worker who stitched the damn jerseys. No one is innocent, here, burn Adidas to the ground.
This is where our modern NCAA stands. Athletic departments and student-athletes get perks and swag and free shit up until that free shit might offend in the least. Utter F--K TSUN in the confines of the locker room, from the safety of the student section, but you will be damned if you include an opaque feint to four letter words on your pep-rally apparel. Let MSU have the jerseys. They're ugly as sin, and heck, now Mike Bianco and the boys have a full clip of ammunition sitting on their bulletin board, just ready for next month's home showdown against Clanga.