N’western advertisement pushes back on ‘tone deaf’ T-shirt

  • Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Senior Citizen WriterAug 9, 2023, 03:22 PM ET


    • College football press reporter.
    • Signed up with ESPN.com in 2008.
    • Graduate of Northwestern University.EVANSTON, Ill.– Northwestern athletics director Derrick Gragg pushed back versus a Tee shirts numerous football employee wore at Wednesday’s practice that supported previous coach Pat Fitzgerald, calling it”unsuitable, offending and tone deaf.”The T-shirts read: “Cats Versus The World,”followed by”

      51, “the number Fitzgerald wore as a two-time national defensive player of the year at Northwestern in the mid-1990s. Gragg, who participated in Wednesday’s practice, said in a declaration that neither he nor the university had actually understood the t-shirts would be worn Wednesday, the first preseason practice open up to the media.Sources informed ESPN that the T-shirts were made shortly after Fitzgerald’s July 10 firing and had actually been used during other team activities. An existing Northwestern player was seen wearing the Tee shirts in a picture shared on social networks July 27 by wide receivers coach Armon Binns.”I am incredibly dissatisfied that a few members of our football program personnel chose to use’Cats Versus the World’tee shirts,”Gragg said in the statement. “Neither I nor the University was aware that they owned or would use these t-shirts today. The shirts are inappropriate, offensive and tone deaf. Let me be clear: hazing has no place at Northwestern, and we are dedicated to do whatever is needed to resolve hazing-related problems, consisting of completely investigating any occurrences or allegations of hazing or any other misconduct.” Editor’s Picks 2 Related Pass receiver Bryce Kirtz said the T-shirts are a symbol of group unity amid a tough time for the group. Present players and coaches have remained in contact with Fitzgerald, whose eldest boy, Jack, is a freshman tight end on the team. Jack Fitzgerald has been working as a student assistant however stays on the roster. He participated in Wednesday’s practice but was not in uniform while helping during position drills. “[ Interim coach David Braun], he’s been preaching that we must stick together, especially throughout a time like this, “Kirtz said.”The shirts are truly a tip, allowing us to stick

      together. “Braun, the group’s defensive coordinator who became interim coach days after Fitzgerald was fired, stated his sole focus is supporting the existing players and employee and ensuring the coming season is a favorable experience for

      them. He said of the Tee shirts,”It certainly isn’t my company to censor anyone’s complimentary speech.”Promoting the first time because Fitzgerald’s firing, the players said they’re focused on supporting one another and progressing, in spite of 14 claims from previous players declaring hazing and other mistreatment within the program. No current or previous players have been called in the suits, and besides Fitzgerald, all coaches and support staff are set to work during the 2023 season. Defensive backs coach Matt MacPherson, who has been named in a number of suits and is being examined by the university, was on the field for Wednesday’s practice.Fitzgerald has denied any knowledge of hazing within the program. He hired noted lawyer Dan Webb for a prospective wrongful termination claim against Northwestern, which fired him for cause.”We’re not attending to any past hazing accusations,” linebacker Bryce Gallagher said.”What I can inform you is right now we have an excellent culture in our

      locker room and the people are really sticking together through all this. The older men are actually just concentrated on helping these more youthful men out, assisting each other get through this, and simply leaning on our relationships.”Gallagher said players were “ravaged” upon learning Fitzgerald had been fired.Players and Braun have actually been in touch with Pat Fitzgerald throughout the previous couple of weeks. “There has actually been a particular level of checking in on someone that, at the end of the day, offered a chance for me and my household, “Braun said of Fitzgerald, who employed him from North Dakota State in January.”I appreciate his personal well-being extremely,

      very much. “Northwestern players went through a necessary, in-person anti-hazing workshop last week prior to starting practices. Braun stated hazing has”no part”in the group’s activities moving forward. He was pleased to see only seven players, mostly inbound freshmen, enter the transfer website in the 30-day window after Fitzgerald’s shooting. “It just reveals that what we have here is valued,”protective back Rod Heard II said.” The players that stayed, they wish to be here. And the players that left, we fully support their decision in doing so.” Gallagher said practicing has actually been”a breath of fresh air” as the team prepares to open its season Sept. 3 at Rutgers.”We’ve had an excellent training school up until now, “he stated.”It’s been really nice getting up there on the field and simply competing, assisting each other out, assisting [Braun] and the more youthful guys out and help establish them. “

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