Penn State Apparel Sends a Message
In response to the events of the past nine months, several downtown State College clothing stores have created T-shirts supporting the Nittany Lions football team, new head coach Bill O’Brien and the university as a whole.
When news of the Sandusky scandal broke, Family Clothesline almost immediately released a T-shirt with the words “Restore the Roar” written across the chest. Advertising manager Caroline Gummo said this shirt was created in response to public demand.
“It was something a lot of our Facebook fans were asking for,” she said.
Two additional shirts, “Billieve” and “O’Brien’s Lions,” were created in support of O’Brien soon after he was hired as the new Nittany Lions head football coach.
With the release of the NCAA sanctions, both Family Clothesline and the Student Book Store believed it was once again time to support the university through the creation of new T-shirts.
The Student Book Store created a shirt donning the words ‘WE ARE’ across the chest and ‘STILL PROUD’ across the back. A blue ribbon in honor of abuse victims is also located on the back of the shirt.
“We don’t have anything that’s out there or really pushing the envelope, so I think we are really trying to put something out that basically supports Penn State,” general manager John Lindo said. “We understand the predicament that everyone is in and we are just trying to make the best of it.”
Family Clothesline took a much different approach with the release of its “WE ARE. . .PISSED OFF” shirt.
Gummo said the shirt is a direct response to everything that has happened during the last nine months, including the recent sanctions placed upon Penn State by the NCAA.
Though the store used what some see as a strong and negative word, Gummo said Family Clothesline stands behind its decision.
“We have really captured how the majority of the public feels about this,” she said. “We were pissed that children got hurt. We were pissed that children got hurt at the Penn State campus. We were pissed that the Freeh Report didn’t interview the main people that were involved in this whole controversial scandal.
"We were pissed off that the NCAA came out with these sanctions, the most severe sanctions in NCAA history, without waiting for the facts to come out. And the last thing is, we’re pissed that the whole Penn State community, alumni, fans and students have to pay the price for the actions of four or five guys. That’s something that we’re all going to have to deal with the consequences of.”
Both stores have seen mostly positive response to their newest releases. Many Penn State fans began looking for shirts before they were even created.
“Once the sanctions came out, people were inquiring ‘when are you going to have shirts? What kinds of shirts are you going to have?’” Lindo said.
Gummo said though it is tough to predict how sales are going, many fans have shown significant interest in Family Clothesline’s T-shirts. She hopes this interest is maintained throughout football season as a way to show continued support for the Nittany Lions.
“We’re really hoping that every fan comes on board and shows up for all the games and really cheers for these athletes that have worked so hard to be a part of the Penn State football family, as well as show their support for this wonderful university,” she said.
Lindo agrees, hoping that the Student Book Store’s T-shirts will provide people with the opportunity to express their Penn State pride.
“Anything any of us can do to make a bad situation better is what we like to do,” Lindo said.