Roll Tigers? T-shirt Erroneously (We Hope) Meshes Artwork for Football Rivals Alabama and Auburn
The football teams representing the University of Alabama and Auburn University customarily make headlines together over Thanksgiving weekend, with inhabitants of the Yellowhammer State flocking to either Bryant-Denny Stadium or Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl. The autumnal combatants, however, have become springtime newsmakers thanks to a gas station T-shirt that combines Alabama's capital "A" logo with Auburn's name (five mentions, no less).
Ronnie Hardy, a fan of the Auburn Tigers, who own current bragging rights over their in-state rival thanks to last season’s 26-14 win, recently spotted the apparel product at a Gardendale, Alabama Shell Station, eventually purchasing it after having contemplated its uniqueness and having found himself overwhelmed “by the sheer abomination of it.” According to the patron, finding such a “weird” shirt at the location is a common occurrence, but the Alabama-Auburn mix-up offers quite a compelling anomaly.
I count myself as a pretty passionate college football fan and enjoy all the publicity that their matchup draws. The action has proven particularly exciting since the dawn of the 20th century, with Auburn holding a 10-8 edge. The Crimson Tide, though, has garnered more renown than the Tigers, earning five national titles to their frequent foe’s one.
Alabama’s championship tally, therefore, makes this shirt even more of a head-scratcher. Though Auburn also calls upon a capital “A” for its logo, confusing the two symbols (it’s time to ride my high horse now) is a big no-no, especially given the teams' rivalry. As Hardy noted in explaining the gaffe, the gas station commonly carries unlicensed goods, but unless someone had been looking to make a novelty item or just plain irk the life out of the schools’ respective fan bases, this T-shirt should never have met with any approval, official or not.
— AU Beards (@AU_Beards) April 11, 2018
“I may wear [it] to take a picture as a joke,” Hardy, who also took to Twitter as @AU_Beards, said. “It’s one of those things if you walk outside the house in that around any Alabama or Auburn fan, that’s instant ridicule.”
Adding to the confusion, AL.com notes that the “A” does not match the Alabama emblem, resembling more closely the Atlanta Braves’ chief alternate logo. Hey, nobody’s perfect, and mistakes can often lead to recognition or rebuke for the guilty party. In this case, Hardy walked away with what may be a true rarity. However, the sports nut in me feels the pain that Alabama backers and Auburn supporters must be experiencing when looking at this shirt. To err is human, but this is a good reminder to check artwork closely before committing it to an item. You could very well be the ones who keep us from seeing, for example, a Celtics-themed Lakers T-shirt or, heaven forbid in these parts, a Philadelphia Flyers item that includes anything relevant to the Pittsburgh Penguins.