"Chicago Stronger" T-Shirts: Company Tries to Parody "Boston Strong" Shirts For Stanley Cup


After the Boston Marathon bombings, the Boston community rallied around the phrase "Boston Strong."

It captured the resilience of the city and its people, from the runners who kept running past the finish line to donate blood at the hospital to the average civilians who gave first aid to strangers they had never met before to the firefighters and policemen who arrived swiftly on the scene and began performing their heroic duties without a thought for themselves. It declared that even though the Boston might have knocked down, it got right back up again.

In other words, "Boston Strong" is sacred. That is, except for those who want to make a pretty penny off of a national tragedy.

Boston's hockey team, the Bruins, is going to face the Chicago Blackhawks and in preparation for the match, Chicago sports merchandise firm Cubby Tees is creating a t-shirt with the slogan "Chicago Stronger."

Because equating a national tragedy that injured hundreds to a hockey game is clearly the right thing to do.

What on $arth was Cubby Tees thinking? This isn't some inane sports team slogan that creating a catchy ripoff is funny or ironic or clever. This is taking an event that victimized countless families and using it to sell your own $19.95 t-shirts. Make no mistake, none of this money was going towards charity, and furthermore, the company's own sales pitch for the t-shirt on their website tries to claim that Chicago has struggled through the same kind of events — though the only examples they provide are the Chicago Fire, cold winters, and the struggling Cubs. The only one even slightly comparable is the first, and considering it happened in 1871, let's cut a little slack for Boston, shall we? Cubby Tees closes its pitch saying that they "support/admire" Boston, but "this is about hockey." No, Cubby Tees, just like most things in life, this is actually NOT about hockey.

Needless to say, Twitter tore the campaign and the slogan apart, and the t-shirt has since been pulled off the website. But not without an apology letter from the Cubby Tees team. Sorry, did I say apology letter? I meant, non-apology rant.

Read the entire thing in its full glory (they call the protests "bullying") on their website, but it does make a few decent points. It states that some people have used the slogan "Boston Strong" as a branding slogan before them (they're right about that, they're not the first seeking to make money off it), and that their t-shirt was a parody of those people. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that was their real intention. If so, then they're horrible at the art of parody. What about that shirt points out the franchising of the slogan in an interesting and clever way? None of it. Imagine a Bruins fan, who had been affected by the bombings, seeing someone wearing "Chicago Stronger" on his way to the game. Is he going to laugh it off as a smart joke or is he going to get pretty upset? I'd say the latter.

Thank you, Cubby Tees, for having the decency to pull the t-shirts, no matter how reluctantly. Next time, a little more grace in your apology might be a good way to go.