'Chicago Stronger' Blackhawks T-Shirts Pulled By Cubby Tees After 'Boston Strong' Backlash

 @TBarrabit.barrabi@ibtimes.com
on June 14 2013 3:03 PM

A Chicago T-shirt company pulled its new Blackhawks shirt that played off of the “Boston Strong” motto, which arose after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Cubby Tees had produced a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “Chicago Stronger,” an obvious reference to “Boston Strong.” The shirt, which was originally sold for $19.95 each, was meant as a way of promoting the Blackhawks during their NHL Stanley Cup Finals' series against the Boston Bruins; however, when the shirt unexpectedly caused a social media backlash among Boston residents, Cubby Tees decided to discontinue the clothing line, Boston.com reports.

In addition to stopping the sale of its “Chicago Stronger” T-shirt series, Cubby Tees released a statement Friday in which it addressed the controversy. The company said that it never intended to “trivialize” the tragedy of the Marathon bombings, but only to mock Boston sports fans who had turned the “Boston Strong” phrase into a sports slogan.

In a statement, the company said: “[Nowhere] on the shirt’s face (or within its subtext or motivation) did we take aim at the victims or make light of the incident -- nor would we ever. The design poked fun at the embarrassing self-congratulatory branding of the tragedy, and its inappropriate adoption by SOME BOSTON FANS AS A MINIMIZING SPORTS ANTHEM, not the sad reality of that day’s mayhem."

The phrase “Boston Strong” had initially served as a rallying cry for the city of Boston after the devastating Patriots' Day bombing of the Boston Marathon. Before long, the phrase had become a standard expression at Boston-area sporting events.

In a promotional statement that accompanied the release of its “Chicago Stronger” T-shirt, Cubby Tees explained the rationale behind its use of the inflammatory slogan. “We love Boston and support/admire its people, but don’t believe that the homicidal lunacy of two disturbed locals has rendered its teams invincible,” the statement read. “The Bruins are strong, our Blackhawks are stronger.”

This isn’t the first time that another city has attempted to adopt its own version of the “Boston Strong” slogan. In May, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan brought a “Toronto Stronger” sign to the team’s first-round playoff matchup against the Bruins, prompting a negative reaction from Boston fans on various social media platforms.

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