Rob Wellington, a Stanford alum from the class of ’04, has been selling the “Fighting Harbaughs” shirts for a couple of weeks on his website, www.fightingharbaughs.com. Wellington said that the idea for the shirts began with a group of about 10 recent Stanford alums and football fans which called themselves the Fighting Harbaughs. He explained that the current t-shirt was the latest in a series of Harbaugh-related t-shirts, such as one that played off of the Notre Dame logo.
When Wellington wore the shirt to football games, he indicated that he got a “positive response from people,” so the group decided to set up the website. They’ve sold about 60 or 70 shirts in all; of those purchases, Wellington estimated that about a third had been shipped to current Stanford students.
On campus, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) has been up in arms about the t-shirt sales. Wellington said that multiple members of the organization had emailed him:
I got a couple of emails from some folks who identified themselves as native Americans – and they found the shirts to be offensive.
The president of SAIO, Lia Abeita-Sanchez, said the following when asked about the incident:
The reaction from the Native community is much the same as it is when we are faced with any other Native American mascot issue: we are not pleased and once more it completely undermines years of combating stereotypical images.
She also indicated that her organization had cited an Act of Intolerance and that now the “Stanford Office of the General Counsel is handling the issue.”
Sally Dickson, an associate vice provost who handles issues related to the Acts of Intolerance protocol, could not be reached for comment.
Please email me (alexkatz AT stanford DOT edu) if you have other information about this situation.