Kansas Basketball

When Local Businesses Get It Wrong

Disclaimer: These are my views as a customer, a member of the Lawrence community and especially as a sports blogger. These issues are relevant to me as a potential future sports administrator and as a member of the local social media community and therefore relevant to some of my Twitter followers.

One of the first rules for journalists is: don’t steal ideas without attributing them.

This is not only frowned upon, but it also has a few ethical issues that can even isolate you from your community.

For businesses, stealing copyrights can get you sued. And then other times, it can put you in the middle of a controversy.

Somebody at Joe College had the not-so-bright idea of creating a shirt that had this on the front:

If you’re one of the two Kansas fans that bought this shirt, shame on you.  However, this blog isn’t about the consumer, it’s about the reaction of Joe College.
On February 8th, Phog.net posted a thread about this t-shirt and pointed out the obvious racist statement of this t-shirt.  I noticed the thread when it was on its third page.
I quickly sent @Joe_College on Twitter a message with the following:

I got the following response:

That’s a great response. However, I didn’t see it until last night. Why? Because @Joe_College blocked me on Twitter following their receipt of my Tweet.

Which brings me to the first rule for local businesses on Twitter: don’t do that. And by that, I mean don’t block your potential clientele.

Also, don’t steal your t-shirt ideas from similar t-shirts aimed at different public figures that just happen to be Latino or Hispanic.

This isn’t the first time Joe College has stolen t-shirt designs and it won’t be the last.  I am Joe College’s potential clientele, as I am a student at the University of Kansas. However, they will no longer receive my business due to their isolation in social media.

8 thoughts on “When Local Businesses Get It Wrong

  • If I didn't like some of their shirts so much, I'd probably stop shopping there too. You'd think they would try to stay out of trouble after all they've dealt with…this really surprised me.

  • Nice story I too got blocked by @Joe_College, probably because I'm a Mizzou fan, and not afraid to tweet about it. I was an undergraduate and graduate student there, yet go to KU now for my Ph.D. and generally support KU (well except when they play Mizzou, but that's probably a given!). My first Kansas shirts that I bought when I got to KU came from @joe_college and I thought they had a pretty convincing argument against KU in the trademark lawsuit (can you really claim trademark rights to the name of a state?). However sometime in 2009 I got blocked by @joe_college, and since I've not bought anything from them even though it might have been fun to gift a few of their shirts for Christmas.

  • Yeah, this was kind of bunk. And a great way to alienate the liberal Lawrencians who supported them through their lawsuit with Lew. Jason Whitlock wrote an article about this actually around the time it first surfaced (a story about race including a brief mention of sports? of course he did.) It's pretty ball-less of them to block you on Twitter.

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