Perhaps it was inevitable that this kind of sensationalist news story would lend itself to another American icon - the T-shirt. PETA came out, guns blazing, with an anti-Vick shirt that sports a 7 in a circle with a line through it - the same art they have on their protest signs. While it's nice that the sentiment on the shirts is anti-Vick, it is somewhat ironic that PETA is collecting money on behalf of a breed that they actively call to be eliminated.
While some are questioning PETA's actions due to their anti-pit-bull stance, the worst form was demonstrated today when we received a newsletter from Busted Tees. The subject line read: "PreSale: All of Michael Vick's Dogs Go To Heaven" (No, we are not making this up.)
The content of this newsletter was this shirt, which proudly displays the name of Michael Vick's kennel:
Now, seriously: at a time when Nike and Reebok are pulling endorsements and merchandise, what kind of thought process led Busted Tees to decide to pull this stunt? And who, we wonder, would actually consider buying and wearing one of these shirts?
Perhaps Busted Tees might consider sharing their buyers with federal authorities, since clearly anyone who'd want to wear this shirt is either a criminal or someone with a criminal lack of a social conscience and any semblance of good taste.
The fact that Busted Tees is pimping a kennel name that tortured and abused animals is despicable; the fact that their marketing messaging makes fun of it is worse. But the worst thing about this ploy is, perhaps, that they're providing the world with a pro-dogfighting icon, and a way to wear it proudly. That they're profiting off the latter is the worst kind of capitalism.
Busted Tees is run by Connected Ventures. These are the same folks that bring us defunker and CollegeHumor.com. The content guy and co-founder is named Rick VanVeen, and I called him today about this shirt. Oddly, he didn't seem particularly happy to hear from me, and got off the phone as fast as possible with a "I'll pass it along."
Apparently, an office environment with a ping pong table and a bunch of twentysomethings in T-shirts looking out over Manhattan isn't a place where folks like Ricky are comfortable discussing real life tragedy.
It's a shame that the staff at Connected Ventures hasn't given a second thought to the dogs that were tortured and abused, or to the fact that the remaining Vick dogs are in custody with an unknown fate; usually, these dogs end up sitting in kennels as evidence for some portion of the trial and are then euthanized. Then again, they must have a lot on their minds; there's ping pong to be played, lip synching to record and T-shirts to sell.
Given the folks selling shirts and the messaging on them, we decided to make our own T-shirts to allow people who care about these dogs to remind the world that there are victims in the Michael Vick dogfighting case, and those victims are not Atlanta football fans. Perhaps we should send one of these to the founders of Connected Ventures, since they after all can wear T-shirts to work: