It's Foolish To See Red Over Pink

FAYETTEVILLE - Don't you just get sick of everything revolving around color in these way too politically correct days and ages?

Sink the pink?

Man, this stinks.

I've got the blues, you'd better not wear that color!

That's about how stupid the scuttlebutt from the color police - some in these parts, but most in others - has been of late.

Agree with pompous and generally hypocritical Rush Limbaugh about as often as the ex-wife. But Limbaugh spent his last minutes of Tuesday's show defending the Arkansas football coaching staff and attacking those ultra-sensitive folks with nothing better to do than make big waves on a small pond about a simple motivational ploy.

As most everyone around here who keeps up at all knows, the first priority of new Razorbacks defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, an animated, 90-mph, creative sort, was to blitz the lolly-gagging (Herring prefers the term loafing) many of us have seen at practices over the years.

As he did in crafting North Carolina State into the best defensive team in the country in his one season there last year, Herring began handing out "loafs" as soon as Arkansas' spring workouts kicked off.

After practices, the multitude of loafs were computed and all defenders suffered the consequences: Running, dropping and hopping up for each discretion.

Then Herring turned up the heat. Call it loafs of threads. Herring passed out pink jerseys to defenders who garnered six loafs during the previous workout.

Several players saw the color scheme as a serious motivational ploy. Lots of fans loved the unique idea.

Well, get this (because we sure don't): Those pink jerseys (actually, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said they were really faded red ones, as if that should matter) were tucked away for Monday's practice.

They won't be sported by non-hustling Hogs anymore.


Gay rights folks and breast cancer survivors - two groups that always leap to mind in football discussions - complained.

After Monday's workout, Nutt said Arkansas' pink attire drew the ire of those groups, especially from national representatives. Not sure about the gay part of this deal, but breast cancer survivors and their supports sometimes wear pink ribbons. And Race for the Cure, a nationwide event that helps raise funds for breast cancer research, dabbles in pink as well.

It should go without saying (but if we don't we'll probably hear it from some of you): Breast cancer is a horrible thing, and folks racing for a cure is a wonderful cause.

But who in the world sits around analyzing the correlation between football practice jersey colors and cancer survivors? Or sexual orientation?

Apparently some folks with way too much time on their hands and not enough common sense on their shoulders.

Here's what Nutt said after Tuesday's practice and after national outlets picked up the outcry of those whining about the pink jerseys: "It's unbelievable. Again, the last thing on my mind is to hurt somebody's feelings about a jersey we're wearing."

Sure. But how stupid does it seem for a football coach to feel he must utter the obvious about jersey colors?

Heck, listen to Holly Conner, a breast cancer survivor who our Robbie Neiswanger was enterprising enough to notice at Tuesday's practice: "When I walk in (to breast cancer) events, I proudly wear pink. That's what it means. But that's not to say others can't use it for other reasons, too."

Conner, our type of gal, also pointed out that Nutt has been quite involved in breast cancer fund-raising (not that that should be an issue, but he probably has done more for the cause than those petty moaners) and said, "To question the use of the color pink is wrong in my mind."

Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this is that Nutt gave in to the mindless pressure. That hacked off a lot of Arkansas fans, leading to anger at those they supposed pitched this battle.

So, of course, Nutt had to continue dealing with the color pink (imagine!) Wednesday afternoon. The UA's sports information department issued one of those statements that usually is reserved for things of actual importance, this one from Nutt about pink and local organizations that have suffered the backlash of fans:

"We received several calls this week from people saying they were offended by the use of pink jerseys in practice, but none of those came from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation or the Komen Ozark Race for the Cure. As I explained earlier in the week, the use of the pink jerseys was something we did to get the players' attention and give them a little extra motivation. It was never meant to discredit anyone and that color will no longer be used.

"Since that came out, the Foundation and the Ozark Race for the Cure (has) received calls from people saying they would no longer support them because they thought someone from those offices called us. The Foundation and the Race for the Cure people were not offended by the jerseys and did not call. The people who were offended apparently are not associated in an official capacity with either one of those two great causes and the work they do.

"Several of our players have worked the race as volunteers the last few years. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what the Foundation does and for anyone who has to go through that treatment. I want to encourage everyone who was supporting them to continue to do so and to not be discouraged by a few individuals who were acting on their own."

Of course.

What's next?

The Green Panther?

Should we rename those skinny end fingers on our hands? Orangies?

Bet that's not exactly the finger many of you would like to display to some of those whining dingalings.

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