The University of Missouri team store removed their official 2015 whiteout T-shirt from its website and stores amid racial controversy.
The whiteout shirt was created for the game against Brigham Young University, but in the face of racial tensions on campus, it was quietly taken off the shelves.
Protests regarding instances of racism on the University of Missouri campus led to the resignation of President Timothy Wolfe on Monday Nov 12. The protests included a hunger strike by graduate student Jonathan Butler.
To show support for Butler, the Mizzou football team refrained from practicing until Butler’s strike ended. President Wolfe’s resignation brought a close to the protests and hunger strike, returned the football team to practice and allowed for the game against BYU to take place on Saturday Nov 14.
While the whiteout, which would consist of all Mizzou fans wearing white shirts at the game, was implemented ahead of events to show support for the team, the timing of the game made a whiteout at the University of Missouri inappropriate.
The team store has not talked to journalists and has yet to issue a statement about the removal of the whiteout apparel from their store. They may be trying to avoid further conflict, but refusing to discuss the decision could lead to more unwanted attention and controversy.
As a public relations professional, how would you recommend that the University of Missouri team store handle this situation? Do you think that a representative of the store should make a statement to the press about the removal of the shirts?