Members of the Tufts University crew team were suspended, then reinstated for a race this weekend after they wore tank tops at a school social event that read "check out our cox." The athletes at the Boston-area school were suspended by their coach, then reinstated by the school's president, who cited free expression. From the Tufts Daily:
The tank tops in question have the phrase “check out our cox” written across the middle, a reference to the “coxswain” (pronounced coxun) in crew who sits at the front of the boat and gives instructions to the other rowers. Below the words is an image depicting four rowers in a boat and a coxswain in front of them who appears to be shouting directions. ...
After a student anonymously reported the team’s Spring Fling shirts as a bias incident to the Dean of Student Affairs Office, the rowers involved were suspended for this weekend’s New England Championships.
In lifting the suspensions, school President Tony Monaco said this in a letter to the athletes:
I know that the coaches themselves strongly support free speech, and that they acted not in a spirit of censorship but in the interests of team-building. The issues, however, have become inextricably intertwined in this case. Under the circumstances, I believe that your suspension to date, and the written apologies you have offered for breaking team rules and for any unintentional offense your tee-shirts caused, constitute sufficient consequence.
The suspensions were a major overreaction to some standard collegiate humor and double entendre, with the only complaint coming from one anonymous person. This is nothing compared to how proudly fans and students of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks wear shirts that boast “You Can’t Beat Our Cocks.”
Hat tip to Lucas Goodman.