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Calvin's offensive t-shirt in Philly

Inside Lincoln Financial Field, fans can purchase a large variety of Eagles paraphenalia. Of course, they aren’t exactly a bargain, but at least you know they’re legitimate quality products and they’re not going to be vulgar. Outside the Linc, and around the stadium complex in South Philadelphia (which also includes Citizens Bank Park, the Wachovia Center and Spectrum) you can find people selling knockoff hats and t-shirts for as little as five bucks, but both quality and decorum can be lacking.

Take the case of the “Dallas sucks” t-shirts. They’ve been around for some time, as that particular line directed at the Dallas Cowboys is quite popular around here. (And don’t think I’m not enjoying typing those two words a few times in this post, either.) They feature the rather ubiquitous image of Calvin, from the old Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, urinating on the Dallas logo.

Last year, with controversial ex-Eagle Terrell Owens signing with the Cowboys, the t-shirts were amended to read “Dallas sucks, T.O. swallows.” After Owens’ accidental-or-not overdose the message became “T.O. swallows pills.” With the rise of quarterback Tony Romo, there are now shirts that say “Dallas sucks, Romo is a homo.”

The Philadelphia Gay News reported in its Nov. 23-29 edition that a local gay attorney has complained to city officials about the “Romo is a homo” shirts. Robert Turek said he saw the shirts being sold in and around the Linc parking lot on September 27, telling PGN that he complained because the shirts “are just poisoning the minds of the younger generation…I don’t want children to be subjected to hate messages that they might feel are acceptable. It’s just training another generation of children to perpetuate hate against people who are perceived to be gay.”

He says that children might get the impression that city officials approve of the sales and endorse the message because they’re being sold in public. That may be a stretch, I think.

A police spokesperson told PGN that anyone objecting to the sale of the shirts can call 911. If the shirts are sold within the stadium complex, police will contact the city Department of Licenses and Inspections, who can confiscate the merchandise. Outside the stadium complex, L&I can only remove the shirts if the vendor doesn’t have a proper license. An Eagles spokesperson said, “We work every single game with the police and L&I to make sure nothing is sold that’s either offensive or illegal.”

Nick Taliaferro, executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, also weighed in, telling PGN: “If someone’s selling without a license, that’s something to be looked into. [T-shirt sales do not] appear to be a violation of the Fair Practices Ordinance. However, if there is an activity that is eroding our public civility, I feel an obligation to try to find a way to impress upon the entrepreneurs that they can do better and they need to.”

A Google search came up with a blog item on the Philadelphia Weekly website stating that these shirts come from a factory in Southwest Philadelphia, and that they’re also responsible for another shirt I’ve seen being sold around town at times. It shows Calvin, this time with what looks like a can in his hand, and the message “Eagles are playing like s--t…pass me another beer!” So now we know why Calvin has to pee so much – he’s an alcoholic. -- Joe Guckin