A photo of a Northwestern football coach seen in a shirt with the legend “Cats Against The World” has irked university officials and lawyers.

The “cats” are a reference to Northwestern’s Wildcats mascot.

But Northwestern’s Wildcats football team is in the middle of a hazing scandal.

Northwestern University officials and lawyers representing those allegedly hazed by Wildcats players have criticised the coach for flaunting the mascot in apparent disregard for the scandal.

Attorney Steve Levin said, “After everything that’s happened, it’s outrageous that Northwestern University and its football program are still not taking this seriously,” an article from USA Today shared.

Derrick Gregg, Northwestern’s vice president for athletics and recreation, shared; “I am extremely disappointed that a few members of our football program staff decided to wear ‘Cats Against the World’ T-shirts.”

However, Jon Yates, vice president for global marketing and communications, was mum on whether coaches were told to stop wearing any particular jerseys.

The photo of the coach in the “Cats” shirt was posted by Bradley Locker, a student at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

Locker claimed several coaches and staff members had been seen in “Cats Against The World shirts with No 51– Pat with No. 51 – Pat Fitzgerald’s old jersey number – on them”.

Northwestern’s football head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired on July 10 as a result of the scandal. He played for the Wildcats as a linebacker in the 1990s.

The university hired a law firm to lead an inquiry after allegations of hazing. 

But the extent of hazing did not come to light till July 8 when a report was published by the Daily Northwestern, the school newspaper.

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Attorney Parker Stinar, who said he is representing more than 30 former players, commented on the shirts.

“Many of our clients have tremendous pride in playing football at Northwestern with love and respect for their former teammates,” he said. “However, that pride does not discount nor neglect the harms they suffered due to the institutional failures by Northwestern which tolerated and enabled a culture of racism, bigotry, sexualised and other forms of hazing. The shirts should read ‘Survivors vs the World’.”

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