Northwestern AD Calls Out ‘Tone Deaf’ Coaches Over Shirts Supporting Pat Fitzgerland

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Northwestern University athletic director Derrick Gragg has yet another mess on his hands after members of his football staff worse shirts in support of former coach Pat Fitzgerald on Wednesday.

The Wildcats cut tied with Fitzgerald, perhaps the school’s most notable former player, after reports of hazing within the program.

First-year defensive coordinator David Braun, who had joined the program from North Dakota State, is currently the interim.

No other staff members other than Fitzgerald were removed from their position, and many have come out in support of the former coach.

But they took that too a new level on Wednesday.

Bradley Locker, a Northwestern student and editor for SB Nation site Inside NU, tweeted a picture of staff members wearing shirts in support of Fitzgerald at practice.

Those shirts caused a firestorm. Many on Twitter called the shirts tone dean and classless.

Gragg agreed.

“I am extremely disappointed that a few members of our football program staff decided to wear ‘Cats Against the World’ t-shirts,” Gragg said in the statement. “Neither I nor the University was aware that they owned or would wear these shirts today. The shirts are inappropriate, offensive and tone deaf. Let me be crystal clear: hazing has no place at Northwestern, and we are committed to do whatever is necessary to address hazing-related issues, including thoroughly investigating any incidents or allegations of hazing or any other misconduct.”

But Braun isn’t changing anything.

“[Interim coach David Braun], he’s been preaching that we should stick together, especially during a time like this,” Northwestern wide receiver Kirtz said. “The shirts are really a reminder, allowing us to stick together.”

Braun says he doesn’t want to step in.

“It certainly isn’t my business to censor anyone’s free speech,” he said

This is coming to a head quickly. And somebody is going to have to give.