7/31/2014

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'Feelin' Thorny?' t-shirts a thorny issue with soccer fans

'Feelin' Thorny?' t-shirts a thorny issue with soccer fans

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland's new soccer team, The Thorns, came up with a t-shirt to support the team, but the slogan caused controversy.

While KATU was working on a story about it Friday afternoon, the organization decided to discontinue the design and the shirts are no longer available for sale.

The issue was over the phrase, "Feelin' Thorny?" printed on the shirts.

The t-shirts went on sale this week. But some people created a Facebook page, calling for the t-shirts to be pulled. About 136 people "liked" the page.

One fan of the Timbers and Thorns said she didn't like how the t-shirt portrayed women.

"It's just really unfortunate," said Kasey Tonsfeldt. "Instead of lauding our players' skill and athleticism and fierceness on the field, we immediately talk about their sex appeal, and I think it sends a really unfortunate message to the many young girl fans I know The Thorns already have."

But 10 random people interviewed outside Jeld-Wen field – half women, half men – said they liked it.

Tonsfeldt said she's glad the team pulled the shirts but was still upset that the organization didn't apologize or seem to recognize the reason she and others were upset.

"We feel we responded to our fans who had issues," said the team's chief operating officer Mike Golub, emphasizing it was only a small group who called with concern. He also didn't think the t-shirts were wrong.

But he said any fans' concerns are too many.

"Even a small group of people felt strongly about it, we felt as a responsible organization that we should listen to them. And we did," he said. "We thought it was a fun, whimsical way to have our fans show their support for The Thorns."

Golub said the t-shirts did sell well while they were available.

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