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Tennessee comes to the rescue of boy bullied over his T-shirt

Tennessee T-shirt
Tennessee is selling this copy of the boy’s hand-made T-shirt.
(University of Tennessee)

Last week, a fourth-grade student at a Florida elementary school supported his team during the school’s “college colors day.” He is a big fan of Tennessee, so he wore an orange T-shirt with a hand-drawn “U. of T.” on notebook paper taped to the front.

He proudly wore his shirt to lunch, but quickly came back to his room in tears. His teacher, Laura Snyder, said on Instagram, “Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED.”

End of a sad story, right? No.

The university heard about the story and did something about it. Not only did the university donate items to his whole class, but it used the kid’s design for a limited-edition T-shirt that it is selling, with proceeds going to the nonprofit Stomp Out Bullying.

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The university has sold about 18,000 shirts.

“As the Volunteers, the University of Tennessee believes in putting others before ourselves,” said Tyra Haag, director of media relations for the school. “We’re so glad we were able to support this student, put a smile on his face and bring more orange into his life. In the true spirit of UT, alumni, fans and honorary Volunteers around the world have stepped up.”

Snyder later posted a response from the boy’s mother.

“I am overwhelmed by the love I feel from this extended community and the pride I feel for my son,” the letter reads, in part. “Every comment, item sent and action taken on behalf of my son will never be forgotten and hopefully will serve as an inspiration for him throughout his life. Thank you to all of Vol nation for seeing in my son what we see in him every day.”

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Out of my way, kid

Demarcus Lawrence had some tough love for a young NFL fan Sunday afternoon, and the Dallas Cowboys defensive end isn’t about to apologize for it.

After the Cowboys’ 35-17 victory over the New York Giants, a boy spotted Lawrence outside AT&T Stadium, called out to the two-time Pro Bowler and approached him in hopes of getting an autograph on what appears to be a towel featuring the Cowboys logo.

Oddly enough, the youngster was wearing the jersey of Giants running back Saquon Barkley and had the logo of the Cowboys’ NFC East rival painted on his face. Whatever — the guy is apparently more a fan of the game than any one team.

And he’s a child.

But Lawrence wanted nothing to do with the young fellow wearing what he considers to be the wrong shade of blue. The star player strolled right past him, then yelled over his shoulder, “Get the right jersey, son!”

The whole interaction was caught on video and posted on social media.

On Tuesday morning, Lawrence took to Twitter and offered an explanation for his behavior that kind of makes sense — if you read it while squinting, scratching your head, stroking your chin and holding your mobile device upside down.

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“It’s crazy how you fans want to attack me for not signing for a kid,” Lawrence wrote. “It’s more than one kid that come to the game with Cowboys jerseys and never get to meet any player. So if I’m honest with my own kids I will never treat your kid better than mine so suck it up. #SorryNotSorry”

Surely, after many years of extensive therapy, the boy will one day thank Lawrence for the valuable life lesson.


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