When New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted wearing a controversial T-shirt on Twitter, reactions from Bostonians were mixed.
The shirt portrayed an armed man in a turban being attacked by a dog near an armed soldier, and many people found it offensive. Others said it meant to support the American military and those who work with dogs in combat.
Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett Price were also divided on the shirt when they visited Boston Public Radio today.
“I’m beginning to see more and more of a Belichick that I’m not very happy about here,” Monroe said. “I think that this is very insensitive, and I think that those of us who come from a history where dogs have been used and water hoses have been used to silence people, this does not bode well at all.”
Price had a different take, instead focusing on how policing Belichick’s clothes could represent restrictions on speech.
“I’m not an advocate of the company or the shirt, but I am also not an advocate of censorship,” he said. “If this is this Navy SEAL’s representation of his time in Iraq and Afghanistan and he was one who actually worked with military dogs, if this is a representation of his experience, who are you or who are you to say that it’s bad?”
Monroe took the position that the shirt could be triggering to people who have experienced military or police control using dogs.
“If anything this perpetuates violence. This is not something to boast about,” she said. “If anything it re-injures people who’ve had an experience where dogs have been used.”
Price responded, “So nobody should paint a picture with a dog in it anymore?”
“A sense of accountability and responsibility has to come with exercising free speech,” she said. “He’s a public figure here ... It’s perpetuating violence.”
Irene Monroe is a syndicated Religion Columnist and Emmett Price is a professor and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. To hear their interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.