Pink Jerseys Grab Spotlight

Pink Jerseys Grab Spotlight

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas left its pink jerseys in the equipment room for the second straight day.

But the color, which was reserved for defensive players caught loafing too much during practice, remained a hot topic anyway.

The jerseys, and the complaints coach Houston Nutt fielded about them from breast cancer survivors, garnered national attention Tuesday. Stories about the reaction to Arkansas' choice in practice attire for lackadaisical players appeared on the front page of Web sites like ABCnews.com, ESPN.com., and RushLimbaugh.com.

Limbaugh, a notable conservative talk show host, even mentioned the pink jerseys on his national radio program.

"It's unbelievable," said Nutt, who was surprised by the attention. "Again, the last thing on my mind is to hurt somebody's feelings about a jersey we're wearing.

"Really, it's not pink. It's a faded, faded, faded, faded, red (dye)."

The pink jerseys were used as punishment for players caught loafing six times or more by defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. Arkansas eliminated the practice when supporters of The Race for the Cure, which raises funds for breast cancer research and is associated with the color, were offended. Nutt also said pink jerseys drew complaints from gay rights advocates.

But, strangely, Nutt said Monday's outcry about the Arkansas' motivational tactic gave way to plenty of support Tuesday.

Limbaugh read the story about the jerseys on his show and encouraged offended groups to relax. One breast cancer survivor, Holly Conner, attended Tuesday's practice and applauded the Hogs' method of discouraging loafers.

"When I walk in (breast cancer) events, I proudly wear pink," Conner said. "That's what it means. But that's not to say others can't use pink for other reasons, too. We use it and many other colored ribbons to signify different things in our organizations. I just don't see the connection and why some people might not like it.

"I'm for it. Coach Nutt has helped our efforts in every way. To question this use of the color pink is wrong in my mind."

The Hogs donned nothing but their traditional red and white practice jerseys to avoid offending anyone else Tuesday. Despite the complaints, Nutt said Herring's idea was creative and believes it left a lasting impression on the defense.

Defensive end Jamaal Anderson, who wore a pink jersey last Thursday, said it definitely caught Arkansas' attention.

"I had it on the first day," Anderson said. "Nobody actually knew what a loaf was until after the first day. But the team started to catch on. It was real effective."

Gilbow Goes Down
Arkansas lost another offensive lineman Tuesday when left tackle Matt Gilbow went down with a sprained knee. The sophomore's injury left the Razorbacks with six healthy scholarship linemen to complete the workout.

First-team right guard Jonathan Luigs missed his fourth practice after sustaining a lacerated and punctured right calf that required 14 stitches. His replacement, Chase Pressley, sustained a concussion Monday and will likely miss rest of the week. Backup left guard James Johnson also has been sidelined with a foot injury.

In addition, senior Zac Tubbs is limited to non-contact drills after sustaining a broken ankle last October. Redshirt freshman tackle Cody Green is sitting out because of a back injury. And left tackle Tony Ugoh is competing in track and field.

"It's definitely getting harder," said center Kyle Roper, who also worked at guard Tuesday. "We're down to six guys. We're all just taking turns and playing in different positions. But now we know what each other is doing every time.

"I think it's going to make us better."

Extra Points
Defensive linemen Fred Bledsoe (concussion) and Michael Tate (knee) missed Tuesday's practice because of injuries. ... Arkansas will take today off and practice Thursday and Friday. The Hogs will hold their second big scrimmage of the spring in Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday.

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