For those of you who don’t follow college football all that closely (and I don’t blame you), Wisconsin is ranked in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings heading into Championship Saturday this weekend. If the Badgers defeat Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, they will almost assuredly be guaranteed a spot in the four team playoff structure.
As such, it was unsurprising to see Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issue a proclamation on Thursday related to the big game for the Badgers. This is the kind of things that governors do as big games approach for the teams in their state: issue official “proclamations” to show the state’s support for said team but ultimately have no legal bearing or standing. It’s fun, though, and easy positive publicity for the elected official.
Walker, however, went an extra step with his “Wisconsin Badgers Wear Red Day” proclamation. As you might recall, Walker attended Marquette University in the late 1980s, although he departed before earning a degree. His time at Marquette must still linger with him, because Walker’s proclamation has a very particular wording that seems to favor Marquette fans in the state.
Most of the proclamation is “Whereas [insert fact about Badgers football and Saturday’s game here],” but we’re going to focus on the final two clauses of the proclamation.
“Whereas; all Wisconsin Badger fans are encouraged to wear red on Friday and on Saturday for the game;
Now, Therefore, I, Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, do hereby proclaim Friday, December 1, 2017 as Wisconsin Badgers Wear Red Day throughout the State of Wisconsin and I commend this observance to all of our citizens.”
“Badger fans are encouraged to wear red.” Those are Walker’s specific words. Same for the official title of the day: “Wisconsin Badgers Wear Red Day.” As loyal readers of this fine website are likely to know, there’s a lot of people in Wisconsin who aren’t Badger fans. In fact, some of those people might even say they dislike the Badgers, and it’s definitely not a surprise to find a Marquette fan who straight up hates the Badgers and refuses to identify themselves with that team and their fans.
Walker could have issued a proclamation that said “all citizens of Wisconsin are encouraged to wear red on Friday and Saturday in support and celebration of the team and their accomplishments,” and no one would have blinked. But he didn’t. He left an out for Marquette fans who want nothing more than to see another 59-0 Ohio State victory, just like we saw in 2014.
A tip o’ the cap to you, Governor Walker. Your time at the fine Jesuit institution in downtown Milwaukee has left an impact on you, and you’ve returned the favor by giving the blessing of your office to not celebrate the Badgers or even straight up ignore what the team is doing. We thank you for the consideration.