In case you somehow missed it on E!, the big uni-related news yesterday was that Chad Johnson wore an “ocho cinco” nameplate during pregame warm-ups (that’s “eight five,” in case you don’t habla Español). He was reportedly told he’d be fined if he wore it during the game, so teammate Carson Palmer reached over shortly before kickoff and removed the nameplate — easy enough to do, since it was only affixed with Velcro — revealing the usual “C. Johnson” underneath.
The media, predictably, is treating this as a typical wide receiver “Look at me!” stunt, like Terrell Owens’s Sharpie or Joe Horn’s cell phone. But that’s not a good comparison, because those were essentially solo pranks, while Johnson needed help to pull this one off. Who made that nameplate for him? The fabric and typography appear to match the Bengals’ standard specs, so did Reebok make it? Did the equipment manager have it made? Did the team’s stitching vendor do it? And who put the Velcro around the edges of Johnson’s regular nameplate? Someone did some major aiding and abetting here, and I’d very much like to know who it was.
Also, if this is the NFL’s latest attempt to court the Hispanic audience, they’d better wise up regarding the proper numerical translations. Fortunately, reader Jeff Israel has provided a helpful tutorial.
Paging Messrs. Krevanchi and Mihalik: An interesting footwear query came in last night from Joaquin Jang, who quoted the following bit from Scott Ostler’s column in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle:
Jorgen Klinsmann is seen as the coach who could lead U.S. soccer out of the wilderness of mediocrity, and talks have begun. Insiders say one stumbling block is shoes. U.S. soccer is a Nike operation, and Klinsmann has strong ties to Adidas. Maybe Klinsmann could do what Darryl Dawkins did one game when he had overlapping contracts with two rival shoe companies. He wore one of each.
“Dawkins played before I began following the NBA,” says Jang, “so I’d never heard of him wearing two different shoes at the same time. Have you? Any photographic evidence of it?”
As many of you know, I’m not particularly sneaker-centric, so this was all news to me. I did some very quick photo research but the pics of Chocolate Thunder that I found all showed him wearing matched footwear. Also, it’s worth noting that several of the items in Ostler’s column are clearly meant to be jokes, and this might be one of them. Any sneaker-heads out there care to enlighten us?
Horn-Toot Dept.: The one-two punch of the Bill Buckner and Kenny Rogers stories has resulted in some nice media coverage for Uni Watch. Check out these testimonials from the Baltimore Sun, Newsday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Showing off? Nope (well, okay, maybe a little) — I just wanted you all to see that more and more people are starting to Get It™, which is good news for those of us who already do. Also, reader input and contributions are a huge part of Uni Watch — I literally couldn’t do it without you folks — so feel free to take a share of the credit for those glowing reviews.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Really love your team’s colors? Home Depot will let you paint your house with them (tip o’ the cap to the always-colorful Mike from Queens). … Paul Stastny has changed his uniform number from 62 to 26. “62 was to honor his dad (in reverse, since Peter wore 26), but now he’s just going with the direct approach,” explains John Griebel. … “Technically, these qualify as a uniform change,” says Nicole Haase. Full details here. … Why doesn’t Chris Hovan just get it over with and wear a toga already? … Good stuff you may have missed from recent Comments sections: Nice article here about college football merit decals (with thanks to Jill Horn). … Tony LaRussa appears to have been wearing some sort of stick pin just under the “StL” logo on his undershirt. … Adam Vinatieri was wearing an undershirt with striped sleeves yesterday. Anyone know the brand? … John Muir notes that Vancouver goalie Robert Luongo’s alternate mask features the team’s old Johnny Canuck logo on the side. Full details on that seldom-seen logo here.