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Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

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When I arrived at the Nike unveiling on Wednesday, the publicist who checked me in at the media table said they’d temporarily run out of press kits. “Find me before you leave and I’ll have one for you,” he told me. I tracked him down as I was leaving a few hours later, and he said, “Couldn’t get any more of them, but everything you need is on this flash drive.” He handed me a plastic packet (see above), which I put in my bag.

When I got home, I pulled out the flash drive and extended its jack. To my surprise, it wasn’t a standard USB jack, and it didn’t fit any of the ports on my computer. I was in a hurry (it was already past noon, and I had promised to have an ESPN piece written by 2:30pm), and I had taken several hundred photos of my own at the unveiling, so I decided not to waste time trying to figure out the flash drive. I put it aside, wrote my piece, and that was that.

The flash drive sat on the far corner of my desk for the next two days. It wasn’t until yesterday afternoon that I looked at it again. That’s when I suddenly realized that the shape of the drive and the inclusion of an accompanying chain were supposed to evoke a very specific motif: military dog tags.

I wasn’t planning to get further bogged down in the whole Pro Combat vs. real combat issue, but the dog tags have sent me over the edge. It’s time to call this shit for what it is: vulgar. It is vulgar for Nike to equate football with armed military conflict. It is vulgar for Nike to compare football players to soldiers, especially when we have real soldiers needlessly dying in a pointless war in Afghanistan. It is vulgar for Nike to use ad slogans like “Prepare for Combat,” as if war were nothing more than a marketing campaign for a movie. It is vulgar for Nike to use the trappings of military imagery, including dog tags, to promote athleticwear. It is vulgar for Nike to invoke one military metaphor after another for a bunch of privileged athletes, most of whom will never serve in the military.

And although I have no way of knowing this for sure, I suspect few if any of the Nike designers and marketers who dreamed all of this up have ever served either. That’s pretty damn vulgar too.

I haven’t decided what to do with the flash drive. Normally I’d put it in the pile of stuff I give away in my annual reader-appreciation raffle at the end of the year, but I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable giving this to someone — it’s disgusting. Simply throwing it out doesn’t feel right either. Should I mail it back to Nike? Should I mail it to someone in the military? Should I hammer a nail through it? If you have ideas, I’m all ears.

Uni Watch News Ticker: Here’s a great close-up of the completely ridiculous patch UNC will be wearing tonight. … Love this interactive NFL schedule. Click on your favorite team to see how brutal their travel schedule will be. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Great piece about über-annoying ad decals on laptops. … New bicentennial soccer kit for Mexico. … Yesterday I showed a photo of the Blackhawks’ center-ice logo being painted; here’s a time-lapse video of same (with thanks to Jeff Wilk). … Several Utah players were wearing camo undershirts against Pitt (with thanks to Darin Nelson and Jefferson Boswell). … Drake University has come up with what might be history’s worst logo concept (with thanks to Patrick Runge). … New 85th-season logo for the Rangers. … Joseph Lee that USC has changed from Oakley visors to Nike. “The helmets just look 10x less classy than they used to,” he writes. “It’s weird how such a little thing could bother me.” I have no idea what he’s talking about, of course. … Nick Postorino spotted a Cowboys-themed Volkswagen — complete with green dot! — on the streets of Burlington, Wisconsin. Seems like an odd place for such a sighting, until you realize it’s Tony Romo’s hometown. … Man, the Blackhawks must have the most-documented center-ice logo paint job in history (credit Steve Johnston). … SF Giants fans could do a lot worse than to score a pair of these socks (thanks, Brinke). … Brandon Schwartz points out that the Buckeyes wore their usual black socks on Thursday — except for Terrelle Pryor. “He was also the only one wearing white-trimmed shoes instead of red-trimmed,” says Brandon. “The funny thing is that he matched the rest of the team during warm-ups.” … Twins wore their retro alts yesterday. “That’s a uniform they’ve only been wearing on Saturdays, and I’m curious if they were forced into wearing them because starting pitcher Matt Fox was making his major league debut on a few hours’ notice,” says Jeremy Seidling. “This is the only Twins uniform without NOBs. Is it possible they didn’t have time to get Fox’s name on a regular home uniform and were forced to wear the NNOB uniforms out of schedule?” … Georgia Tech has whipped up a logo commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1990 national championship team (as noted by Terry Duroncelet). … Yesterday I asked if USC had ever used captaincy “C”s before this season. Several readers told me the Trojans had never used the “C,” but Evan Schreiber came up with this 1999 photo of Chad Morton that suggests otherwise. … New logos, uniforms, etc. for the Fort Myers Miracle (with thanks to Rene VanPoelvoorde). … Reprinted from last night’s comments: Ohio State is wearing a Jack Tatum memorial decal, and a small item on this page indicates that the Chargers will memorialize Don Coryell and Big Hands Johnson by wearing “Air Coryell” and “79” helmet decals for their season opener.

 

197 comments to Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  • Donny | September 4, 2010 at 7:52 am |

    Re: Twins alts.

    The Twins are hosting a lot of celebrations this weekend ( http://minnesota.twi... ) in honor of the team’s 50th anniversary in Minny and the retro unis are a part of it. Having an emergency call-up pitcher making his MLB debut in them is just a coincidence.

    • Donny | September 4, 2010 at 7:54 am |

      err… make that 50th season in Minny.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:01 am |

      Indeed, and Matt Fox wore #61 (’61) for his insty-callup emergency major league debut, too.

      He pitched well, and they won.

      Ya gotta love good kharma.

      —Ricko

      • Mark in Shiga | September 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm |

        There’s little good about a number as high as 61, but I sure love those Twins throwbacks (and particularly love the fact that they’re number-only). They should wear them a lot more often.

        Is it just my imagination, or are there more players than ever this year with numbers in the 60s? Sometimes I want baseball teams to take inspiration from NCAA basketball or World Cup soccer and have the 40-man roster wear numbers 1-40, no exceptions. Since there are only 25 guys on the active roster, there’s still lots of room for variety.

        • Jim Vilk | September 4, 2010 at 9:27 pm |

          Bah. Numbering systems are so NFL. Let ’em wear what they want, as long as it’s a whole number from 0-99.

        • traxel | September 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm |

          yeah, let’em wear what they want. but make fun of ’em and call them names if they wear anything higher than 54.

  • DJ | September 4, 2010 at 7:59 am |

    The reason, I believe, the Twins wore the retros is because they honored their all-time team last night.

  • JB Early | September 4, 2010 at 8:17 am |

    As long as many jocks & their worshipers in the media hang the term “warriors” out there, military analogies & metaphors will continue. There’s no denying some similarities in the mindset, but the line is not drawn, due to a simple lack of real understanding that goes beyond hearing a word and seeing the imagery it evokes. This is because most people run on the surface, and can’t handle what lies beneath. They call it “thinking too much.” Which results in sloganeering. Like “just do it.” And on the surface, they have a valid point. Which is how they get away with it. Catch 22. . ..

  • JTH | September 4, 2010 at 8:22 am |

    My highly unrealistic suggestion: Send it back to Nike, but first embed one of the “dog tags” into the “teeth” of a mannequin dressed in Pro Combat gear and stuff the mannequin into a body bag.

    (Before someone points it out, yes I noticed that there are no notches on those “dog tags” and the story about the reason for the notches is just an urban legend anyway.)

    • traxel | September 4, 2010 at 11:37 pm |

      Brutal. You should work for Nike.

    • nosferatu | September 5, 2010 at 2:32 am |

      Your imagery is reminding me a bit of one of the great anti-Vietnam poems by Robert Bly, “Counting the Small-Boned Bodies.”

      http://www.robertbly...

  • Ace | September 4, 2010 at 8:25 am |

    The dogtags are thought provoking. I don’t see it as a slap in the faces of our fighting men and women in our military.
    Many of our Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force members are committed to their professions and see sports as a diversion to their duties. Teams wearing “camo” jerseys is a sign of respect. Teams that admit military into games for free are showing respect. The use of ‘combat”, “warrior’, and other battle terms are just descriptive words that invoke emotional responses in everyone different ways. I appreciate all that our dedicated sailors, marines, army, and airmen are doing today. God Bless them and May He watch over all of them.

  • Bernard | September 4, 2010 at 8:30 am |

    Col. (Ret.) Rock Roszak

    “‘How do you feel about them calling these ‘Pro Combat’ jerseys and using the slogan ‘prepare for combat’ when it’s just football?’

    ‘I understand the marketing aspect. It’s certainly not combat. (The corps tries) to grow our young leaders to be ready for real combat. It doesn’t offend us. We understand what the gist of the marketing is. Virginia Tech certainly understands.

    Remember when the tight end for Miami a few years ago, Kellen Winslow, referred to himself as a soldier? This is not like that. That was poorly done, but this doesn’t bother us. We know it’s hype related to sports and Virginia Tech is aligned with this. We understand it’s not combat and it doesn’t belittle combat or the bravery of our troops, but it is just football.'”

    • ScottyM | September 4, 2010 at 9:20 am |

      I disagree with the Col. This is EXACTLY like Kellen Winslow’s comments, just not as overtly “masculine.”

      This nonsense is perpetuated under the guise of a video game/superhero culture, but at its core is the association to military warriors.

      Absolutely a black mark on Nike and the schools that participate (though, I certainly understand their desire for free publicity). Terrible, terrible trend.

    • Mike | September 4, 2010 at 9:42 am |

      I’m not a veteran, so take this opinion for whatever it’s worth, but I think a 24-year old (or whatever) making an ill-advised metaphor in the heat of the moment doesn’t even begin to compare to a corporation drawing heavily on military themes in an effort to promote their merchandise. I thought the roasting Winslow took was a bit much. (Then again, he’s clearly a tool, so whatever.)

      • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 10:01 am |

        Agreed. In fact, corporate approaches like Nike’s are the likely cause (at least indirectly, and maybe quite directly) of idiotic statements like Winslow’s.

    • Ted | September 4, 2010 at 2:49 pm |

      With all due respect Col. as another retired person (over 20 years) I disagree with your statement.

      What Nike is doing does breed statements like Winslow’s and many many more that I have heard. I honestly think its time for folks to voice their displeasure with not only Nike but with other companies and with the athletes themselves.

      Showing gratitude is one thing, invoking war and combat is something different.

      Ted (CPO, USCG(ret))

  • Johnny O | September 4, 2010 at 8:36 am |

    I know this is secondary… but how does one access the information on the “dog tag” flash drive?

    If I were you, I would find that Nike Rep. who you spoke with at the “Pro Combat” unveiling and have a serious sit down talk with him. I personally do not have any ties with the military, and neither do any of my family members… but I still find it in poor taste. College athletes (pro ones too) should not be defined as “soldiers preparing for war/battle”. Leave that to the real military men/women of this country.

    • Mike | September 4, 2010 at 10:42 am |

      It’s a standard USB jack. It just doesn’t have the metal protector around the pins. You can just plug it into any USB port.

  • Joe Barrie | September 4, 2010 at 9:02 am |

    Speaking of “no sense of decency”, what do we make of a memorial patch to Jack Tatum?

    • Flip | September 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm |

      Thought the same thing, and the first thing that came to mind wasn’t good.

  • Oakville Endive | September 4, 2010 at 9:10 am |

    The interactive schedule is very cool. Going through it reminded me of something that has always bothered me. I’ve heard a lot of complaints of the mis-matching shades of the New Orleans Saints – In my opinion, the same compaint also applies to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Their helmet always seems simply a dark shade of grey, whereas often on their coach’s apparel, and on this interactive schedule – it almost looks like beige – anyone else sees this?

  • ScottyM | September 4, 2010 at 9:38 am |

    Nike has absolutely NO integrity. Employees of that organization who work on the Pro Combat nonsense are sheep.

    Yes, if you are reading this Nike employee, YOU ARE A SHEEP.

    Have some integrity. Stand up in staff meetings and call a spade a spade. This is nonsense.

    The stupid cuts of jersey that bastardize design are bad enough (thanks Reebok). But this warrior/video game mentality is not just dumb, it’s offensive, and perhaps dangerous… because it not-so-subtly conditions youth to think sports are “combat” and not “games.”

    To display a Nike Humvee on the Va Tech campus last year was terrible: 1) the country at the time was in war; and, 2) the ongoing aftermath of tragic violence on that campus.

    To continue to carry through this “brand” with promotions like the dog tags, etc., just conveys to me how completely out of touch you are with reality.

    Nike employees you are SHEEP for perpetuating this.

    Very sad, especially compared to the positive campaigns promoting activity and fitness in women (beginning with Just Do It in the mid-80s).

    Mention should go out to Under Armour, as well, for contributing to the “rivalry” with its insipid “This is our house” warrior identity, too. Methinks Nike is caught trying to one-up Under Armour and Adidas.

    You are SHEEP.

    • nosferatu | September 5, 2010 at 2:38 am |

      Or maybe on the other side of it, it conditions young athletes to equate combat with games. In no way is this promoting any healthy attitudes among young people–it is, in many ways, potentially dangerous.

  • VandyDelphia Mike | September 4, 2010 at 9:56 am |

    In the interactive NFL schedule link, cities are listed for all of the game locations EXCEPT for the Giants and Jets. Are they ashamed of playing their home contests in New Jersey?

    • Valjean | September 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm |

      I assume that would be … well, yes. ;-)

      Completely agree about the schedule — best job I’ve seen of something like this in years. Love the team color use on the map and — in a refreshing surprise — many teams (e.g., Oakland, KC, Chicago, SF) have their stadium names listed without the corporate BS attached. One small step for the “I’m still calling it” school …

  • Josh | September 4, 2010 at 10:20 am |

    OK, we get it. You don’t like Nike. Enough already. You and the rest of the grumpy old men who probably never played a contact should just go back to talking about who has the nicest baseball stirrups.

    Talk about beating a dead horse!

    If you don’t like Nike, next time don’t go to their event. Simple.

    • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 10:44 am |

      Clearly the horse isn’t dead.
      Don’t put me with your “we”.
      If you don’t like Uniwatch, next time don’t read it. Simple.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:12 am |

      So if we aren’t macho shitheads who think football players should imagine themselves “warriors” that must mean we’ve never played a contact sport?

      I wasn’t aware being a macho shithead was a requirement.

      Seems that people like Whizzer White and Alan Page (and countless others) might sort of disprove that contention, too, wouldn’t they?

      It is entirely possible to take, and give, a hit and not be a testosteronally posturing ass.

      And to somehow equate a contact sport with combat (even though actual soliders undestandably get that it’s marketing) is childish, simple-minded and unbelievably transparent as being such. Period.

      —Ricko

    • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 11:30 am |

      jcm said it best: “forget all about that macho shit…and learn how to play guitar”

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 11:50 am |

      OK, we get it. You don’t like Uni Watch. Enough already. You and the rest of the 12-year-old idiots who suck up whatever corporate America dishes out should just go back to playing your video games.

      Talk about beating a dead horse!

      If you don’t like Uni Watch, next time don’t read it.

      There, see how easy it is to play by your rules?

      For the record, I think those rules — as exemplified by your post and mimicked in mine — are silly. It’s my job to go to the Nike unveiling and say what I think about it. Do I often dislike what Nike does? Yes. That’s because they have a consistent approach to what they do, and I have a consistent point of view in how I assess that approach. But that doesn’t mean I should (or will) ignore them.

      Similarly, you’re welcome to keep reading Uni Watch and disagree with the parts that rub you wrong. But to simply try to end the discussion — or to tell someone to do so — is reductive and lazy.

      • The Brinke | September 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm |

        i agree. but…’reductive.’ gonna have to look that one up. and i went to college.

    • Inkracer | September 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm |

      As someone who has played a contact sport (I played soccer aggressively, and while it isn’t on par with the contact of football, it’s contact nonetheless) AND someone who is a member of the Armed Forces, there is a line between paying your respects and trying to piggyback off of the ideology of something.
      In Sport when you fuck up, you allow a score, and maybe lose the game/end your team’s season.
      In Combat, a mistake can end the life of you, your battle buddy, your team, your unit, etc. I personally find any comparison between the two to be rather sick.

    • JB | September 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm |

      Agreed.

  • Matt B | September 4, 2010 at 10:26 am |

    The Nike “combat” crap is stupid, embarrassing, and ham-handed, but I’m not offended by it. Football is already filled with war metaphors, it’s incredibly violent, and if you believe Robert Downey Jr’s character in Back to School, the whole enterprise is in fact a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war anyway.

    But on the larger point, I can’t decide if this latest nonsense from Nike is bad for actually promoting war or not.

    Suffice it to say, on the “Good to stupid” scale, it pegs the needle at the wrong extreme.

  • Josh | September 4, 2010 at 10:48 am |

    Some of you need to look up the definition of combat:

    To oppose vigorously; struggle against; battle; fight against.

    If you don’t think a football game is all of those things, I don’t know what to tell you. The use of the word combat isn’t exclusive to war.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:39 am |

      We could look up the definition of “gay”, too, I suppose.

      Or “spam”.

      Word’s meanings evolve. I think it’s fair to say that for most people “combat” today generally connotes actual armed conflict, generally military in nature.

      Ultimate fighters, football players and Nike excluded, apparently.

      —Ricko

      • Inkracer | September 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

        I would also say that we need to think about what Nike is trying to say with “Pro Combat” and to me it seems like Nike is almost going out of it’s way to use combat in the way that most people think about the word.

    • nosferatu | September 5, 2010 at 2:44 am |

      Not everything is literal. It’s safe to say that “combat” has a very distinct connotative meaning in our society.

      And if Nike didn’t actually invoke the war aspects of combat in this whole charade, people would likely not be so worked up about it.

  • M. Sullivan | September 4, 2010 at 10:52 am |

    Am I the only one who finds it funny that Nike is doing all this “Pro Combat” trash, while still being the supplier for the Army, Navy, and Air Force football teams?

    • The Jeff | September 4, 2010 at 11:04 am |

      All the more reason to not bother making a big deal out of it.

      War metaphors and football have gone hand in hand for decades.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:17 am |

      The metaphor for the game itself is valid, both are about struggling to penetrate the foe’s territory and physically defeat them. What seems to cross the line is applying camo and bronze stars and such.

      The metaphor was, and is, kind of fun…as long as everyone understands there is a line drawn between the two. One is real, one is analogous. The blurring of that line is, I think, the issue here. Not the line itself, and the contests on either side of it.

      —Ricko

      • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:20 am |

        Simply put, football is LIKE the military in a lot of ways.

        But it ISN’T the military.

        —Ricko

      • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:25 am |

        Woody Hayes was a propent of football as war. His hero was George Patton, as I recall.

        And how did that turn out? A crazy old fucker clotheslining a Clemson linebacker.

        So much for reality and Woody being traveling companions.

        —Ricko

  • Patrick | September 4, 2010 at 11:06 am |

    As a long time reader, I finally had to put my two cents in on this one. I have finally reached the point where I am tired atheletes and companies like Nike comparing themselves to the military. I can get over the one person that calls themselves a solider in a heated interview. I can forget about a “going into battle” quote from time to time. But this entire Pro Combat campaign had gone too far. These are athletes playing a game, not warriors. I served in the Marine Corps with real warriors. These players are more than welcome to apply at any time.

    if some people want to play the dictionary game with the use of the combat, I guess that means I’m going in combat against my lawn this afternoon.

    • The Jeff | September 4, 2010 at 11:51 am |

      Be careful, young warrior. The lawn can be a very deadly enemy if one is not properly prepared. Always be aware of your surroundings and never allow the enemy to sneak up on you.

      May you die with honor.

      • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:54 am |

        Remember to wear your “YARD WARRIOR” teeshirt, too

        Unless you have a riding lawn mower.
        Then dig out the one that says “LAWN JOCKEY”. :)

        —Ricko

  • Scott | September 4, 2010 at 11:06 am |

    Needlessly dying a pointless war? Why don’t you just spit on their graves, you fucking cunt? Here’s a hint: it is vulgar, but you can make that point and keep your politics to yourself.

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

      If you click on Scott’s name, you’ll be taken to his web site. Where he, uh, keeps his politics to himself….

      • gueman | September 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm |

        Paul he does not have a site that is viewed by thousands that are into sports unis and the like. I know I don’t come to your site to see you spout your political leanings. Yea I agree that Nike is vulgar associating football combat with actual combat. But you are just as vulgar in putting your politics in a sports uni site. And a New Yorker calling the war in Afghanistan “pointless”, going after the scum that are behind the 9/11 attacks is amazing. I can see the left attacking the war in Iraq, but not Afghanistan. A Jew that supports the Talaban and Al-Qaeda living in Brooklyn…WOW.

        • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm |

          I love it when people say, “I don’t come to your site” for this or that. What a coincidence — I didn’t come here today to listen to people who think they can tell me how to run my web site. And yet here we are.

          Afghan war made sense in ’01, but here’s a news flash: Al Qaeada isn’t there anymore.

        • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm |

          “A Jew that supports the Talaban and Al-Qaeada living in Brooklyn… Wow.”

          That is perhaps the stupidest thing I have ever read on this site. Statements like those are as Un-American as they are ignorant.

          “Men don’t die for flags, they die for politicians…”
          -Otie from the GOATS

        • Rick Massimo | September 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm |

          “A Jew that supports the Talaban and Al-Qaeada living in Brooklyn… Wow.”

          When something happens that you think is completely unbelievably illogical, do you really never ever think that maybe it’s because you don’t understand the situation as well as you think you do? Or that some of the “facts” you’re relying on aren’t actually facts?

          Does that thought process really never happen to you?

    • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm |

      By saying, “keep your politics out”, you instantly insert yours. And I would never call you the “C” word.

    • The Brinke | September 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm |

      Look.

      Take that language somewhere else.

      You’re vulgar and classless.

      Period.

  • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 11:07 am |

    ya know…

    if nike didn’t ‘couch’ this crapola with “honoring the pneumoconiosis sufferers” or inventing new fonts and saying they ‘honor the steel workers’ and shit like this…and simply came out and said:

    “we’re making new uniforms because we can”

    i think a lot of the vitriol directed at the swoosh would be lessened…

    but simply doing that wouldn’t generate nearly the buzz (or sales) of this entire marketing blitz, and we wouldn’t be talking about it 4 days after the fact (and then we’ll be talking about it after each game where one of these unis is worn)…

    many of us may disagree with everything nike stands for, and other not so … but one thing they’re very good at is … getting us to talk about nike

    i have to believe they’re reached the “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” stage

    • Thomas Clark | September 4, 2010 at 11:38 am |

      I can agree with this. I don’t have the hatred for Nike that many have (I’ve had some really good Nike products in my life), but when it becomes more about Nike than the schools, I do start to take issue.

      • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 11:47 am |

        I don’t hate Nike. Hell, I have a closet full of their shoes/cleats and gear. I just think their marketing for the past decade or so is poorly researched, presumptuous and self-indulgent to the point of being embarrassing.

        There’s solid marketing and there’s “We can do anything we want and even if it’s stupid, it isn’t…because we thought of it.”

        —Ricko

  • Drew | September 4, 2010 at 11:07 am |

    I might be the only one but i would kill to see last years pro combat jersey for tcu with this years pants.

  • Chris | September 4, 2010 at 11:09 am |

    This is a sport that emphasizes military metaphors almost to the exception of all others. George Carlin said it best: In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

    Not excusing Nike overall, but it’s not like the game isn’t already a war metaphor.

  • Thomas Clark | September 4, 2010 at 11:13 am |

    Don’t all uniforms have their origins in war? Didn’t the team uniform concept evolve out of the idea of military uniforms from centuries or millennia ago? We are debating Pro Combat as dastardly when the whole concept of a uniform is based on war.

    I will concede that the Va Tech promo was absolutely misguided 100% agree with that. The dog tags…meh…I’ll concede it. Calling it Pro Combat? I’m fine with that the primary definition (according to most places) has nothing to do with military specificity.

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 11:54 am |

      >Calling it Pro Combat? I’m fine with that the primary
      >definition (according to most places) has nothing to do
      >with military specificity.

      Where does the “Pro” come in for college athletes? Just askin’.

      In a game, you compete with sportsmanship; in armed conflict, you wage war to kill your enemy. There’s a BIG fucking difference — or at least there’s supposed to be.

      • Thomas Clark | September 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm |

        I’d venture the idea that going to a Nike school is supposed to prepare them to be Professionals as compared to non-Nike schools?

        I do understand that they are at times pushing this with marketing that evokes images of war (not combat per se but actual war) and I’m perfectly ok with the complaints on that front. However, the name “Pro Combat” on its own does not evoke those images based on typical definitions of the word. Equating combat to a militarily waged war is an artificial imposition.

        While I don’t take issue with coaches saying “It’s time to go to war” or whatever, I absolutely understand the folks against this type of talk, because war, warfare, and warrior are all 100% based on an armed military struggle and thus take no issue with those folks. Yet, imposing a secondary definition to another term to produce the same furor, I do take some umbrage with.

        On a side note, how do you feel about companies like “Warrior?” Or teams with names like Warriors or Spartans?

  • David Murphy | September 4, 2010 at 11:38 am |

    More hate for ChickfilA. Or is it Atlanta? I agree that the patch looks unprofessional. At least the game gives the nation a decent matchup, instead of having to watch a top team play Miami of Ohio or Louisianna Lafayette.

    You’ll quit complaining once you’ve eaten your first ChickfilA sandwich. I’m sure this post will also get hate. UniWatch comments have really gone downhill lately.

    • Chris | September 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm |

      Sweet mother, there’s nothing better than a ChickFilA chicken biscuit.

      • Bob A | September 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

        Amen. CFA=yum.

        Much harshness today around here, on all sides. I hate it when the place degenerates into flaming and cussing. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my long weekend filled with four football games to attend. Hope we’re back to normal tomorrow.

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm |

      Great food does not justify ugly jersey patches. They should leave the patches for the bowl games, not the opener. Bowls are played between two good teams that earned their spots. Va Tech-Boise notwithstanding, openers are usually a big team against a creampuff (see my alma mater setting themselves up for a big loss against Texas on ESPN today).

      Damn, now I want Chick-Fil-A, but the closest one is 40 miles away, in Lynchburg.

  • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm |

    Leo Tolstoy once said, “All wars are a testament to the gullibility of 18-year-old males”…or something to that effect.

    Seems to apply this whole Nike thing, too.

    —Ricko

    • diggerjohn111 | September 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm |

      @Ricko, anyone who can quote Tolstoy in 2010 deserves a shout out! Na’sdroviya! I was never a fan of Nike, and this “campaign” of their’s proves it to me more. All of those men and women who gave their lives for Canada, the US, UK etc. to protect our freedoms and lives deserve a little more reverence than a money making scheme by a corporation.

      • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm |

        @Ricko, anyone who can quote Tolstoy in 2010 deserves a shout out!

        well, they are contemporaries ;)

  • Ricardo Leonor | September 4, 2010 at 12:11 pm |

    I know we discussed this a few weeks ago…but there is no way that Columbia and UNC wear the same shade of blue!!

    Tarheels seems to be much, much darker. Yet when you look up the color definitions the terms Columbia Blue and Carolina Blue seem to be interchangeable…

  • josh | September 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm |

    Missouri will be wearing “DS” helmet decals this season in honor of former walk on QB Daniel Schatz who was killed in a bad accident a few weeks ago near St. Louis.
    http://yfrog.com/2c5...

  • Chris | September 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm |

    Almost totally agree with you Paul on the Nike crap they continually spit out. When did a home and away stop being enough for a complete uniform? But I have to call you out on the Afghanistan War. Without bringing in politics and keeping the Iraq War aside (since anyone can argue the justification to that war all day long), the War in Afghanistan is a justified war. Those thugs over there came and killed over 3,000 in NYC and hundreds at the Pentagon and in PA. To me that is a justification to go and absolutely wipe them and their abhorrent view of Islam off the face of this earth.

    • Gusto44 | September 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm |

      Agreed, Nike did go too far this time on the sports/military connection. You’re also correct on the Afghanistan situation, there’s a reason why we haven’t been attacked in nine years. Freedom isn’t free.

      • The Jeff | September 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm |

        Indeed.

        Freedom costs a buck-o-five, everyone knows that.

        • Smail | September 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm |

          win.

    • Inkracer | September 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm |

      At this point, there still is a need to be in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda may or may not still be there, but the Taliban is, and to leave Afghanistan now would mean they would get back into power, and then we are back where we started.

  • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm |

    you’ve all seen it…we’ve even referenced it today…

    but…

    this just sums it all up

    in a nutshell

  • The Jeff | September 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm |

    On a non-combat college uniform note…

    Could someone please tell these various college teams how stupid those black socks look?

  • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm |

    It’s funny how things work.
    I HATE all of the new helmet types. All of them.
    They have gotten so bad that the Riddell Revolution (the catalyst for this shit) doesn’t looks so bad. Well… it still looks really bad. But comparatively speaking?

    • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

      I’m sorry. There was another one before the Revolution. I’m not sure what it’s called. Warren Sapp wore one. It grooved from the ear hole and around the back.

      • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm |

        That’s the Adams design. It’s been around at least 20 years now.

        • StLMarty | September 4, 2010 at 2:59 pm |

          No way!?
          20!?

  • Skott | September 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm |

    Just wanted to say that the MSU helmet stripes look ridiculous. Almost as if they belong on a UFL team.

    And to possibly be the first positive post today, Hooray for the first Saturday of football season.
    G

    • traxel | September 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm |

      Yep, michigan st helmet stripes do look stupid. As do all spikey toothy tapered helmet stripes.

      Also, Drake? D plus? Really? Wow. I used to have respect.

      Yeah college fooball. Boo BCS!

  • Chris | September 4, 2010 at 12:44 pm |

    The real people with no decency are the people that criticize Nike just cause they are Nike or criticize them while letting others slide.

    Really? USC’s helmet is 10x less classy simply because one corporate logo on visors was replaced by another that just happened to be Nike? Really?

    If you have a problem with ‘Pro Combat’ then you have to have a problem with Under Armour using camo. One can’t be a horrible disgrace while the other is fine.

    If you have a problem when you see a photo and see 8 Nike swooshes on a player from Oregon, for example, then you have to have a problem when you see the same Adidas logos on a Notre Dame player.

    I think a lot of people just like to take on Nike because they are the biggest and best at what all these athletic companies are doing. It’s why people hate the Yankees and could care less at what the White Sox are doing.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 12:59 pm |

      A legitmate point: Adidas, Reebok and others often offer designs and logo creep of equal distaste, but they don’t spend nearly as much time and money telling us how wonderful, insightful, creative and supposedly concerned with history and tradition they are.

      Nike’s definitely standing forefront with that attitude this week…so they put the issue on the table themselves. You walk onstage you have to be ready for more than your supporters to notice.

      —Ricko

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm |

      Classic straw man argument. I critique Reebok and Adidas plenty when they get out of hand (and you can bet I’d be all over them if they’d pulled the dog tag stunt).

    • Skott | September 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm |

      My problem is what you pointed out in the second part.
      There are a lot of band-wagon haters that post comments/ send pictures in. It’s like teacher’s pet syndrome.
      I’m glad Paul has an opinion on everything, nobody wants to read a guy who loves everything. But you don’t have to change your own personal views to mimic his every time. Disagreement is what makes this site great.
      I promise guys, if you send in an opinion, even if it goes against his, he’ll post it.
      It seems as if it’s turning into a monochrome group where everybody LOVES baseball hosiery and northwestern stripes, and they HATE Nike and jersey piping. Now I’m sure not that many of you had those views prior to reading this blog.
      I’m just saying, if you like purple, then like purple.

      • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm |

        I understand what you’re saying. To be fair, though, it makes sense that people who share my general tastes and point of view would be heavily represented among the site’s readership. Someone who loves Nike, loves purple, and hates high-cuffed baseball pants might understandably find Uni Watch annoying and go elsewhere.

        I’m not trying to weed out such readers, mind you — everyone’s always welcome here. But nobody should be surprised when no teetotalers show up at the Oktoberfest, so to speak.

      • ab | September 4, 2010 at 2:42 pm |

        I like some purple, the Mets using black, colored baseball jerseys and ridiculous jersey piping. And yet I still read every day.

    • Inkracer | September 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm |

      I may have misread about the shield logo, but I took it more as “One tiny logo” ruining the look, whether it be Nike, Adidas, Oakley, or whoever. If I recall correctly from Paul bitching about the Adidas Logo on the Notre Dame uni’s (and he can certainly correct me if I’m wrong), the problem was the placement and how it draws your attention to the logo, instead of the school wearing the jersey.

    • Jack H. | September 4, 2010 at 2:01 pm |

      The problem is, Oregon (and other schools) have let Nike run amock with their tradition and turn their school’s uniforms into what amounts to a free sandbox and walking billboard. Even if Notre Dame were a Nike school, there’s no way they’d ever let them fuck with those gold helmets — they’d never let them get away with something like this. Nike makes some cool things. But a lot of what they make, especially how they market themselves, is shit. Sure, Rebok and Adidas and UnderArmor and whoever else do this too, but Nike does it more than anybody else. Nike’s the company that insists that their Nike brand is more important than a school or team’s brand. I think that’s what Paul’s problem is.

  • not Osama | September 4, 2010 at 12:58 pm |

    VandyDelphia Mike,
    They should be ashamed of playing in New Jersey (no disrespect to the Jersey readers) when the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Rangers and soon to be Nets all play their games within the 5 boroughs of NYC so why not the football teams!?!
    Suburban/corporate hijacking at its worst. ‘Meadowlame’, lame, lame lame!
    Bring back the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium for the football Giants and Shea/Citi for the Jets. OR, build a strictly, football Stadium within the 5 boroughs.

    • Komet17 | September 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm |

      A new football stadium in NYC won’t happen for at least 15 years: http://en.wikipedia....

  • Jamie Dupler | September 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm |

    RE: OHIO STATE

    first thing, Pryor went back to all black shoes/black socks for the second half, so he wore all black footwear for warmups, changed for the first half, then went back to all black for the second half…

    second: what do you make of Ohio State going with the ’42 jersey honoring the actual players who won a national championship then left to fight in WWII? do you have a problem with that? I think they did a good job personally…and full disclorure I have been wearing Nike/Jordan only since middle school (mid 90s) and right now I have four nike things on…but this combat and war marketing is over the top. However, I do like Ohio States 42 jersey compared to whatever the hell was last year…your thoughts? also it was said that last year was a one time thing, but now it’s a once a year type thing…

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm |

      I think if OSU wants to do that, let them do it — and then let them donate all the merch proceeds to veterans’ groups.

      But when Nike uses that as a token of “authentic” military tribute designed to justify a larger military-themed marketing campaign, it’s just bullshit.

      • Jamie Dupler | September 4, 2010 at 1:25 pm |

        at least they got the flag right with the stars always facing forward…and yah the proceeds should go to wounded vets or another military program…love the work you do especially with college unis and breaking the changes…cannot wait for Duck tracker this year! we should get a pool going…I’m going with white hats, yellow shirts, black pants, black socks and black and yellow shoes…my friend works for New Mexico football and hopefully breaks the unis pregame via twitter (@adamjmolyet) and mine (@JamieDupler)

      • Jamie Dupler | September 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm |

        also…thoughts about the Army football camo unis? one of my close friends served two tours in Iraq and he loved them…I think they are one of the coolest unis ever

        • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

          I don’t like camo on sports uniforms — it’s designed to blend in, which defeats the whole point of a distinctive sports uni.

          I do love how the Army players wear their unit patches on their jerseys, however.

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm |

      I like the concept, but I feel like they could have honored the players, even Prof. Csuri, without the use of the Bronze Star imagery. It would have looked better with just the bevel-effect stars instead of the actual shape of the medal.

      Really, that’s my problem with both Nike’s and UA’s football marketing. Saying football is LIKE war is a lot different than saying football IS war.

  • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm |

    I wonder how everyone feels about the use of virtually the same marketing tool in a different context. In this case, the dog tag shaped USB drive is to promote Starcraft II, a real-time strategy game that is about war, but obviously is not war itself. Personally, I think this context is much more appropriate than Nike’s, but I’m a young ‘un and a gamer, so I have some bias.
    http://www.amazon.co...

    • Skott | September 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm |

      I think the game context is different, because it’s aimed at a younger crowd. It’s more of a cheesy trinket to go with a game.
      The NIKE Pro Combat unveiling was a corporate event for the media. I think that was the wrong venue to use the dog tag idea. Don’t use your silly war comparison at a professional event. They could have just as easily made the USB drives the shape of helmets, made all 12, and given those out instead.

  • Joel | September 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm |

    I don’t visit this website to read Paul Lukas’ political views; I come here to read news on uniforms changes, see uniform tweaks, etc. If you think Afghanistan is so needless and useless, why don’t you ask my two nephews, both of whom enlisted several years after the Iraq war started and who are proud of what they’re doing over there.

    But I guess some people just can’t keep politics out of fun stuff, even when going (probably for free) to jacked-up uniform-unveiling press conferences.

    • Dwayne | September 4, 2010 at 1:34 pm |

      I’m not a fan of the “I’m Still Calling It The _______” foolishness or the “Meats” t-shirts or the culinary reports but I just skip over them and put up with it.

      When you read your favorite newspaper, do you read everything in it? I didn’t think so.

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 1:35 pm |

      Again with the “I don’t come here for [whatever].” Sorry, didn’t know I was producing something custom-tailored for your very specific wants and desires. I’ll, uh, get right on that.

      My thanks to your nephews for their service.

      • Joel | September 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm |

        When you respond to legitimate criticism with sarcasm, you lose readers to your site. But you obviously don’t care.

        • JB | September 6, 2010 at 10:58 pm |

          I feel the same way. I’ve visited this site in the past to see various uniform tweaks and what not, but after reading the comments on this thread, I can guarantee you that I will be looking elsewhere.

    • John Ekdahl | September 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm |

      For what it’s worth, Paul has largely kept his politics off the blog for the 4+ years it’s been up. That’s no small feat considering these past five years in politics have been rather, shall we say, “eventful”. I speak to Paul regularly, and while I *think* he probably leans closer to the opposite side of the isle as myself, I’m not willing to wager a lot of money on it. That’s how much I know about Paul’s politics. We’ve worked together for over four years. My guess is that he’s not easily pigeon-holed into some standard “group”.

      Furthermore, since some of you are throwing around word definitions, perhaps we should look at “pointless”. His comment could just as easily be taken as critique of the rules of engagement strategies or the announcement of a specific troop withdrawal date, perhaps even making it “pointless” to some extent. Afghanistan war criticism comes from both liberals and conservatives. Try not to jump to conclusions.

      • Matthew Hackethal | September 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm |

        I remember complaining one time when Paul made a political comment on the blog and I regretted it almost the moment I hot the “Submit Comment” button. We would all be better off and the political discourse in this country would take a turn for the better if we alll learned to respect each other’s opinions. We all want the same thing – what’s best for our country.

        • Joel | September 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm |

          I agree with you Matthew. I don’t like disagreeing with people, but we seem to be stuck in this kind of climate right now. I don’t think our Paul takes criticism very well, though. If he’s so bothered about the dog tag, and the Pro Combat line, DON’T GO TO THE UNVEILING NEXT YEAR (I’m sure they’ll have one). I also know that my relatives, and lots of others in the military, don’t want the “thanks” of people like Paul.

          Still, I can’t argue that our man knows about uniforms and that his site is the best of its kind.

        • Matt B | September 5, 2010 at 1:41 am |

          “If he’s so bothered about the dog tag, and the Pro Combat line, DON’T GO TO THE UNVEILING NEXT YEAR. ”

          Dude, Paul’s not attending the unveiling next year won’t prevent it from happening. And if Paul doesn’t get a first hand look to call them on their bullshit, then who else will do it?

        • JB | September 6, 2010 at 11:01 pm |

          You have a point. Read Paul’s responses to some other people’s opinions though. Doesn’t exactly seem like he cares to hear others’ opinions.

  • Dwayne | September 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm |

    Ahhhh….the first weekend of college football.

    That brings the first weekend of college football douchbaggery.

    There must be a lot of players with eye problems in football these days with the plethora of visors. I would venture 70-90% is the “look at me” factor by getting some alumni eye doctor to sign of on it.

    The bicep and knee bands, the dreadlocks, the black athletic socks, the aforementioned visors, and on and on…

    At least the NCAA outlawed the writing on the eye-black patches.

    • Jamie Dupler | September 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm |

      don’t forget the single digits running wild…all the reasons why I LOVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL…VISORED SINGLE DIGIT PREDATORS KNOCKING PEOPLE OUT love it

  • Jamie Dupler | September 4, 2010 at 2:04 pm |

    first weekend of football…we live in the greatest country in the world…”new” style unis suck…stripes rule and UConn will beat Michigan…have a drink, tell your family you love them, hang with your friends and GO BUCKEYES!!! BEAT THE U and pray for the return of high white socks to college football

  • Jack H. | September 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm |

    I think there are exactly three college teams that can get away with calling themselves “soldiers” and using the “combat” metaphor: Army, Navy and Air Force. They can do whatever the hell they want on their uniforms, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, I don’t like camo unis either, they look really stupid, but those three (and ONLY those three) can go ahead and do it. If they think it is a fitting tribute to their brothers who are fighting in real, actual combat, that’s their call.

    On the other hand, if some assclowns like Oregon fucking State or TCU start wearing camo as some kind of “tribute” to the troops, that’s just not okay.

    • Komet17 | September 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm |

      Hey, you forgot the United States Coast Guard Academy, a proud member of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Go Bears!

      http://www.uscgaspor...

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm |

      Some of the USNA cadets might take umbrage at being called soldiers, too. ;)

  • interlockingtc | September 4, 2010 at 2:23 pm |

    It was the city and the team, the colors and stripes that interested you.

    That was the shirt or jersey you wanted to wear.

    There was a tag, a label, sewn just inside the collar, the back of the neck, which described the shirt or jersey specifics (size, materials, washing instructions, etc.) and also on the label was the name of the garment manufacturer. These clothing companies had nice, distinctive logos, but you didn’t give it much thought.

    It was about wearing the shirt or jersey of your team. City or state pride. The team colors.

    Who made the shirt? You didn’t care. Why would you care? I’m promoting the team. I like the colors and stripes. I support this team, this city, this community. It’s fun.

    But who makes the shirt, the jersey?

    What?

    Who MAKES the jersey?

    Um…I don’t know?…Why?

    WHO MAKES THE JERSEY?

    Uh…let me look…(stretches the back of the collar toward the front and inside out to read the label)…Ah, it says Nike.

    What?

    It says, Nike.

    NIKE!?

    Yeah, Nike made the jersey.

    NIKE!?

    YES! NIKE!!!!

    NIKE! NIKE! NIKE! NIKE! Who’s your favorite?

    Team?

    WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE?

    Um…Nike?

    WHO!!??

    NIKE!!! Sir!

  • interlockingtc | September 4, 2010 at 2:26 pm |

    Meanwhile…those Twins throwbacks are dreamy.

    Please go to those full-time.

  • EddieAtari | September 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm |

    Excellent post, Paul!

    Everyone, Imagine if the US Army unveiled new (real) combat uniforms that were black with white-and-gold northwestern stripes on the sleeves, “US Army” in script across the chest, black combat helmets with logo’s on the side, gold stripes down the pants, and the soldiers NOB and service numbers in white tackle-twill sewn onto the back… Now wouldn’t that look silly?

    War is war, and sport it sport. Similarities exists, yes. But not in this instance… Let’s get back to basics…

  • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm |

    And hey, not only is football just like war — it’s also just like coal mining:
    http://www.alternet....

    Key lines:

    Nike’s narrator chimes in as the player does a victory dance, announcing that, like West Virginia coal miners, football players too put their lives at risk every time they step onto the field.

    It’s combat baby.

    It’s also a comparison that doesn’t sit well with Jeff Biggers, author of Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, who has witnessed first hand the economic and environmental destruction that plagues the region.

    “What?” asks Biggers, who was the first to publicly criticize Nike for its insulting ad. “Over 104,000 coal miners have died in disasters and accidents in our mines; over 10,000 coal miners still die each decade from black lung. How many football players die?”

    I think these overheated comparisons have officially gotten out of hand.

  • The Hemogoblin | September 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm |

    Oregon is in black helmets, black jerseys, gray pants.

    I’m in the Autzen Stadium press box. (Score!)

    • The Hemogoblin | September 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm |

      As a coworker said, “That’s a sexy combination.”

      • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 3:49 pm |

        did casey pick em out?

        • The Hemogoblin | September 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm |

          I believe so, couldn’t tell you for sure.

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 8:35 pm |

      Isn’t it hot in Eugene this time of year? I would hate to have to wear that much black on top of twenty pounds of pads.

  • RS Rogers | September 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm |

    I notice that none of the people whining abut Paul mentioning a political opinion today objected earlier in the week when the ticker prominently featured a conservative video in which the classic American poem “Casey at the Bat” was reworded to be about Sarah Palin striking out President Obama and in which the president of the United States as well as the majority of Americans who voted for him were called “Marxists” – that is, equated with the worst tyrants and mass-murderers in human history. Not one word of complaint about that, but dozens of complaints today. So in point of fact, the “I don’t come here for politics” crybabies don’t mind coming here for politics, they just mind when they come here and find politics they disagree with. Well, screw that. This is America. Here, the people govern – we rule ourselves. Refusing even to see or hear contrary political views is the first step on the road to serfdom. Our republic, democracy itself even, requires first and foremost that all citizens have the courage to speak their minds and the maturity to listen when others do so as well. So grow up and grow a pair and stop acting like a frightened child every time someone speaks an opinion you don’t agree with.

    As to Paul’s thoughts on the war, I disagree with him. But you know what? The point he’s making is even stronger if you disagree with him, because then the operative sentence becomes something like:

    “It is vulgar for Nike to compare football players to soldiers, especially when we have real soldiers heroically dying in a desperately important war in Afghanistan.”

    The vulgarity Paul asserts is even worse if one believes the actual war that men the same age as our pampered college football players are fighting is a noble and worthy cause. If you disagree with Paul about the war, then you should find the point he’s actually making even more persuasive!

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm |

      To be fair, Scott, it’s not “dozens of complaints” — it’s just a couple. And that’s fine.

      Frankly, I’m surprised such a simple statement has generated so much controversy, especially since most of the country feels similarly:
      http://www.washingto...

      This doesn’t validate my opinion or make it any more (or any less) correct, of course. I’m just saying that it’s not like I was espousing some bizarro position from the lunatic fringe.

      • RS Rogers | September 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm |

        Yeah, but they were kind of shouting, so a couple-three seemed like a dozen when wading through the comments! I think the important thing is that none of us has the right not to be offended, or not to be confronted with disagreeable political opinions. What’s more, someone expressing his disagreement with a particular government action, even the conduct of a war, that is not and cannot be offensive. Any American demanding that one of his fellow citizens shut up already and not express his opinions, that is necessarily and always offensive.

        There’s an old joke that applies. Back during the Cold War, an American businessman was drinking in a bar in Vienna. He starts talking with the man next to him at the bar, who turns out to be a Russian, and they become fast friends as drinking men do. Many drinks later, the talk finally turns to politics, and the American says, “You know what makes democracy superior than communism? I’m just an ordinary citizen, but I could walk into the White House right now and march right up to the president’s desk and I could say to him, ‘Mister Reagan, you’re a scoundrel and a fool!'”

        The Russian laughs. “In Soviet Union, we have the same freedom!” The American expresses his disbelief. “Is true,” the Russian says. “I am just ordinary Soviet citizen, but I too could walk into Kremlin right now and march up to party chairman’s desk and I could say to him, ‘Comrade Gorbachev, President Reagan is a scoundrel and a fool!'”

      • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 8:42 pm |

        I’ve been wondering why people think the way Paul worded his complaint meant he thought less of the troops. I think the war in Afghanistan is wholly justified, but I disagreed with the one in Iraq. However, I would never discount the sacrifice the soldiers made or have less respect for them because I didn’t like the war they were sent to fight. I know I can’t speak for him, but I’d like to think Paul would agree with that position.

  • Smail | September 4, 2010 at 4:37 pm |

    Anybody else think Notre Dame’s shoulder logos look like a complete mess? On my lowly standard def bigscreen, the gold trim blends in with the white letters, making it look like a giant blob, especially in direct sunlight, or when seen at a bit of a distance.

  • Scott | September 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm |

    My brother died in that war, you worthless piece of shit. You have no right to say that his death was pointless. Choke on it, cunt.

    • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |

      Honestly, I honor and salute your brother’s sacrifice and your family’s loss; troops are the bravest SOBs I know, but..

      It’s all about protecting the freedom to express only ideas you agree with?

      If Paul is to be the subject to verbal attacks for expressing a differing viewpoint–and suggestions that he is worthless because of that viewpoint—then someone’s kidding someone about what those troops are fighting for.

      Dissent is in our national genes. This country was born because people expressed dissatisfaction with the situation. You could look it up; there are all KINDS of books on the subject. We still kind of hold the right to disagree dearly.

      —Ricko

      • Scott | September 4, 2010 at 8:17 pm |

        He has a right to say it. I have a right to call him a cunt for having said it.

        Dissent that, fucker.

        • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm |

          Dissent that, fucker.

          not my call, but if it were…

          that’d be the last time you ever post on here

        • Ricko | September 5, 2010 at 8:55 am |

          One more time, Scott.

          This isn’t the Unites States of Everyone Who Agrees With You.

          —Ricko

        • SEK | September 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |

          I don’t know why you’re impersonating me, “Scott,” but I kindly wish you’d stop. If the host of this site can do so without too much inconvenience, I wouldn’t mind have my site de-linked from that person’s name.

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm |

      I thank your brother for his service, and I never once said his death was pointless. On the contrary, the pointlessness of the war (as I see it) makes his death all the more tragic. My condolences.

  • BurghFan | September 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm |

    The Pirates had a circular “JLB” patch on their right sleeves last night in memory of former general manager Joe L. Brown.

  • Alex Parisi | September 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm |

    Hey Paul, could you send me those dog tags (specifically, that USB jack)?

  • hugh.c.mcbride | September 4, 2010 at 5:42 pm |

    It is vulgar for Nike to equate football with armed military conflict. It is vulgar for Nike to compare football players to soldiers, especially when we have real soldiers needlessly dying in a pointless war in Afghanistan. It is vulgar for Nike to use ad slogans like “Prepare for Combat,” as if war were nothing more than a marketing campaign for a movie. It is vulgar for Nike to use the trappings of military imagery, including dog tags, to promote athleticwear. It is vulgar for Nike to invoke one military metaphor after another for a bunch of privileged athletes, most of whom will never serve in the military.

    Cuz I know yer all wondering about this, the reason *I* come to this site every freaking day is to see what’s new in the UNIverse, to see what Paul/Phil think about these developments, & to peruse the thoughts & opinions of the commentariat.

    The other reason I come to this site is to read informed, impassioned & ridiculously well written entries on a wonderfully diverse (and occasionally divergent) set of topics.

    In other words, I come here to read stuff *exactly* like this. Thanks, Paul/Phil/Eck/etc. for creating/maintaining this great site. And thanks, Paul, for the paragraph in italics @ the top of this comment.

  • Kek | September 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm |

    To be fair, haven’t dog tags been used in fashion for a long time? It’s not as if Nike created this phenomenon. Of course to equate them with the combat theme, I get that if you think it’s wrong.

    Afghanistan, pointless war? Have to disagree. Substitute Iraq and I agree with you.

    One thing is certain….I do LOVE Chick-Fil-A.

  • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 7:01 pm |

    Imagine, all this debate because of one word—“pointless”—in Paul’s comment. What a shame that some would let it affect their opinion of the entire piece.

    I don’t know that many believed the war in Afghanistan was pointless when it began, but the lack of success (in terms of rooting out Osama and his cronies) is starting to make it feel that way.

    The operation certainly may have helped prevent further terrorist attacks, but that’s just sort of containment, isn’t it. Now, after a deployment that’s lasted longer than WWII, there is no real sense of anything approaching “mission accomplished.”

    More and more it is easy to remember a flip observation some made early-on and begin to treat it as a serious question: “How hard is to find an Arab who’s pushing seven feet tall and needs to be on dialysis?”

    For those who were around for the war in Vietnam there is a distressing sense of deja vu, as the mood swings toward, “Keep the politicos (both parties) out of it; give the military what it needs to get the job done or bring them home.”

    One more thing. Don’t ever assume that questioning the leadership is showing lack of respect for the troops. Since Vietnam (I thought, anyway) we have learned to separate the two.

    —Ricko

    • nosferatu | September 5, 2010 at 3:02 am |

      Ricko–I think young people these days need to listen to “Masters of War” a few times…and remember that the opposition lies in the politics of wars, not the people serving in the wars.

  • Richard | September 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm |

    Watching games today it appears that UCLA has the only halfway decent looking UCLA stripes in football.

  • Ricko | September 4, 2010 at 7:45 pm |

    OhgodOhgodOhgod, don’t tackle me!

    http://thebubble.msn...

  • Greenie | September 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm |

    I’m watching the Northwestern/Vanderbilt game with some Vandy alums, and one got really excited when he saw that Vandy has added player names to their jerseys. I didn’t see it mentioned in Paul’s college update column, so I figured I’d proclaim it here.

    -Greenie

    • war eagle jeffrey | September 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm |

      mike greenberg, that’s you isn’t it? give us an update!

  • war eagle jeffrey | September 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm |

    Let’s start a campaign to do away with metaphor!!!

  • Chris | September 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm |

    If you do a little research the ‘Pro’ in Pro Combat comes from the whole line from Nike. Its not specific to college uniforms, the whole line is called Pro Combat…with the undershirts, jerseys etc just being part of that which just happen to be worn by colleges.

    I don’t mind college players wearing something that has ‘pro’ in it. I wear ‘tennis’ shoes all the time and I’ve never played tennis in tennis shoes.

  • war eagle jeffrey | September 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm |

    i once played a card game of strip “battle”…guess i was misguided…lol, or drunk.

  • Terry D. | September 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm |

    O.K., I just saw something weird. I was watching the BYU/Washington game, and when they cut to commercial, one of the alleged BYU supporters was wearing a BYU T-Shirt. Just before the fadeaway, he lifted his BYU shirt to reveal an Oregon shirt underneath. I don’t have a DVR in my room, so sadly, I can’t prove my claim =(

  • Flip | September 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm |

    Those TCU helmets look pretty sweet.

    • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm |

      ugh…really?

      the “scales” … the gradient … the truncated stripe…

      it’s all too much

      i will say this, tho…i get more pissed at teams who still wear an “old school” helmet with a ridiculously modern uni (arizona cardinals, i’m looking at you)…

      at least the horny toads went full on modern with the whole mess

      one other thing — and this actually works — from a distance/visibility standpoint — tcu has much better unis than the beavers…easier to read numbers and a nice dark to light ratio

      it’s when you get up close that the horridness is apparent

      • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm |

        I agree with the overall look being good. Those uniforms really do look sharp if the gray is a solid color instead of the scale pattern. Even the blood stripes add a nice twist and ground all the dark on dark stuff.

      • Flip | September 4, 2010 at 10:13 pm |

        Yeah. It’s not like TCU has a good look to begin with. For a school with a weird mascot, ya gotta have a little fun. Of all the Pro C****** uniforms last year, I thought tOSU, OU and TCU’s were the best of the bunch. But I’d never swap tOSU and OU’s for the special rollout. TCU, on the other hand, it’d be a look worth adopting. But I’m thinking this one is even better.

      • Ricko | September 5, 2010 at 9:01 am |

        If someone showed up wearing a Horned Toad Suit in the line of people trying to get on “Let’s Make a Deal”, we’d say he was goofball.

        But that notion is okay if it’s for football?

        –Ricko

  • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm |

    One strange thing in all the Pro Combat nonsense is that the actual TV commercials Nike is using to promote the gear set (not the jerseys, but the pads, gloves, etc.) are pretty goofy, with Darelle Revis, Ndamukong Suh, and Chris Johnson accosting random people at Dick’s.
    http://www.youtube.c...
    http://www.youtube.c...
    http://www.youtube.c...

    • war eagle jeffrey | September 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm |

      i find the revis ad comical. accosting random strangers in a dick’s…

      • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm |

        I like the teaser at the end of the first one where he jumps out and screams at the confused old lady. I like to imagine them making her over into a football player.

  • Kurt Allen | September 4, 2010 at 9:56 pm |

    Portland Beavers wearing retro monochrome blue in one of last ever home games…

  • JTH | September 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm |

    Scott Kaufman, welcome aboard. It’s nice to have someone with a doctorate in English to class up this haven for boorish behavior. I hope you stick around and continue to delight us with some of the wordsmithery you’ve treated us to today such as “choke on it, cunt” and “dissent that, fucker.”

    We’ll call you Mr. Acephalous. You are so eloquent. Perfection is your middle name… and whatever rhymes with eloquent.

    • John Emerson | September 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm |

      Can you read? Someone was pretending to be Scott. That wasn’t him.

      • JTH | September 7, 2010 at 10:26 am |

        Nope. I can’t read…

        TWENTY HOURS INTO THE FUTURE:

        SEK | September 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
        I don’t know why you’re impersonating me, “Scott,” but I kindly wish you’d stop. If the host of this site can do so without too much inconvenience, I wouldn’t mind have my site de-linked from that person’s name.

  • Flip | September 4, 2010 at 10:08 pm |

    Photos from Kansas State (31) and UCLA (22) Put some white socks and black shoes on the home team and it’d be a sharp look. http://www.kansascit...

    • traxel | September 5, 2010 at 12:14 am |

      Some purple love! That’s great (to me). I don’t like our new purple as much as the old. I think it was changed to look less blue on TV.

      Also, though I don’t like the Pro Combats, for some reason feel slighted that KSU isn’t one of nike’s “prefered” schools. Screw you nike. I hope we switch to St.Johns Bay.

  • Richard Stover | September 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm |

    The Red Sox had a similarly themed distasteful promotion with Dunkin Donuts:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/...

    Then, unfortunately, some MLB teams participated in a “Sports Propaganda” poster series:

    http://www.sportspro...

    What would make this stuff appealing?

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm |

      I thought that was the work of a private artist. Even if the teams licensed the posters, they’re not an official part of their brands.

      I also see a difference between the Pro Combat stuff and the Sports Propaganda, since the posters are Pop art. Even as they celebrate their subjects, they reflect the good and bad of society’s attitude toward those subjects, e.g. the sport as war archetype we’ve been discussing all day. Pro Combat is exactly what Sports Propaganda holds up in a distorted mirror.

  • war eagle jeffrey | September 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm |

    is there such a thing as “white for white’s sake”? many teams use white when it’s not in their official colors. i suppose its use began due to the need to differentiate between teams…but as we’ve seen, color on color can work too.

    white is used for shoe color, as is black. are these in teh category of white or black for their sakes?

    • jdreyfuss | September 4, 2010 at 10:40 pm |

      As far as the shoes go, in the NFL teams are required to have either black or white as the primary shoe color (I think the requirement is that 60% of the upper must be of the specified color). There probably exists a similar rule in the NCAA as well.

      I agree that an overabundance of white is as bad as an overabundance of black, but for teams that don’t have an official color of very high value, white provides a good contrast without the possibility of clashing or blending in with anything on the jersey. It doesn’t come up very often, but for example, Case Keenum of Houston got in trouble in a color-on-color game against Air Force, because their uniforms had the same color value and he’s color blind.

  • Kurt Allen | September 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm |

    Didn’t Fresno State stadium always numbered every five yard marker, that would make LSU the last one unless there’s a new NCAA rule and they have to do away with tradition too…

  • rpm | September 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm |

    boy howdy did i miss something today painting in the studio! did we break a see you next tuesday record today?

    mr. rogers~
    one person did say something about casey at the bat. to paraphrase, i believe i said that i bet we will hear crickets because the commentary was going to jibe with more sportos then it would offend, and we did hear crickets. but feel free to ask phil how offended i was about that casey at the bat garbage calling barney frank a queen, inciting fear by screaming obama’s middle name, and calling all liberals marxists.

    i think maybe we need to work on defending some freedom in this country by the looks of things here today. c’mon people are we really not better then this?

    • LI Phil | September 4, 2010 at 11:09 pm |

      tis true

      comrade marshall was extremely upset that the casey at the bat goof called barney frank a queen, showed obama smoking a doob, and generally tried to offend liberals of every stripe…because lord knows, no one ever made fun of bush’s drug use…and im sure that was the first time barney frank has ever been called a queen

      but the point is well taken — this isn’t the board for that sort of thing…i shouldn’t have posted that reader submission

      as far as what the owner of the board wants to post — im shocked people are surprised that paul has a problem with nike…more shocked, in fact, than was claude rains to find gambling taking place at rick’s cafe

      really, if you have a problem with what paul posts, there is a place where you’re welcome

      • JTH | September 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm |

        Can’t put my finger on it, but something about this banner seems so right.

      • Jack | September 6, 2010 at 9:19 am |

        LI Phil. Thanks for the Nike link. I didn’t know it existed. It is really great!

        Thanks again.

    • rpm | September 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm |

      i did give you the business, sorry phil. it wasn’t what was said in that video from an opinion angle,i don’t care if anyone likes or does not like obama’s policy, or who is poked fun at if it done in a funny way. i like that there are two side of a fence, and we are better off as a country for those two sides(mostly). and for the record, both sides deserve to get railed at times(read:all the time). it was not that obama’s policy was questioned, i could give a rip, everyone deserves to formulate their own opinion. it was how everything was treated throughout that video, it prayed on fear and hate, and perpetuated stereotypes. it was small minded to put it kindly.

      • traxel | September 5, 2010 at 12:27 am |

        Days like today cause me to start skipping the daily routine. Crickets once again would have been the appropriate reply.

        • rpm | September 5, 2010 at 12:39 am |

          i hear you ben. and this comes from my good friend who sent in the video! we don’t always have to agree to get along people.

  • Eric Ely | September 4, 2010 at 11:20 pm |

    Is anyone watching the Wisconsin/UNLV game? What’s the deal with the patch like thing on the back of UNLV #36? It seems like he’s the only one with it on his jersey.

    • Matt B | September 5, 2010 at 1:50 am |

      It’s the state flag of Nevada, the announcers just said.

  • Mike Engle | September 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm |

    Hanging Sox cap made a surprising reappearance in the latter part of the double-header at Fenway. The softball tops were slightly less surprising.

  • Jim Vilk | September 4, 2010 at 11:51 pm |

    Boy, I go away for the day and all heck breaks loose…

    On the bright side, today’s comments are still light years ahead of the replies to a yahoo news story. I can’t read that crap anymore, even from the folks whose views are close to mine.

    Anyway, enjoying UNC/LSU on TV. Good game and it looks purty, too:
    http://espn.go.com/e...

  • Joe D. | September 4, 2010 at 11:55 pm |

    What was the deal with Notre Dame’s Dayne Crist’s sleeves today? I’ve never seen a QB wear sleeves that short. I thought they looked kinda feminine, in a softball or field hockey uniform kind of way.

  • Flip | September 5, 2010 at 12:17 am |

    KU has gone Jayhawk crazy w/ its uniforms. Bird’s on the collar front and back. And the back one’s pretty big. And that Trajan font looks as funky as ever. http://www.kansascit... (Oh, it lost to North Dakota State, 6-3.)

  • Jim Vilk | September 5, 2010 at 1:28 am |

    A friend of mine posted some pictures of a JV football game in Western Maryland. Dig the Frankfort Falcons (in blue) against the Mountain Ridge Miners:
    http://www.facebook....

    And yes, I’d wear those.

  • James | September 5, 2010 at 3:09 am |

    Wow, I’m not saying this hokey advertising campaign is honoring the troops, but it is certainly not exploiting them

    It’s pretty clear that you aren’t a fan of the troops but please stop with the political hissy fits and stick to uniforms. Crap like that makes liberal a bad word

    • JTH | September 5, 2010 at 7:52 am |

      Yes, obviously the logical conclusion is that he HATES the troops. And as we’ve already found out he loves the Taliban and Al Quaeda.

      I’ll draw a similar conclusion: your toilet paper has the Bill of Rights printed on it (Amendments 1 and 3 thru 10 only, of course).

  • Steven | September 5, 2010 at 7:43 am |

    It’s strange that those who are the most outspoken in their support of the war are those who are the keenest to tell the owner of this blog what he should and shouldn’t be writing about. If there is a public “point” to the war in Afghanistan it seems what the troops are fighting for is curiously at odds with the rather distasteful behaviour of some contributors to the comments section today.

  • Steven Wojtowicz | September 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm |

    I couldn’t disagree with you more and your stance is obviously slanted by your anti-Nike stance. It’s ironic that in the same entry you also highlight a camo undershirt made by Under Armor but you don’t make any comment about how that is in bad taste. While I understand camo is used in hunting, it is traditionally used by our soldiers. Sports has been comparred to warfare since long before Nike came around.

    • Paul Lukas | September 5, 2010 at 10:03 pm |

      >your stance is obviously slanted by your anti-Nike stance.

      I don’t hate this campaign because I hate Nike; I hate Nike because of campaigns like this one. Big difference.

      As for the Utah camo undershirts you referred to, I’m on record, repeatedly, as opposing all camo on uniforms. Never liked it, never will, no matter who the manufacturer is. But there’s a big difference between (a) Utah becoming the 17 jillionth team to incorporate a bit of camo trim, and (b) Nike launching a coordinated marketing campaign involving extended military themes, including dog tag-shaped flash drives handed out to the media.

  • Jack | September 6, 2010 at 9:18 am |

    LI Phil. Thanks for the Nike link. I didn’t know it existed. It is really great!

    Thanks again.

  • BlackCoffeeandBourbon | September 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm |

    Drive a nail through it and mail it back to Nike. Their Pro Combat gear looks like a 6 year old designed it and is an embarrassment. As more time goes by I like Nike less and less.

  • Gino the Rhino | September 7, 2010 at 3:58 am |

    Well, as a french guy all I can say is that I’m really glad so many of you think the war in Iraq was useless and pointless.
    Imagine the flak my fellow countrymen and I would’ve caught for saying just that seven years ago If you guys had actually supported that war.
    Now if you excuse me I’ve got a batch of freedom fries in the oven…

    Oh and by the way, Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

  • Brady | September 7, 2010 at 9:50 am |

    so… on a lighter note… anyone happen to see the writing on the handicap sign in the background of Chad Morton’s 1999 photo with his Captains “C”?

    classic.