The guy carrying the ball in the photo shown above is David Pocock, captain of the Western Force, a Super Rugby team based in Perth, Australia. Notice anything unusual about him? No logo creep on his shoes! Reader Eric Bangeman explains why:
Pocock is only 23 but is arguably one of Australia’s best players and is one of the two or three best players in the world at his position (openside flanker — think a ball-hawking linebacker in football terms). He blacks out sponsors’ logos on his boots and won’t endorse products because he believes the Nikes, Adidases, and Canterburys of the world manufacture most of their products in sweatshops. What’s even cooler is that he’s started a foundation, Heroes Boots, that funds co-ops and fair trade outfits in developing countries. Ultimately, he’s hoping to have a line of fair trade boots and sportswear available. The Irish Times wrote an article about him in November, but aside from that his efforts haven’t gotten much coverage.
Good stuff. Interestingly, right after Eric told me about Pocock, reader Alex Lind sent me this photo from Monday’s Boston Marathon (click to enlarge):
The second guy from the right is Jason Hartmann, who came in fourth at the Marathon — the top American finish. Notice anything unusual about him? No logo creep on him! “He was recently dropped from his Nike sponsorship, so his racing kit is logo-free,” explains Alex. “I’m assuming he is actually covering up a logo on his singlet, since his bib is positioned higher than you would usually see. Also, it appears he removed the logos on his shoes, which are the Nike Zoom Streak 3′s.”
Obviously, Hartmann’s circumstances are different than Pocock’s (some people choose to go unbranded, others have unbrandedness thrust upon them), but it’s still good to see some top athletes going without logo creep. And it’s especially heartening to hear about a young athlete like Pocock who actually has a conscience.
This got me thinking about Ryan Moore. As you may recall, he’s the pro golfer who announced in 2009 that he’d be playing sponsor- and logo-free (full info on that here). I hadn’t heard much about him lately — no surprise, since I don’t actually follow golf — so I looked him up. Turns out his logo-free days are long gone. As you can see on his cap, he now endorses Adams golf gear. And that purple splotch on his chest is the logo for Shift4, a payment processing company that struck an ad deal with Moore last September. I don’t begrudge him the right to do what all the other golfers are doing, but at one point he was better than that. Now he’s not. Too bad.
ESPN contest reminder: I’m currently running a contest to rename and redesign the New Orleans Hornets. Details here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: As if to reinforce David Pocock’s point about sweatshop labor, a new report has listed the top 10 dying industries in America. Take a look at No. 9, and then read the graf right after the list. … The American League’s all-star BP jerseys were showcased at a press event in Kansas City yesterday (from Tyler Moody). … The Nets’ new logo and colors will be unveiled on April 30. … “I am a car salesman in Portland, Oregon,” says Shelby Rice. “I sold a car to an Adidas employee who told me we might be seeing a Trail Blazers redesign this year.” … In a slump-busting move, the entire Angels starting lineup except for pitcher C.J. Wilson went high-cuffed last night (from Jeremiah Allen). … Oooh, check out Catfish Hunter’s nickNOB, complete with quote marks! That jersey will be listed shortly by Grey Flannel Auctions. … Some old-school muscle car
colorways colors coming to NASCAR (from Adam Jackson). … Michigan football wore their throwback helmets for last weekend’s spring game. “They also wore them during practices leading up to the game,” says Chris Fox. “I know there was talk of them switching to these full-time this year but never heard a follow-up. Maybe we have an answer.” … “Guy down the street from me is apparently a big Ohio State fan,” says Jason Tirotta. “Better than a Penn State car, I guess.” … I spotted Derek Jeter fiddling with what appeared to be a clear mouthguard during last night’s Yanks/Twins game (he sort of sucked it back into his mouth a moment later). Never noticed him wearing that before, but maybe I just don’t watch enough Yankees games. … Anthony Emerson pointed me toward a good article about how the Madden 13 crew handled all the secrecy around the new Nike uniforms. Interestingly, the article mentions that the Raiders “have brought back laces to the front of their pants” this season. It’s true that the Raiders mannequin at the unveiling had lace-up pants, but my understanding from talking with Joe Skiba and other NFL equipment guys is that pants closures are a player-by-player thing. Some players like the laces, some like zippers, some prefer no closure at all (like a pair of sweatpants). So while I could be wrong, I’m not so convinced that all the Raiders will be wearing the laces this fall. … Stumbled upon this “Eat Raisin Pie” cap reproduction last night and for some reason am finding it completely adorable. … Arkansas has added a Twitter hashtag to its football field. Interesting that they chose the hashtag rather than their handle (big thanks to Ethan Faust). … Here’s a shot of former Dolphins WR Mark Clayton wearing sunglasses under his helmet (from HHH. … Groundbreaking for the 49ers new stadium featured Niners-themed hard hats (thanks Brinke). … Tim O’Malley notes that the Padres’ makeover this season includes a new logo for Petco Park. … Schutt’s new football helmet — the horribly named Vengeance model — has a facemask that looks very lacrosse-ish (from Jonathan Chin). … With Phyllis Diller celebrating her 94th birthday, this photo of her in a Dodgers uniform has been making the rounds,” says Mike Colvin. The others in photo include Annette Funicello (far left) and Nancy Sinatra (far right), although the identity of No. 28 is a mystery, at least to me. … Camo has hit the Australian rugby circuit. “Ugly — and this is my team!” laments Liam Dillon. … “I work at a medical supply company in Salt Lake City that sells power wheelchairs,” writes Tanner Welch. “A customer of ours is a huge Real Salt Lake fan and has season tickets with the club. So when it was time for him to get a new chair, Real Salt Lake stepped up and paid for a custom paint job based on the club’s home kit.” … Between the start of the MLB season, the Nike/NFL launch, the NBA advertising story, the debut of Playbook on ESPN.com, my Mom’s birthday, and a few other things, the first few weeks of April have been more than a little bit hectic. So this morning I’m hopping in the car for a quick Rhode Island getaway (looking forward to stopping in at America’s greatest hot doggery, among other stops). I’ll be back in time for Sunday’s Brooklyn Beefsteak at the Bell House, where I’ll be selling T-shirts, as usual. Looking forward to seeing some of you there. As for everyone else, I’ll see you next week. … Take a load off, Levon — RIP.