By Phil Hecken
I get a pretty decent amount of uniform concepts (logo concepts, cap concepts, helmet concepts, etc.) sent my way (THANK YOU and keep ’em coming!), and occasionally the Uni Watch faithful send their concepts on to Paul, who then forwards them to me. Sometimes he’ll make a comment or two with the submission, but most times it’s simply a courtesy forward (thank you Paul). But the one you’re about to see today carried the message, “Jesus, you could do a whole weekend entry on this guy’s proposed updates the Utes’ helmet… Or you could ignore the whole thing. Your call.”
I don’t usually ignore any submissions (good, bad or indifferent) and I try to show every concept sent to me or forwarded to me by Paul. And there was no way in hell I was going to let this one be missed.
The concepts you’re about to see come from reader **CORRECTION**
Ben Hatfield Justin Dahl (at first I thought they were from frequent submitter Brent Hatfield). Most concepters send me an idea or three, complete with approximately 50 words per submission. Ben is a man of very few words — but some fairly impressive ideas — well, sort of.
**I was contacted by Justin a short while ago, who indicated that it was he, and not Ben, who designed the helmets seen here today. I’ll have a follow-up on this tomorrow.
You see, when I saw the helmet pictured in the today’s splash, I immediately thought of the ‘famous’ Chiefs helmet concept by Todd Asselin (featured in this great story researched and written by Paul):
Now, I have no idea whether Ben knows (knew) of this helmet when he concepted what is below. I can only say that there are similarities.
If you’ve been reading Uni Watch over the past several months, you know that both Paul and I have made our views on teams using Native American imagery quite plain — and I do not plan on rehashing any of those arguments today. Paul’s position (and mine is still evolving on this) is that teams that use native iconography with the blessing of the tribe should be permitted to do so, so long as there is some kind of recompense for the tribe. So for the moment, lets assume this is my position as well — the Utah Utes, the helmets depicted here today, are one of four NCAA teams who have received clearance to continue their use of both name and imagery, since they are doing so with permission from their respective tribes*. Those four are the Florida State University Seminoles, the Central Michigan Chippewas, the Illinois Illini (or “Fighting Illini,” and used Chief Illiniwek, portrayed by a live actor) and the Utah Utes. A good (if biased) article on the NCAA regs and the controversy can be found here.
* According to Wikipedia,
“For more than two decades, Chief Illiniwek has been the center of a controversy. At the root of the controversy is the view of several American Indian groups, as well as other people, both of color, and white, that the symbol/mascot was a misappropriation of indigenous cultural figures and rituals and that it perpetuated stereotypes about American Indian peoples. As a result of this controversy, the NCAA termed Chief Illiniwek a ‘hostile or abusive’ mascot and image in August 2005 and banned the university from hosting postseason activities as long as it continued to use the mascot and symbol.”
“The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma are the closest living descendants of the Illiniwek Confederacy, having been relocated to Oklahoma in the 19th century. The position of the tribal leadership has evolved over the years. In a television interview with WICD-TV in 1995, Don Giles, then Chief of the Peoria Tribe, said, ‘To say that we are anything but proud to have these portrayals would be completely wrong. We are proud. We’re proud that the University of Illinois, the flagship university of the state, a seat of learning, is drawing on that background of our having been there. And what more honor could they pay us?’ Supporting Chief Giles was another tribal elder, Ron Froman, who stated that the protesters ‘don’t speak for all Native Americans, and certainly not us’.”
Why is “Illini” OK?:
“On November 11, 2005, the NCAA, stating that it had ‘found no new information relative to the mascot, known as “Chief Illiniwek” or the logo mark used by some athletics teams that depicts an American Indian in feathered headdress,’ upheld the ban on the University of Illinois. However, it did allow the continued use of the nicknames ‘Illini’ and ‘Fighting Illini’ by the University because they are based on the name of the state and not of American Indian descent. The university appealed the decision again on January 30, 2006, mere days before the deadline. While the NCAA Executive Committee granted an extension to April 28, the committee’s next meeting, to other schools affected by the ban, the University of Illinois requested a longer stay until May 15, the end of the current semester. The Executive Committee ignored the request for a longer stay and denied the university’s second appeal while indicating that no further appeals would be entertained. … On February 16, 2007, Lawrence Eppley, chair of the board of trustees issued a unilateral ruling retiring Chief Illiniwek.”
The full Wikipedia entry on that is here
Whew. So, “Illini” is OK because the ‘offensive’ part has been removed, and there is no actual “Illini” tribe after whom the University is basing their name, and the Peoria tribe (the closest living descendants of the Illiniwek confederacy) are ok with it.
So, what’s a Ute, then?
According to the Utah Utes website, “A Ute is member of the Indian tribe believed to have originally settled Utah. Two of the more common definitions of Ute are ‘top of the mountains’ and ‘people of the mountains.’ Other references have Ute defined as ‘land of the sun.’ The Utes refer to themselves as Noochew, meaning ‘the People’.” The school nickname was actually the “Redskins” until 1972, when it was changed (well ahead of the curve) and they use the name with the permission of Ute Tribal Council.
All of that was to give some history into the background of the four current universities who are permitted to use ‘native’ nicknames.
So, I’m cool with what follows, dig?
As I mentioned above, Ben is a man of few words, so I’ll just post his concepts with the little bit of commentary he provided. Assuming he didn’t “steal” the idea for the native headdress helmets from the design of Todd Asselin, and assuming the Ute Tribal Council would be accepting of them — I gotta say, they’re pretty cool. (Click on each image to enlarge) Here goes:
Here is Currently what Utah uses:
Here’s what an update to the Drum and feather would look like:
I would love to see them do something like this:
Or the earlier version:
Here are some options with a single block U:
They could also bring back the interlocking “U’s”:
Here are some others:
Well readers? What say you?
But he still hasn’t explained what exactly he was doing at the Pedicure Palace…
Click to enlarge
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
You folks heard the call for concepts, and you’ve responded with vigor — three offerings today.
And so, lets begin:
First up is Ryan Crisman who has some Astros concepts that missed Paul’s contest:
Even though i missed the contest this is my concept for an astros re design. Since the astros have such a rich uni, and logo history i tried to bring that into my design with the color choice from the 70’s into the 90’s as well as using the shooting star from the 71 to 74 “astros” wordmark. I choose to stick with the current wordmark because i feel that with the fresh colors it could really turn into a classic. The cream color on the home jersey as well as the piping also gives you that classic feel as well.
Next up is Adam McClary, Steeler fan:
Hello Phil –
I’m a Steeler fan who unapologetically believes that the Steelers wear one of the finest uniforms in all of sport. Having said that, I fiddled a little with their uniforms and felt like some modest touch-ups could improve them without taking away anything that has made them so great.
-A change back to classic block numbers
-Adaptation of sock stripes that match the stripes on the jersey sleeve
-The helmet logo would obviously remain the same but an altered Steeler logo containing the uni number of the wearer to be placed on the hip (just the right or both sides)
Note: I think losing the TV numbers would be a good idea but I left helmet numbers off as well to see how it’d look.
And we conclude today with Gregory Koch, who has a set of tweaks for the UConn teams:
Using the Ripon thing that was linked today, I made concepts for UConn in various sports. I have attached them.
I’m not a big fan of red on UConn jerseys, so I eliminated all of it. I remember the fiasco where they gave these t-shirts to the student section at the Notre Dame game. Some swore they looked Orange – the dreaded Syracuse colors, but I say they’re red, which is what they were supposed to be. Either way, they’re terrible. Red should not be on our jerseys, it looks terrible.
The “blackout” football jersey would be worn for one nationally televised night game a year. This year that’s Pitt. If we have no nationally televised night games, but have a nationally televised day game, I would do a “BlueOut” instead, and combine the Blue home jersey with the blue away pants – I didn’t make that special. (of course both of these would be accompanied by encouraging fans to wear that color). If we have no nationally televised games at all (unlikely), we would have no special jersey that year.
I made a number of alternates in baseball, including a cream one, which I suppose could be worn home or away if the opponent was wearing dark (or in conference foe Seton Hall’s case, the blue tequilla sunrise) There’s also the blue alt, which could be worn home or away. The “SAS Aggies” throwback is a reference to the school’s earliest years (and the early days of UConn baseball) where we were Storrs Agricultural School and our nickname was the Aggies. We would wear them for the home game closest to April 21, the day UConn was founded back in 1881. I’d embellish them a little for special anniversaries like 2016 (225th anniversary) or 2031 (250th anniversary), but we’ve got a while to go so I didn’t do them. Perhaps for those games, wear jerseys designed like the original SAS ones, although I’d have to find a picture. I’ve seen one before in a book, so I know they (the pictures) exist, but I don’t have access to it at the moment. Actually, I just found one. It’s attached as well. I’ll send it along to Paul as well in case he’s interested in putting it up on the site by itself.
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
No Mo Joe I Feel Freeh…
Continuing on the college football theme a bit, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have no doubt heard that the “Freeh Report” has been released. What is the Freeh report (for those of you not paying attention)? Well, it is a a 267-page report by former FBI director Louis Freeh. (SI has a pretty good story on that here.) In a nutshell, Louis Freeh (and his law firm) were hired by Penn State University to conduct an investigation into PSU, JoePa, Jerry Sundusky, and all the pretty nasty things that have been transpiring there for the past several decades. It’s pretty damning, and Joe Paterno (may he rest in peace) was treated pretty harshly.
Now, I don’t want to get into the ins and outs of the report or its ramifications, since they’re not particularly uni-related, but it’s still a big enough story that it should send shockwaves throughout the entire college football watching world. We haven’t heard of any NCAA sanctions or actions (yet) or any possible penalties PSU would have to face (although a clever reader, who goes by the psudonym “Feit Can Write” suggested that PSU football players should have a “Prevent Child Abuse” ribbon affixed to their otherwise barren helmets) like so:
You can read Feit’s thoughts on a punishment here.
Also suggested in yesterday was a comment by “Walter” to conduct a poll (and as of the writing of this passage at midnight, eastern, my pollster — James T. Huening — hadn’t responded to my request to produce such a poll. Maybe tomorrow.) which would consist of the following question and four choices for answers:
Question: “(What will) The 2012 Nittany Lions will wear?”
A. A commemorative patch for Coach Paterno.
B. A black armband.
C. No recognition for Paterno.
D. There will be no 2012 Penn State football.
A few readers, including myself, responded (I went with “D”), and all responses were either “C” or “D”. I’d like to know what you guys think — if you want to answer in the comments, feel free — if you just want to wait for a poll (which should be up either later today or tomorrow), you can do that too.
My feelings on the matter are thus (reprinted from yesterday’s comments):
“I know what I’m about to say would be considered heresy in many parts of this country, but would it really be that bad if there were no football at PSU for a single season?
“Living in the northeast, I cannot begin to fathom just how much football means to people in other parts of the country, so I won’t pretend to understand just how important it is — but losing a single season at PSU just might be the right tonic in this situation — as much as that would hurt (directly) a few hundred people and (indirectly) thousands, if not millions.
“Quick aside: a co-worker had a son who went to PSU — she knows NOTHING about professional or college sports — NOTHING — but she went to a game at Happy Valley…for two weeks she couldn’t shut up about how much fun the experience was, how great it was being in a stadium with 107,000 people, all with one shared goal (presumably) — to see PSU win.
“That alone shows me the power college football has over many, many people, which is precisely why losing one single season might just be the best thing that could happen, not just to PSU, but to the entire college football nation.
“Remember how bad the 1994 baseball strike was, and how we’ll never forget it — it took that single stupid event to prove to A LOT of people that baseball wasn’t the single most important thing in the world, and you know what? The earth didn’t spin off its axis (and the sun still rose in the east), and we moved on (as far as how Selig and the powers-that-be handled things afterwards, we won’t go there) — but baseball is back and while it’s an ugly stain on our collective, it did prove that life goes on.
“Life (and football) will go on at PSU … but a one year, self-imposed year without football would do much for the collective and send a message that kids lives are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than football.”
Some readers defended the current student body and football players, saying they would be harmed by any sanctions (and were essentially not at fault), as would thousands of other supporters, fans and businesses in State College
Station. Others felt PSU should lose football if not indefinitely, then for a period of 5 years. Obviously emotions and opinions on this run hot.
I’d like to see the one year suspension of football at the school — and any and all students on the team should be given one of two options — be free to transfer to any other college or university that will take them, and have their eligibility be at those schools — OR — give every student on the football team a full and free ride (room/board/tuition/books/meals, etc.) for the rest of the time it takes them to complete their PSU degree (because, after all, that’s why they’re going to PSU, isn’t it? to get a degree?).
But I understand I may not fully grasp the situation (or you may fully disagree with me). So readers, I’d love to have your thoughts. Fire away.
UPDATE: Today’s New York Times has some more information on JoePa & PSU.
Yeah, it’s not good.
Just a reminder for all you guys who love baseball — MLB’s semi-annual free preview of Extra Innings is now underway, so be sure to check out all the games — one of these days I just may buy the package…but for now, I’ll settle for the free preview. Free is good.
Also, tomorrow will be my last weekend post for a while — I’ll be taking over the weekdays for Paul (beginning on July 23), and while I’m not as busy as last year, I’m still pretty busy — so I’m going to again ask the great readership if you would like to work with me on an article, drop me a line and lets discuss. I have a bunch of Olympic Correspondents lined up, and I expect to welcome back Morris Levin for another batch of “Fridays with Morris” segments, but there is still a lot of uni-space still to fill. Even if you don’t want to actually work on a column, if you just have an idea or suggestion to I can do, please let me know. OK? OK! You guys are all aces!
Finally, remember the fake London 2012 logo Paul used for yesterday’s splash (it spells “SHIT”)? Well, Uni Watch is not the only medium using it (only this one probably wasn’t done intentionally). Funny shit that.
And that will do it for today. Catch you fine folks tomorrow.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Penn State football: too big to fail.”