By Phil Hecken
It’s been a big past few days in the uni-verse, so much so that there are really three big stories on the front burner today. They’re all pretty bad, each in its own way. But let’s start with the two freshest.
As most of you probably know, Joe is gone now…good riddance:
And that’s not all…the really big news is that PSU is facing unprecedented penalties (although questions as to whether Penn State will face the death penalty are still being debated). We’ll find out what the NCAA has in store for PSU at a 9:00 am news conference this morning. At a minimum, it appears the University will be facing a tremendous monetary penalty, perhaps in the $30-60 million range (which sounds like a lot — and it is, but according to the last linked article, “To put the fine in perspective, Penn State’s athletic department had $116 million in revenue for the 2010-11 school year.”).
So, I guess the question as to “what will Penn State wear” on the field this coming season will be answered at that time. (For those of you who may have missed it, a week ago we ran a poll on this very subject, and the answers to the question of “The 2012 Nittany Lions will wear…” were as follows [with results] a) “No recognition for Paterno 45.35% (755 votes)”; b) There will be no 2012 Penn State football 31.11% (518 votes); c) A black armband 18.14% (302 votes); and, d) A commemorative patch for Joe Paterno 5.41% (90 votes). Looks like “a” or “b” will be likely.
Late last week, Paul wrote a fantastic article for ESPN entitled, “Should Penn State Change Its Uniforms?” That’s a highly recommended read in case you didn’t happen to see it when it came out.
Somewhat surprisingly, at least judging by yesterday’s comments, there are more than a few people who feel that JoePa is getting the raw end of the stick (no pun intended) and that he is (at least by the blame being foist upon him and now the removal of the statue) being unfairly blamed for the actions of others. Others feel that a statue removal is the least of PSU’s worries, as they may need to gird themselves for a year (or more) without their cash cow.
I think this is an issue that warrants discussion on the UW boards, whether it’s uniform-related (and tangentially at least it is) or not. And I’m sure you all will have plenty to say after the 9:00 news conference is concluded. I ask that you be civil to one another and to try to keep your comments short. My position on this from the beginning (or at least since the release of the Freeh report) has been that PSU should have voluntarily suspended its football program for a year, and offered every football playing student one of two options: the ability to transfer to another school (with NCAA blessing and without penalty) to continue to play football without needing to take a year off … or … to permit all student-athletes on the football team a full free ride for the remainder of their term as a student (that means room/board/books/incidentals/etc.) in order to complete their education.
Sadly, it appears the university has chosen to put their fate in the hands of the NCAA — and may be facing much worse than what I had thought was a fair self-penalty.
Whatever your feelings about this whole sordid affair, one thing does appear clear — the entire University cares more about its football program than anything else. It even appears (although your mileage may vary) that they’re trying to pin the whole thing on JoePa (though he obviously bears a percentage of guilt here) to let him take the fall for the school. I may be wrong about that. We may never get to the bottom of this nor find out true guilt or innocence of everyone involved. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough whether on not the football team will be wearing any uniforms this fall. And whenever they next do suit up, we will have to ponder Paul’s question as to what uniform they should wear.
Up next on the list of troubling things that happened in the past week is this, first reported in The Daily Record.com.uk, in an article entitled, “London Olympics: Lord Coe’s astonishing sponsors outburst.” Take a moment to read that.
Some key phrases in that article:
HEAVY-HANDED security chiefs will ban Olympic spectators for wearing the wrong brand of clothes, it emerged yesterday.
Games boss Sebation Coe warned anyone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt is likely to be booted out because it would upset sponsors Coca-Cola.
Asked if someone wearing a Pepsi T-shirt would be allowed in, Coe replied: “No.
“You probably wouldn’t be walking in with a Pepsi T-shirt because Coca-Cola are our sponsors and they have put millions of pounds into this project but also millions of pounds into grassroots sport.
“It is important to protect those sponsors.”
There’s more of course, but those are just two of the more ridiculous examples of how out of hand the Olympics is becoming.
In typical Lukasian fashion, Paul is the one who tipped me wise to this story — and as usual, he has encapsulated his sentiments towards this far better than I could. Here’s Paul’s take on this:
“The biggest issue, to me, isn’t the branding crackdown. It’s the endlessly repeated rationale for the branding crackdown. Official after official keeps saying, ‘[Sponsor X] paid millions of pounds, so of course we’re going to protect their interests,’ and these statements keep going unchallenged, as if it’s acceptable to put a price on boorish behavior. It’s like a Congressman saying, ‘Of course I created a regulatory loophole for so-and-so’s business. After all, he bribed me.'”
Well said, Paul. Well said.
This crap is nothing new to this Olympiad — we’ve heard disturbing reports in the lead up to the games of bakers using Olympic rings being told these displays were unauthorized and told to remove them. We’ve seen reports of police being told to put food in plastic bags to avoid “advertising” non-sponsoring brands. And even McDonald’s has exercised a heavy hand in it’s exclusive ‘right’ to sell Fries.
Enough is enough.
Last but certainly not least, Uni Watch continues the campaign to keep ads off of NBA uniforms. To refersh your memory, I draw your attention to Paul’s breaking of this story on Friday and my subsequent follow-up on Saturday. We’re urging all Uni Watch readers to contact the NBA, be it by twitter (for which we have begun a twitter campaign urging readers to tweet something like this: “@NBA — #NoUniAds”), E-mail, or even old fashioned means like the telephone or by engaging in a letter-writing campaign. Please refer back to Saturday’s post for all E-mail addresses or how to open a Twitter account.
You may notice the “logo” just to the right of this segment. That was created by my pal Tim E. O’Brien to aid in this most important fight against advertiser creep. And let’s not sugar-coat this — it is advertiser creep, not ‘sponsor’ creep (a much more benign-sounding term). Once again, Paul has put it most eloquently, much more so than I. Here’s Paul (again):
“Part of this war is the war of words and ideas, and one of those words is “sponsor.” We should not be referring to the NBA initiative as “jersey sponsorship,” nor to the advertisers as ‘sponsors.’ While these terms may not be inaccurate in the strictest Webster’s sense, the concept of sponsorship is more commonly understood to mean financial support for a needy cause.
When the local pizza shop puts up money for the local Little League team, for example, that’s sponsorship, because the Little League team genuinely needs a sponsor. Even the old TV line, ‘And now a word from our sponsor,’ was legitimate, because TV gives away its content for free. Without a sponsor, there’s no business model.
But the NBA doesn’t need this money. It just wants this money. The companies that would be paying for jersey space are not sponsors; they are advertisers. To refer to them as “jersey sponsors” implies that the jersey would not exist without them, or that they are directly subsidizing the cost of the jersey, which is false.
So let’s please avoid the terms ‘sponsor’ and ‘jersey sponsor.’ This is not sponsorship; it is just advertising, plain and simple. #NoUniAds“
And if you don’t think this possibility is very real, well, just a few months ago, even Paul had his doubts (another must-read). It lays out the position against uniform ads very well so if you are going to take the position supporting ads on NBA jersey real-estate, read this first. K? Thanks.
As far as Tim and his logo — he wanted to say a few words as well, and his suggestions for how to carry out our “#NoUniAds” campaign:
Look Stern, No Ads!
As discussed here on the Uni Watches since the midnight Thursday press release, the NBA is considering allowing 2.5″ x 2.5″ advertizements on their game uniforms. If you’re a uni watcher, you probably find this abhorrent. Paul, Phil and a bunch of us from the Uni Watch Bench Mob have come up with a campaign against this affront to American athletic aesthetics.
If you’re a twitterer, hashtag #NoUniAds to @NBA and tell them you’re against Uni Ads and you wont stand for them. If you read that last sentence and are worried you have aphasia, don’t fret, there are ways you can contact the NBA too. You can send The NBA an E-mail or send your comments directly to Uni Watch.
Update: Paul has a new article on ESPN about fan response to the uni ad proposal.
Whew — that’s a LOT of information to process on a Monday morning I know — but there was a LOT going on in the uni-verse the past few days. Foremost of course is the campaign to STOP THE NBA from putting ads on uniforms. The other stuff, is just…important.
On Saturday, I mentioned that I would be posting reader letters (or E-mails) to the NBA in today’s post — clearly it’s long enough as it is, but I will be doing so throughout the rest of the week. We’re going to be on top of this assault on the sanctity of the uniform, and we’re NOT going to stop until the NBA backs off. The frontlines start here. Do your part.
Throwing waaaaaaaaayyy back…
On Saturday night, the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals had a throwback — to 1909 in another wonderfully done Negro Leagues tribute. I didn’t see the game (sadly), but our resident Minnesota sexagenarian, Rick Pearson, did — and I asked him to file a report. He did. Here it is:
It was a Negro Leagues throwback for the Twins and Royals Saturday. The Twins wore unis from the 1909 St. Paul Gophers (which they also wore at Target Field last summer). The Royals, as we’d expect, wore another of the many Kansas City Monarchs unis. Looked pretty good. The Royals royal blue equipment, including cleats, was something of a mismatch with Monarchs’ navy, and the Twins plain white socks weren’t quite right. Second time Twins and Royals have had a throwback this year, home and home (they did Millers vs. Blues in Minnesota earlier). So a question…Has that happened before?
After I received that writeup from Ricko, reader Aaron Stilley sent along a really nice writeup he had done about the KC Royals wearing of the Monarch duds — definitely worth the look-see.
“Benchies” first appeared at U-W in 2008, and has been a Saturday & Sunday feature here for the past two years.
And now for something completely different….
Click to enlarge
Reminder: Paul is on summer break until Aug. 23. Phil Hecken is handling the weekday content and John Ekdahl is running the show on weekends; contact info for them is available here.
The Uni Watch e-mail address is being auto-forwarded to Phil, so any Ticker submissions or story ideas sent to that address will go directly to him. If you have a question or comment for Paul, go ahead and send it in, and Phil will make sure Paul receives it. We’re particularly interested in keeping up-to-date with college football uniform unveilings, so definitely keep submitting those. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker (compiled by Paul & Phil): New away kit for Man U (from Leo Thornton). … In a first, active duty military members will be able to wear their uniforms in the San Diego gay pride parade. … Levi’s + Nike = Ewwww (from Rex Henry). … Check out these super-cool, if somewhat bossy, uniform mirrors (thanks, Kirsten). … Pretty cool photo of Shea Stadium under construction (from Ben Fortney). … “Phil Esposito, of course, wore No. 7 with Boston before traded to the Rangers,” says Neil Hochman. “I seem to recall him wearing 12 when he arrived in New York, because Rod Gilbert was wearing his soon-to-be-retired 7. Espo eventually wore 77. But this photo shows him wearing 5. Carol Vadnais, who was traded with Espo from Boston, wore 5 that season, while Bill Collins wore 15 and Nick Beverly 25. Wondering if Espo grabbed Vadnais’ jersey for this photo.” … Amelie Mancini, the French artist with the cool Left Field Cards project, was recently featured in an ESPN video segment. … A New Jersey DJ named DJ Prime has made — and I think is selling — a cap that shows the old 1970s Philllies logo combined with a 45-rpm spindle (from Jeff Ash). … “A village along the route of Stage 18 of the Tour de France dressed three donkeys in ‘leader jerseys’; stage winner (yellow), points leader (green), and King of the Mountains (polka dot),” says John Muir. … Several eras of White Sox jerseys available in this shot (from Brian Mazmanian). … Also from Brian: Remember the White Sox uni design contest from 1981? Here are some submissions from that contest that we’ve never seen before. … “I was at a Red Robin, sitting underneath a giant American flag made of baseballs,” says Jake Kessler. “It’s hard to see, but the small word written just below the seams of each ball is ‘China.’ Found it fitting, considering the recent Olympics story.” … It’s not every day you can buy a baker’s dozen World League football jerseys in one auction lot (from Dan Cichalski). … St. Mary’s High School in Orchard Lake, Michigan, is getting a red football field (from Tod Hess). … The Sabres introduced Steve Ott on Thursday, but the jersey they gave him at the press conference had the old Reebok vector logo on it rather than the wordmark (from Chris Steele). … The Twins wore their navy “Minnesota” jerseys on Friday — except for Brian Dozier, who pinch-hit in the top of the 9th (from Brandon Wyatt). … Matt “Chicago Shep” Shepardson noticed more Cubs helmet hijinx: “The helmet decals, starting with Matt Garza’s, didn’t like the humidity!” … Then there’s this cap screwup: Orioles Pitcher Chris Tillman and 3rd baseman Wilson Betemit wearing different lids during Saturday’s Indians vs. Orioles game (with thanks to Stephen Lindh). … Brinke had a couple uni notes: There appears to be quite a quite an Olympic military presence near the village. Also from Brinke: If you’re going to get Oylmpic ink, shouldn’t you have some form of spell check? … Reader “Too Tall” Paul Deaver loves him some manual scoreboards — which sometimes don’t quite get it perfect (although I’m sure Ernie Els didn’t mind that one bit). … My buddy Mike Colvin, who runs the aptly-named “Big Slices of Wrong” blog, sent in this pic of a Joe Mauer NOB — literally. Ewww. Also finding this “tickerworthy” was Gerry Dincher, who sent a slightly clearer shot. Yes, that’s much better. … Several readers mentioned, but Conor McGrann was the first to provide photo evidence of Andrew McCutchen’s zebra striped socks(!). Kent Stahlman also got a shot. Too bad he couldn’t have worn those with his pants cuffed (also, the socks look like they match his necklace). … Several readers, including Ryan Bohannon (with a Facebook shot) noted the Cubs wore a Ron Santo patch on their uniforms yesterday, while Chicago Shep (thanks again) got a screen grab of the patch in action. … The Rams sure had some big NOB lettering in 1970 (from Bill Kellick). … A little tough to see, but Team USA hoopsters are wearing a “CD” patch for the deceased former coach Chuck Daly (Thanks to Paul Miles for the tip). … And last but not least — this one is wonderful: We’ve all seen the famous 1979 All Star Game photo featuring Reggie Jackson in a Mariners uniform. But…until now, we’d never seen video of Reggie in that uni! Great find posted on the Dick Allen blog, and brought to UW attention by Anthony Juliano.
And that, folks. Is a wrap! One helluva first day for my weekday run on Uni Watch. Everyone have a great day, and keep it civil. There’s lots to discuss, and we can all do it in a mature, professional manner, right. Looking ahead, I have lined up a bunch of “Olympic Correspondents,” and I’ll be getting to their submissions this week and next. If you have any kind of an article you’d like to see during the next month, or would like to work with me on something, give me a shout.
“I hope we can all agree that one positive result in Penn State is the removal of all those engraved-in-bronze Nike logos in the Paterno shrine. When the PSU alumni erect a new bronze idol to their lord and savior JoePa, as we all know they will sooner than later, though mercifully probably not on campus, here’s hoping it is at least free from logo creep.”
–R. Scott Rogers