New ESPN column today — look here.
Now the floodgates have opened. All sorts of people are telling me all sorts of things about Gatorade and other beverage sponsors. Here’s a sampling, beginning with a note from reader Blain Fowler:
I got an e-mail from a friend who does PR work for the Brewers. I thought you’d get a kick out of it: “I’m sitting in the press conference room at AT&T Park and I just talked to the woman who has the job of making sure there is Gatorade
on the table. That’s all she does — make there is enough
Gatorade for the table. Amazing.”
Next up is reader Andrew Hess:
From 2006-2009 I was the Golden Eagle mascot at Marquette University. At the 2009 NCAA Tournament, I was not allowed to drink from my Marquette water bottle. I had to pour the water into a VitaminWater cup and drink from that. (Their parent company, Coke, was a Corporate Champion Sponsor for the tournament.) It is very hard for a mascot to drink out of a cup with the head on.
Our next contributor is Shawn Sweeney:
In my time as a collegiate sports information director, I worked at a lot of NCAA basketball tournaments, and the NCAA is even tougher with their sponsor policies. Much like Raúl Ibañez having to put his water in a Gatorade cup, the NCAA insists that everything goes into their cup of choice. The last couple of years it has been Dasani and VitaminWater.
The big difference compared to MLB is that absolutely all drinks that are on the floor have to go in the Dasani cups — including the cups for everyone on press row. The host site’s media relations staff is usually made up of volunteer SIDs, and some of them draw the job, along with security, of stopping everyone as they enter the court on their way to their press row seats to make sure their drinks are in the appropriate cups.
Last year, when LIU Brooklyn was playing in the second round, our coach brought his own water bottle to the bench and was drinking out of it visibly on TV. At halftime, our team manager was chewed out by an NCAA rep and had to go find a Dasani water bottle for the coach to use. I remember seeing guidelines that something like this was a fineable offense, but no fine was levied, to my knowledge.
The NCAA is ridiculously strict with this stuff. It’s very silly.
Shawn’s report was confirmed and augmented by the following note, from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous:
I can attest that the cup issue is even worse at NCAA tournaments than it is during the MLB postseason. … I have seen coaches set (not pour — set) an entire can of Diet Coke inside the “official” cup so as not to draw the NCAA’s ire. … The NCAA has volunteers at each event whose sole job is to monitor press row and distribute “official” cups whenever someone is spotted using “unofficial” containers. It’s gotten to the point where people put everything in those cups — popcorn, snack mix, candy, etc. — just to avoid the possibility of being hassled.
And so on (there’s more, but it’s pretty much the same thing over and over). I confess that I didn’t realize this cupspiracy was so wide-ranging. Pretty sickening.
And I’ll tell you something else: You don’t need to dislike corporate culture as much as I do to recognize that there’s something fundamentally wrong with using unpaid volunteers — free labor — to enforce branding agreements that bring in jillions of dollars. The whole thing reeks.
This afternoon I’ll be going to Manhattan to talk about all of this in a Bloomberg TV interview. I plan to be drinking from a plain white cup while I’m on camera, and the contents of the cup will be nobody’s business but mine.
PermaRec update: The latest installment of Permanent Record is about a bunch of record stores called — well, you can probably guess. Here, see for yourself.
Party reminder: The next Uni Watch party will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3, 3pm, at Sheep Station in Brooklyn. I’ve asked the owners to have some pasta available for you Marathoners, and they’ve agreed, so you’ll be able to carbo-load before the big race the next day.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Several reports now indicate that Nike may have had an active role in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. Rumors that the company slogan is being changed to “Just Do(pe) It” are almost completely untrue. … Speaking of the Swooshkateers, they’ve inked a deal to supply gear to the IOC. There’s a match made in heaven — two of the most distasteful organizations in sports, joined at the dollar sign. … The Patriots will wear Pat Patriot throwbacks this weekend. … Here’s a pretty fascinating article about Nike’s deal with Purdue and Adidas’s deal with Indiana. Recommended (big thanks to Gary Moore). … Ironman has launched a “champions program” where Ironman winners will wear a special jersey. “It’s omewhat similar to the rainbow jersey worn by the reigning world champion of cycling, but this would be for all past winners,” explains Jeff Williams. … The new short-season single-A team in Hillsboro, Oregon, will be called the Hops. I’m more of a malt guy than a hops guy, but that’s still pretty cool. … New Browns owner Jimmy Haslem held a pres conference yesterday. “He stated that after the season they will take a look at all the aspects of the team, including the stadium and the uniforms,” says Dan Luther. “He went on to say that they would not touch the helmet but that people ‘wouldn’t care what the team looked like as long as they were winning.’ As a Browns fan, the thought of the team looking like the Seahawks makes me feel ill.” … There are lots of rumors floating around regarding next year’s Mets uniforms. What I’ve heard — and I phrase it that way because I don’t know for sure that it’s true, although I have reason to suspect that it is — is that they’re (a) adding at least one blue jersey, and maybe two, and (b) keeping the black jersey for Sunday night games. The only good part about that is that they now suck so bad that they won’t be scheduled for (m)any Sunday night games. As for rumors of a new cap, I haven’t heard anything about that, and I hope it isn’t true. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Here’s why Andray Blatche of the Nets chose No. 0. … After wearing white helmets with white facemasks for the past two weeks, UNC is switching to a navy facemask this weekend against Duke (from Trey Groce). … Not sure what going on here, but this is a Michagan player. Looks like they taped up his helmet to look like it’s from Michigan State. Anyone know more? (From Tony Bacioccoz,.) … The top-scoring player on each team in Swiss hockey
gets has to wear a flaming helmet and jersey (from Jason Kravec). … “Today I was in an experiment for psychology class and we had to name which three web sites we visit most,” says Gregory Koch. “I mentioned Uni Watch at number three. It will therefore possibly be mentioned in the study.” This is potentially significant for two reasons: (1) I’ve always wanted to have a psychological syndrome or disorder named after Uni Watch. And (2) this is the first time in memory that Gregory Koch has e-mailed me about anything other than UConn sports. … During the first Presidential debate, the candidates wore party-appropriate necktie colors. Last night, the colors were reversed. … Here’s something lots of readers noticed: Despite all the Yankees’ cash, Mark Teixeira was wearing a big patch on his pants last night. Interesting that they’d rather do that than get him a fresh pair (screen shot by Marcus Solis). … Here’s a rare NOB format: first initial following the name. That’s from ESPN’s E:60 story on Steve Smith. “A quick Google image search didn’t turn up any other ‘Smith S.’ photos,” says A.J. Spring. … “I received an e-mail from the Bradley University athletic department on Sunday,” says Kevin Beebe. “It included a video and survey, which basically boiled down to three choices on the school’s ‘Bradley Braves’ nickname: (1) Keeping Braves as the nickname but having no mascot or imagery associated with the team. (2) Dropping the ‘s’ and becoming the Bradley Brave and possibly have a mascot (something not related to Native Americans). (3) Dropping Braves altogether and creating something new, which may include a mascot. This explains the new logo that debuted this summer, which doesn’t show the word ‘Braves’ anywhere. As an alum, I think I’d like to see them drop Braves completely and think up something new and different. Simply becoming the ‘Brave’ seems like a massive cop-out. Here’s the accompanying video.” … Captain America jerseys on tap for the Toledo Walleye (from Jacob Kubuske). … In a related item, the Rev. Nørb stopped by the National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, Nebraska, and spotted this amazing Captain America-esque quad skate speed team jersey. “Note the years of participation on the sleeve,” says Nørb. … Rob Gronkowski now has his own brand of cereal. No branding of any kind on the jersey. “Also, note the umlaut in cereal name despite there not actually being an umlaut in his name,” says Scott Davis. … Robert Jordan recently scanned a bunch of pics he took prior to a 1979 Orioles/Mariners game. … Gridiron Uniform Database co-founder Tim Brulia will be interviewed tonight on the Leatherheads of the Gridiron podcast. You can use that link to listen live tonight or to go back and listen to it later on. … I’m not a huge fan of swimming or track and field, but those sports are the subjects of three really interesting new infographics. Worth checking out.