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Reflections on DC

My ESPN column today is about last week’s symposium on the use of Native American imagery in sports, which took place at the National Museum of the American Indian — look here.

The symposium produced much more content than I had room for in today’s column, so I may end up using some of that content here on the blog over the next few weeks. For example: When the discussion turned to the renaming of the ’Skins, several of the panelists who live in Washington pointed out that the issue of Indian representation and sovereignty is particularly resonant in DC because Washington is, as one panelist put it, “a reservation, but without sovereignty” due to DC having no voting members of Congress. Interesting metaphor.

That’s all for today. Hope to see some of you at Show & Tell tonight. — Paul

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Uni Watch News Ticker: “As has been previously documented, the Boston College Eagles added a fifth star to the back of their jerseys this season after winning the 2011-12 NCAA championship,” writes Dane Drutis. “On Monday night, BC wore their gold throwback jerseys for the finals of the Beanpot. It looks like they have new jerseys, but went with a very strange arrangement of the five stars.” … Lots good additional info about the NBA’s sleeved jerseys here. … We were recently speculating that the Yankees have so many retired numbers and so many players in camp this spring that they might have to use three-digit uni numbers. That would be awesome, but it’s not going to happen. Instead, according to a bullet point in this story, they’re going to double up on certain numbers. Any same-numbered players will be a pitcher and a position player, to help eliminate confusion (good luck). … A near-Brahmian deluge of stuff from Jay Sullivan, including a set of NHL first overall draft picks in eight-bit art; Notre Dame hockey wearing retro-ish uniforms for the Hockey City Classic; Oregon wearing really ugly G.I. Joe helmets for the spring game; Vanderbilt baseball going with matte batting helmets and new bat knob decals; and the unveiling of the world’s biggest baseball card. ”¦ Oooh, check out the awesome uniforms worn by the 1959-60 Galesburg (Illinois) Silver Streaks! Love it (from Luke Wall). … Here are some new Dolphins logo concepts from readers of the Miami Herald (from Bryant Grosso). ”¦ More Hockey City Classic uniforms, this time for Minnesota and Miami University (from Derick Gallagher and Geoff Lane, respectively). ”¦ “During a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans on a local channel, the news crew interviewed one of many guys dressing up as Manti Te’o,” says Terry Duroncelet. “Sure the numbers looks like the ones that Notre Dame wore against Miami, and the facemask color is wrong, but I give him props for at least somewhat imitating the TechFit jersey. And yes, that cell phone is supposed to be his ‘girlfriend.'” ”¦ Interesting “Battle of the Brands” infographic on the UEFA Champions League (from Terrence Kearns). ”¦ This screen shot from MLB 13 The Show shows the Yankees with Majestic logo creep. “They’re usually very good with small details,” says Jesse Agler. “Wonder if this indicates a change or if it’s just an oversight.” ”¦ New striped stirrups and matte helmets for Pomona-Pitzer. ”¦ Here’s another company that makes jersey-themed chairs. “I have sat on one of the chairs and they are quite comfortable,” says Rocky Lum. ”¦ A hotel in Saskatoon, Canada, is closing down and selling off all its fixtures and such, including lots of sports-related items (from Brad Wolfe). ”¦ This 1983 Indy car had a Chicago Bulls bumper sticker (from Gerry Dincher). ”¦ “I just found out that Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze has a new Twitter account,” says Rob Ullman. “His photos are the story — some pretty amazing behind-the-scenes stuff!” ”¦ Here’s a great slideshow of every NBA East all-star jersey since 1980 (from Yancy Yeater). ”¦ Celtic fans displayed a huge Clash/London Calling-themed banner the other day. “To me this is the coolest thing in the history of ever!” says Mike Edgerley. ”¦ Here’s a photo taken during the Pirates’ logo-redesign focus group (from Chris Taylor). ”¦

Comments (245)

    I think that NHL poster is more 16-bit because it looks so much like EA’s games on the SNES and Genesis (MegaDrive to non-Americans).

    For evidence as to why your favorite team/school opted for a gimmicky rebrand after conducting “focus groups”, see the results of the Miami Herald poll re: Dolphins concepts.

    The two silver helmets get over 41% of the vote? And both of these logos did away with the graceful arching Dolphin.
    Ballot stuffing…

    Because the whole point of a flannel shirt is that it’s supposed to stand for a kind of timeless authenticity, a rugged, blue-collar everyman presentation of no-nonsense sensibility. That’s the essence of what Fogerty and his music stand for. When you see him in jeans and a flannel shirt, you think, “He doesn’t fuss over his clothes, he doesn’t dress fancy — he just grabs whatever flannel shirt he sees in his closet and gets to work.”

    All of that is lost if the shirt is actually a product that you’ve branded as your own. The whole idea of a Fogerty-branded flannel shirt being “better” than (or in any way distinct from) a regular flannel shirt goes against the whole idea of what a flannel shirt represents.

    By contrast, a Uni Watch T-shirt doesn’t stand for anything except “I like Uni Watch.” That’s the whole point of a T-shirt. There’s no deception, no misrepresentation. Completely different thing.

    Think of it this way: A Uni Watch T-shirt is really no different than a Uni Watch bumper sticker — it’s a way to say, “I’m a fan of this thing.” Now, if Fogerty sells bumper stickers or T-shirts, I see no problem with that. But the flannel shirt is different — it has a certain cultural resonance that’s supposed to communicate certain values. Once you commodify those values, you’ve essentially lost them.

    Think harder.

    Excellent explanation and insight to american culture and the roots/meaning of a flannel shirt. Paul, your evolved thinking is not lost on most of us!

    It isn’t. But Paul on his pedestal will shoot it down like it’s the worst thing on earth. Apparently he can wear the shirts but no one is allowed to make them. Big deal that he makes them. It’s his signature look so why should someone else be making the money off of them?

    No, not “the worst thing on earth.” Just disappointing.

    Anyone (including John Fogerty) can buy a plaid flannel shirt anywhere they want — it’s not like there’s a shortage of them, or that the world desperately needed Fogerty-branded flannel shirts. Commodifying an everyman symbol is pretty much an anti-everyman move.

    I’m a big, big Creedence/Fogerty fan — that’s why I attended this event in the first place. My feelings about the shirt are rooted in the fact that I’ve always respected his work and what he stands for. But I lost a little bit of that respect yesterday.

    Think harder.

    Maybe you’re thinking too hard?? I’m not aware of the flannel shirt being anything other than a fashion statement. Fashion statements are commodities. The flannel shirt has been commodified since…forever.

    Simply suggesting that those of us who disagree with you aren’t thinking hard enough is kind of a dick move. It’s possible we just don’t agree with your (narrow) world view.

    See, now you’ve chosen to make it personal, instead of actually engaging with the points I made. That’s your prerogative, but it doesn’t add much to the discussion.

    You asked what the difference was between Fogerty’s shirt and a Uni Watch tee. I explained it. If you’d care to refute the points I made, we’re all waiting. Simply asserting that “the flannel shirt has been commodified since forever” is demonstrably false, since I’m not aware of anyone doing what Fogerty’s done here. Perhaps you know of some similar examples you’d like to share with us?

    As for “Think harder,” you don’t need to agree with me. But you do need to present a coherent argument, avoid apples/oranges comparisons, and use consistent logic. You haven’t done any of that yet.

    Teemo did engage with the points you made. They said in their opinion calling a flannel shirt anything but a fashion statement, and that the flannel shirt has not been commodified before, is incorrect.

    Paul, I would hazard to say it was in fact you who made it personal when, rather than simply defend your position, you had to add your “think harder” insult to your replies. I don’t drawing a parallel between you selling a t-shirt and Fogerty selling a flannel, after you it was you who criticized the latter in the first place, is unreasonable at all. I know you strongly disagree that they are the same situation, and it is surely your right to say so. But I definitely do not think it was right for you to basically act like it didn’t even really deserve a response, and then dare to call others out for “making it personal.”

    Let’s try this: I wear blue jeans just about every day. If a situation calls for a jacket and tie, I try to get away with wearing nice blue jeans and really nice shoes. Occasionally I have to wear a suit (just as I’m sure John Fogerty occasionally does), but I wear blue jeans about 99% of the time. You could say it’s my “signature look.” Anyone who knows me personally would agree.

    Now, what if I came out with a line of Paul Lukas Blue Jeans? That would be ridiculous on its face, because blue jeans stand for all sorts of things that don’t belong to me, and that I could never claim as my own. If you bought a pair of those jeans, it’s not like those jeans would be better than any other jeans — jeans are a universal, everyman thing. That’s part of their appeal! Trying to claim what they represent as belonging to me (or to anyone) would be silly.

    That’s what Fogerty’s done here. It goes against the grain of what a flannel shirt stands for, and what HE supposedly stands for. That’s what I find disappointing.

    All of this is miles and miles away from a Uni Watch T-shirt — or, for that matter, a John Fogerty T-shirt. He sells Fogerty T-shirts, and good for him! No problem. But the flannel shirt is a weak move.

    So are you saying your not aware of anyone else ever selling a flannel shirt? Hundreds of companies have sold flannel shirts–that’s why I consider it a commodity since forever. I’m not sure how to ‘prove’ that? It was a huge fashion statement in the 90s. Not because of any ‘everyman’ asthetics but because Nirvana and Pearl Jam wore them.

    And I’m pretty sure that telling people who don’t agree with you to ‘think harder’ makes it personal.

    Just saw your blue jeans analogy and again, I’m not with you. We may have to just disagree here because if you have jeans that are nice looking and that others want to wear, I wouldn’t see it as an indictment of your ‘genuineness’ to sell them. I don’t feel like you selling them means they only belong to you or that you were claiming them as your own. I guess I don’t view these things as anything other than personal fashion choices and as such, commodities to be sold if others have the same fashion ideas.

    So are you saying your not aware of anyone else ever selling a flannel shirt?

    Please. Yes, duh, there are millions of places to buy a flannel shirt. That’s not commodification — that’s just selling a staple of the apparel world. But I’m not aware of someone outside the apparel world suddenly making his own line of flannel shirts, as if the whole concept of flannel-ness belonged to him. Are you? That’s commodification.


    I can link to wiki too man.
    “the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs.[1] Economic commodities comprise goods and services.[2]”

    I don’t think Fogerty is claiming the whole concept of flannel-ness belongs to him. Where are you getting that other than in your head?? It seems like he’s a guy who wears a lot of flannel and saw an opportunity to make money selling those flannels to fans. That’s the same reason every other company sells flannel; don’t kid yourself into thinking all those other companies sell flannels as a concept of something to “stand for a kind of timeless authenticity, a rugged, blue-collar everyman presentation of no-nonsense sensibility.” They do it for the money.

    Here’s what came to mind while reading this debate: Jerry Garcia neckties. When those were first introduced, everyone was completely confused. Wearing a tie was the exact opposite of the Grateful Dead image, and no one could imagine seeing Jerry on stage wearing one. Maybe Pigpen, but certainly not Jerry. At least Fogerty is selling something that he does wear publicly.

    Then of course, we have Jimmy Buffett, who was turned 2 songs into a multimillion dollar fashion and food empire. Yes, you can even buy Margaritaville flip flops from his online store.

    I don’t have a problem with any of this. If you can find someone to buy your product, you do it. I wouldn’t pay $70 for a flannel shirt, but I have bought several Garcia ties, and a closet full of “polyester shirts”, as we like to call the commercial jersey market these days.

    So those Lucas Jeans(TM)… will they be pre-ripped?

    Comments being “noise” yesterday, commenters not thinking hard enough today. I almost didn’t make this “adds nothing to the discussion” comment out of fear!

    There seems to be some confusion among some of the readers about what is being commodified when John Fogerty sells a “Fortunate Son”-branded flannel shirt. It is not the flannel shirt that is being commodofied. That is already a commodity in the commerce stream. Rather, it is the ideals that the flannel shirt represents when it is worn by someone like Fogerty that are being commodofied.

    In other words, Fogerty is essentially sending the following message to the consumer: “Buy this flannel shirt and, by dressing like I often have dressed throughout my career when performing the song ‘Fortunate Son,’ you can express your agreement with my values and beliefs through your wardrobe choice. And, of course, the price reflects that you’ll be expected to pay a premium over what a comparable flannel shirt would cost you for the privilege of identifying yourself with my values and beliefs.”

    If Justin Bieber were to sell flannel shirts on his website, he’d just selling flannel shirts. When Fogerty does it, he’s selling everything that that flannel shirt implicitly stands for as a symbol of 1960’s anti-establishment populism.

    Who thinks that when buying a concert t-shirt? It’s about representing artists you like or want others to think you like.

    T-shirts aren’t the issue here. Go back and read Paul’s comments again. He says he has no problem with Fogerty selling t-shirts. The issue here is plaid flannel shirts.

    There is a difference. When someone wears a concert t-shirt or other merch with an artist’s name on it, the message is easy to understand: “I like this artist.” When the merch is a plaid flannel shirt that doesn’t have the artist’s name on it, the message is one that’s implicit rather than explicit.

    The flannel shirt has long been used as an implicit symbol of the common man because it was a durable and affordable garment. It’s been adopted by counter-culture movements at least as early as the 1960’s as a statement of function over fashion and solidarity with the working class.

    John Fogerty made a career out of wearing flannel shirts like that while performing music about the virtues of the working man and his disdain for the privileged class. There is, therefore, a certain irony to the fact that he sells shirts that symbolize his populist sensibilities at an inflated price on his website.

    There’s nothing wrong with him making a buck by selling merchandise to people who like his music or even his beliefs. That’s what the t-shirts are for. Selling the flannel shirts – because they stand for an idea that means something more than just “I like John Fogerty” – can be seen as an attempt to commercialize a set of values that are supposed to be opposed to blatant commercialism in the first place.

    “John Fogerty made a career out of wearing flannel shirts like that while performing music about the virtues of the working man and his disdain for the privileged class.”

    This is a joke, right?

    Is there some different John Fogerty that I’ve never heard of who wasn’t involved in a years long lawsuit over hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties with Saul Zantz?

    You are a naive fucktard who expects musicians to remain ‘pure to their (read your) ideals’ which demands that they endlessly tour in a broken down stinking van packed with instruments and amps and musicians and stinking of farts, shit and BO.

    Grow the fuck up you immature twat.

    Your inability to express yourself in anything other than a rambling stream of profanity, pejoratives, and off-base assumptions does a better job of revealing your character and intelligence than anything I could say in response. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to disabuse you of your completely incorrect assumptions of my “ideals” and what my opinion is of John Fogerty.

    Put simply, I’m a registered Republican. I have no problem with him making money or selling anything he wants if he thinks people will buy it. That includes flannel shirts.

    That said, I find Fogerty’s decision to sell flannel shirts at a premium price to be a tad bit hypocritical in light of the public persona he has developed for himself and how he has used that style of shirt as a symbol of his non-conformity with the mainstream. Quite frankly, I’d say it shows that John Fogerty’s beliefs on the market and free enterprise are closer to mine than he may want his audience to think.

    The two things that get me the most about Fogerty’s shirts are that 1) People like D. Boon worshiped him mainly BECAUSE of the “everyman” image of the Flannel Shirt and 2) He is charging $70 for a shirt named after a song that includes the lyric “I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no”.

    You do know that Fogerty got fucked out of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties by Saul Zantz, right?

    Wait, your utterly ignorant comment proves you don’t?

    This is no different then some gangsta thug rapper like Jay-Z whoring out Maybach or Air Jordans or Courvoisier. Apparently Lukas and all of the other smarmy hipster have absolutely ZERO problems with thug gangsta NEGRO rappers selling and whoring themselves out, but if a ‘rock star’ does it they are betraying everything they stood for.

    Newsflash Lukas, much as it will pain you to hear this, Fogerty doesn’t want to have to tour in some stinking cramped van jammed to the bursting point with instruments amps and musicians, much as you demand he do so.

    And seeing as it is the hipster shitmurfles who are ripping off artists like Fogerty through filesharing and other felonies I am overjoyed that Fogerty is doing this, in fact I hope he has his shirts available for sale at his concerts.

    One last thing. Rolling Stone which has more musical knowledge and insight in one stinking fart than you could ever hope to have Lukas has declared Fogerty’s upcoming album a masterwork. Suck on that.

    The panelist who compared DC to a rez needs to remember words of Isaac Jaffe: “no rich young white guy has ever gotten anywhere with me comparing himself to Rosa Parks.”

    The analogy, while having some gut-level resonance, nonetheless is simplistic and historically false. D.C. residents aren’t peoples displaced from their historical homelands, transplanted to remote, less habitable locales, and made to live subject to the benevolence (or lack thereof) of a separate ruling power.

    The true irony isn’t comparisons of Wash DC to anywhere. It is the Capitol of the USA, and our leadership sees no reason to rid itself of a racist team mascot/name, until somebody else waves it in their faces. What a statement to the rest of the world. Humans are so fucked up they let powerful clowns equate everything as the same shit by using misdirection. How does a team name compare to say using torture? or hunger. Or racism! oops. . ..

    Change the name. You’ll have new product to sell. Now that’s American.

    D.C. residents aren’t peoples displaced from their historical homelands, transplanted to remote, less habitable locales, and made to live subject to the benevolence (or lack thereof) of a separate ruling power.


    Can’t the same can be said of the Puritans, the Pilgrims, the Quakers?
    Those names are still used (albeit sparingly, but does that matter?) throughout athletics and their members represented as logos.
    Who speaks out on their behalf?

    Yeah, “historically.” I presume you’re referring to D.C.’s timeworn perception as the overwhelmingly black, “Chocolate City” – a perception that per the most recent Census Bureau statistics is increasingly erroneous, BTW.

    Note as well that that “historically” D.C., even pre-Civil War, was a substantial haven for free blacks, and that the surge in black population it experienced throughout the 20th century was largely due to its presenting blacks with economic opportunities unavailable to them elsewhere. So while the lineage of D.C.’s black population admittedly were displaced from their ancestral homelands, their relocation to D.C. largely was an exercise in free will.,_D.C.
    Native Americans living on Indian reservations? Ehhhh…. not so much.

    Paul, I’m not assuming that. I’m saying that whoever said that is trying to compare their experience as a DC resident to the Native experience. That comparison is false and offensive.

    D..C. Is ” a reservation but without sovereignty”? I guess that makes the nation’s capital worse than any Indian reservation, which of course can’t be true but apparently everybody needs to be a victim of something. When everybody is victim, nobody is a victim.

    It really isn’t a bad comparison, though it has nothing to do with the name debate.

    In terms of the socioeconomics DC is much better off than any native reservation, thats for sure. I mean, the city is better off than almost every other city in the US economically speaking, though if the sequesteration thing happens that will change.

    But in terms of political freedom, the reservation has significantly more liberty than DC. The District isn’t even allowed to pass a budget with out congress giving the OK.

    I attended the rock festival in London last July and Fogerty was the penultimate performer, in flannel shirt, in mid-Jul. Bruce Springsteen came out and sang one song with him also wearing a flannel shirt, in his honor and commented that it was something he wold only do for Fogerty.

    Fogerty also wore his flannel shirt and blue jeans when he performed at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction cremony in 2010.

    He wears them all the time. Nothing wrong with that — it’s obviously his preferred look. I’ve always pictured him with a closet full of old flannel shirts.

    But maybe he really just has a closet full of the same flannel shirt produced by his company. That’s kinda sad.

    I’d like to shake the hand of any man who buys the Fogerty flannel shirt. After I’ve smeared my hand with boogers.

    Is there an evolution going on that I don’t know about? It seems most Dolphins concepts have no tail.

    Apparently there’s a lot of admiration of the Buffaslug logo, which is what #’s 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 mimic. #9 looks too much like the Marlins logo.

    I like #5’s dolphin the best but not in that application.

    Ooh ooh, uni-neologism time! “Porpoislug” anyone?

    And what to call Miami’s equivalent Buffaslug-style marlin glyph? I’ve been calling it the Apostrofish, to which Paul has objected that, if seen as an apostrophe, it’s an apostrophe catastrophe, to which my response has been “yes: exactly.”

    The NHL #1 Draft Pick renderings were really cool. Of course, the name list at the bottom was very necessary! To my mind, it certainly seems like an extremely high number of these #1 overall picks go on to lengthy successful careers. Maybe I’ll look into comparing them to the other major leagues.

    Too bad that the guy who made the poster knows nothing about the NHL. There are a bunch of misspelled names, and almost the entire top row of characters is wrong.

    Michel Plasse, the Canadiens goalie, was drafted in 1968. Andre Veilleux, the Rangers pick, was drafted in ’65, not ’66. Barry Gibbs of the Bruins was the first pick in ’66, not ’67. Rick Pagnutti of the Kings was the first pick in ’67, not ’68, thanks to the six-team expansion that year.

    Also, Rejean Houle is listed as the first player on Row Two, but he’s actually at the end of Row One.

    I like how Eric Lindros is wearing a Quebec Nordiques jersey as the first pick in ’91 despite him never wearing it at the draft or at any point in his career. Kind of funny to see him in it on the poster.

    If one feels the need to charge $25 for a poster like this, the least yone could do is not advertise how little one knows about the subject of the poster. Good effort, but a wasted effort with all the errors.

    Probably because he just flipped the image from one of Roman Hamrlik (1992) or Vinny Lecavalier (1998).

    Honestly, I’m embarrassed for the guy. It’s poorly-written, poorly-thrown together, and shows a ton of laziness when you consider each of the three North Stars players have the starred-N backwards, the Red Wings have logos facing both directions, and the Bruins wore yellow as their road color in Beers’ draft year of ’66. Granted, he may have carried that error, but it’s a grade of F despite the work that went into it.

    Beers? Clearly I have other things on my mind. Let’s try “the Bruins wore yellow as their road color in Gibbs’ draft year of ’66”. LOL

    Took me awhile to figure out 99 and 01 were the Thrashers. Not enough yellow, too much blue, reminded me of WHA Winnipeg Jets at first.

    LOL Teebz were you thinking of the beverage or former Bruin Bob Beers?

    I’d like to claim the latter as a hockey fan, but the former was more appropriate considering my schedule.

    Had a “work meeting” lunch for a project I’m involved with, so I needed a beverage badly. LOL

    ….world biggest baseball card…..

    Can they turn it over please. I’d like to read his stats.

    PS: Now I want to see the bike whose spokes that goes into!!

    “Think harder.” That’s a lesson everybody, on every blog and in real life, should take to heart. Thanks for fostering the standard.

    That Yankees screenshot for The Show isn’t really a surprise. I believe they have put the Majestic logo on all the jerseys including those for the Yankees since they started the game, or at least since ’10 which was the last one that I bought. You’ll see them on every throwback uniform in the game as well, regardless of what manufacturer actually makes that version of the jersey in real life.

    Surely you’ve all seen the John Lennon line of designer shirts? I can think of nothing less that John Lennon – if you believe his stated principles to have been true – would have been associated with than expensive designer shirts.

    Speaking of the Yankees , it doesn’t look like there will be a need for repeating numbers at all (unless you count sharing a number with a coach…).
    Here are the number assignments for spring training.

    Paul, here’s an honest question, I swear this is not an attempt to bait you into any kind flame-war betwixt ourselves – I agree with your general thought process. If Fogerty were to actually make the shirts himself, how would you feel about him selling them? It would be the same basic shirt, same look, but hand-made by the guy himself instead of a large company making the same shirt and slapping his name on there.

    I don’t have anything wrong with someone trying to make money (even if they already have a lot of it). If there are people willing to buy a product with your name on it, then go for it. But it does feel slimy, to me, when you are having somebody else do the work for you. A hand-made shirt (or whatever) would help the consumer feel a connection to the guy. A Wrangler shirt with a “Fogerty” label does not. That’s my thought, anyway.

    I’m generally in favor of people selling things they made themselves, although I think it would be asking a lot to expect John Fogerty to know how to make clothing.

    To be clear: I have no problem with him selling all kinds of merch — T-shirts, posters, pins, bumper stickers, and of course CDs. But the flannel shirt is different — it has a different cultural resonance.

    I’m gonna copy/paste something I posted in an earlier comment:

    I wear blue jeans just about every day. If a situation calls for a jacket and tie, I try to get away with wearing nice blue jeans and really nice shoes. Occasionally I have to wear a suit (just as I’m sure John Fogerty occasionally does), but I wear blue jeans about 99% of the time. You could say it’s my “signature look.” Anyone who knows me personally would agree.

    Now, what if I came out with a line of Paul Lukas Blue Jeans? That would be ridiculous on its face, because blue jeans stand for all sorts of things that don’t belong to me, and that I could never claim as my own. If you bought a pair of those jeans, it’s not like those jeans would be better than any other jeans – jeans are a universal, everyman thing. That’s part of their appeal! Trying to claim what they represent as belonging to me (or to anyone) would be silly.

    That’s what Fogerty’s done here. It goes against the grain of what a flannel shirt stands for, and what HE supposedly stands for. That’s what I find disappointing.

    All of this is miles and miles away from a Uni Watch T-shirt – or, for that matter, a John Fogerty T-shirt. He sells Fogerty T-shirts, and good for him! No problem. But the flannel shirt is a weak move.

    Thanks. I read your earlier comment from up the page, and definitely agree with you as it relates to an item that’s no different than its competition, but just has a celebrity’s name or brand stamped onto it. Jeans are jeans, flannel shirts are flannel shirts. Hard to disagree with that.

    I also realize that John Fogerty can hardly be expected to sit down and start hand-crafting his own apparel. I just thought it was an interesting “what-if”.

    Regardless of what the man does, I’ll still get excited everytime I hear “Centerfield”. Guess that’s the type of internal compromises we have to make.

    Regardless of what the man does, I’ll still get excited everytime I hear “Centerfield”.

    Totally. I’m still a huge fan. That’s why I brought up the shirt thing to begin with. If someone I didn’t care about was doing this, I’d just roll my eyes and move on.

    Legitimate issues with Fogerty: Lack of original new material since late 1980s; Lack of really good self-derivative new material since 2007’s “Revival.”

    Not legitimate issues with Fogerty: He’s a musician who sells shirts.

    The problem with essentialist arguments like “the true nature of a flannel shirt” – well, aside from being usually, as in this case, factually wrong – is that it’s a theological argument. It is not possible to persuade anyone who does not already share precisely the same visceral understanding of the matter to adopt the viewpoint by application of reasoned argument. The essential nature of clothing is to be worn. Anything beyond the minimum standards of functional utility is angels-on-a-pin theological assertion.

    This is not about some plausible or logically consistent notion of what items of clothing are by their nature appropriate for artists to market on their own behalf. This is about a visceral, emotional response to the unexpected (and somewhat devious) intrusion of a merchandise sales pitch into a conversation about art. I get that – I’d have been offput too. But if Fogerty had whipped out a tour t-shirt at that moment, I’d have been just as offput. Yet musicians make exactly that sales pitch during their performances all the time. Either my favorite local ukulele player, who works a day job as an accountant to support herself and sells all kinds of knickknacks at her shows to supplement her performance income, is also a sold-out merchandising stooge, or the Fogerty thing is an emotional, not rational, reaction.

    In addition to sports teams, has anyone talked about the use of Native American names and words in the military?

    The use of the code name Geronimo in the hunt for Osama bin Laden did not go over well when everyone found out.

    Also, there are helicopters (Apache and Black Hawk) and missiles (Tomahawk).

    I’m sure that there are a lot of others. Those are the ones that I know off of the top of my head. I imagine that those would be at least as upsetting than a team’s name.

    Great piece – nice presentation of a multiplicity of voices. I was able to catch via streaming most of the final panel, the one with Wise, after all, and really wished I could have seen the whole thing. Particularly powerful for me were a couple of questioners who were there as part of a high school field trip. One of whom talked about having worn his Redskins ballcap to the event, and after hearing the conversation, taking it off and rethinking his acceptance of the name and logo.

    It strikes me that there’s a difference between the naming of weapons systems (and units for that matter, though that is a stickier subject) than the Geronimo moniker for OBL.

    For weapons systems to use formal tribe names (and I believe that it’s all Army helicopters: Iroquois (Huey), Kiowa, Apache, Blackhawk) seems to be a genuine tribute, much like the convention of naming battleships after states. It is the one case where it seems appropriate to honor warrior cultures. (Truer certainly for the Apache and Blackhawk than Kiowa, but the sentiment still rings true, I think)

    You can certainly make an argument that since the US Army played such a role in mostly destroying Native American nations, they should avoid the use of these names, and that’s an argument I would acknowledge as a valid one, but I think that the naming of weapons systems is a tribute, and mostly rings true as one.

    However, when you’re using Native American names as code names for targets, especially when the name is of a Native American who was a target, you should probably go back to the random code word generator for another try.

    You can also make an factual argument that disease, tribal in-fighting, and voluntary assimilation also played roles in “destroying” Native American nations, but this is probably not the best place for that discussion.
    Anyway, as far as who gets to utilize Indian names for this or that or the other thing, I am of the opinion that the United States is still very much a ‘melting pot’ and as a result individual citizens who happen to members of ethnic groups (aren’t we all?),regardless of whether they are ‘native’ or immigrant, are not the sole owners of their ethnicity; why so many choose not to see themselves as hyphenated Americans is often harmful to them and our nation.
    Again, just my opinion.

    I’m not terribly offended by John Fogerty selling his flannel shirts, but I am a bit put off by him charging just shy of seventy dollars for one. Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve purchased a flannel shirt, but that still seems excessively high.

    So looking over those Dolphins concepts, I actually think a few of those logos have a bit more merit than most of the readership seems to be giving them. I agree I don’t think any of them are “ready for prime time” but there is some good thought in there. Realistically though, I wanted to bring one up that I think gets hidden by a terrible logo and set of gloves, as well as poor color choices, but is conceptually something that is at least very interesting.

    The linked helmet uses the natural shape of the Revo Speed to create a wave with a dolphin breaching it. This layout could still be replicated on other helmets as well, but I think conceptually that could stand to create one hell of a set of helmet stripes. There is a desperate need to get rid of all that BS carbon fiber, and to look at whether the two tone helmet is necessary or if the helmet could be rendered out in the traditional prealescent white, but i do like the negative space that is the sky created by the breaking wave.

    I think this helmet with some tweaks could render out quite well. Though, all that said, it’s more of a one-off than an everyday gamer. Maybe I’ll take a pass at it later.

    Born and raised in the Bay Area, I believe. El Cerrito, maybe. Equally remote from a bayou, of course, unless you count those sloughs up near Sacramento.

    Billy Strayhorn wrote “take the A train” before he had even been to NYC. His “Bayou” songs hit the mark no matter where he wrote them.

    Interesting to note that in all but one picture of the East All Star pictures going back to 2004, LeBron, Wade and Bosh are either right beside each other or right behind each other.

    Dolphins should never look angry. Whenever I see a picture of a real dolphin they always look pretty happy.

    Yeah…my mobile phone kept saying the article is no longer available (and still does) but got home and tried it on my iPad and it works just fine. I don’t know…ain’t technology grand?

    Then there are issues like that in reverse, for ticker (or comment) links that go to mobile sites, which won’t work properly (if at all) on a regular computer.

    I think the worst part is that Fogarty charges $70 for a crappy flannel shirt that I could get at Walmart for $15. The price is probably inflated because he keeps giving them away.

    This site has gone from beng a pleasure to read every morning to being absolutely tedious. Before, the political, social commentary would appear once in a blue. Now every day we are force fed Lukas’ world view, on a site that is supposed to be about uniforms. But the worst offense is his behavior towards his loyal readers. He insults, then calls us out for the same. He censors words to the point that if you use them, you won’t be heard. He uses terms like “straw man” and “apples and oranges” to stifle debate, not encourage. A couple of days ago, Patchy absolutely dressed him down on the Redskins debate, his/her posts were great to read becuase someone finally stepped up to debate this guy on his own terms. I have neither the time nor the inclination to engage someone with such a narrow, absolutist mentality. Today’s critique of Fogerty when Lukas sells everything from tshirts(some of which are unlicensed, rip offs of established trademarks no less) to stickers is the ultimate hypocrisy. Seriously where does he get the chutzpah. He is no different from any other commie. I’m just glad his only power is in his little fiefdom, so I can just turn it off.
    I hadn’t been on Chris Creamer’s site in a couple of years. The site has actually improved tremendously. It is now more akin to what uni watch used to be. I suggest readers that are tired of Lukas drop UW and bookmark Creamer instead.

    every day we are force fed Lukas’ world view…

    Imagine that — my world view being represented on my web site. Shocker. I suppose you think my site should be representing your world view?

    I second your comments about Chris Creamer’s site, which has had major upgrades lately. Worth checking out, and good for the uni-verse.

    Paul, just wondering if you still feel that way about Creamer’s site when they feature paragraphs like this one?

    “The simple fact of the matter, in my observation, is that the Braves organization read a couple articles from pro and amateur writers, all white, who were getting themselves some cheap readership mileage out of stomping their little feet and complaining about the logo. Self-entitled, unintelligent, hipster wannabes pouring out their white guilt all over their blogs about how offended someone somewhere should be about the logo the Braves actually used in the past. People whose writings can’t be respected as long as they continue to bitch and cry about teams having historical caps or shirts.“

    Yeah, I read that piece. That guy (who is one of Chris’s contributors, not Chris himself) is entitled to his opinion, just like I’m entitled to mine. And we agree that the Braves were basically lying and trying to save face earlier this week.

    Anyway: Regardless of whether I agree with them on a given issue, they’re providing a lot of real-time uniform coverage, and they’ve made major site upgrades, all of which is a good thing. I’m always in favor of more uni coverage (well, except maybe from Bleacher Report).

    I take the strongest possible exception to that contributors’ quote. I’m sure those writers’ feet reflect the ordinary gamut of shoe sizes.

    It’s also good when someone who receives a service, seven days a week, three hundred sixty five days a year, FOR FREE, complains about content.

    As for the Redskins thing, I’m no lawyer, but haven’t all of the pro leagues, particularly baseball, made arguments that their business occupies a unique place in American culture, and is thus exempt from antitrust and other laws? So why is it when the community objects to a nickname, all the apologists play the “private business” card? You can’t both ways.

    This may be labeled ‘apples and oranges’, but the Indian reservations also are afforded many exemptions and receive federal subsidies while maintaining a great degree of self-deternimation and autonomy.
    If tribal communities can “have it both ways” (operating within and outside ‘standard’ procedure) to protect their communally shared properties, why can’t business owners do what they can within the law to protect their individually-owned properties?

    Indian reservations also are afforded many exemptions…

    You make it sound like these are shady loopholes or handouts, when in fact they’re the result of formal treaties.

    why can’t business owners do what they can within the law to protect their individually-owned properties?

    Who has suggested otherwise? Certainly not me. In case I haven’t made that clear, let me do so now: Daniel Snyder is free to use as much racist nomenclature and inappropriate imagery for his team as he wants. But just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s above critique.

    Criticism is to be expected when viewpoints are in opposition, but let me try to clarify my statements.
    I did not intend to make it sound as though Indian reservations/tribal leaderships are operating in some nefarious fashion, and both they and ‘for-profit’ corporations have from time to time received “handouts” in various amounts and forms. Forgive my lack of eloquence and use of quotation marks when I admit they are living up to their end of the ‘bargain’ but the ‘playing field’, when compared to the standards other privately-held associations must operate under, is not exactly equal in all respects(perhaps there’s an argument as to whether they should be?), so to me it’s not fair to implicate business owners of “having it both ways” when the same could be said of those operating under the reservation system.
    In a similar fashion (though another ‘apples and oranges’ comparison, a ‘strawman’ and also wholly off-topic?), there is a popular perception that businesses are often not paying their ‘fair share’ by taking advantage of “loopholes” (perhaps an intentional misuse of the term?) when they in fact are operating within existing agreements/tax law/etc as well. For that, it’s suggested that they are not operating ‘above board’ and their leadership/membership is lampooned or mischaracterized.
    Sorry for running so long.

    Ah, but Geoff, after all this time you still come to Uni watch every day. Bet every time you log on you say to yourself “Today is the day Lukas comes around to my way of thinking.”

    You’ll be here tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. Guaranteed.

    They lampooned Ryan for his water guzzling performance in the debate, so this will probably be their cold open.

    Why are all the young Republicans dehydrated?

    Or is the GOP still trying to make up for Gerald Ford’s liberation of Poland in the ’76 presidential debate?

    My reaction at the time was wishing it had been a bottle of Dos Equis.

    “My reaction at the time was wishing it had been a bottle of Dos Equis.”


    Judging by the content of his rebuttal, I think it might have been.

    Harsh, dude. I thought you were a Republican?

    Points to Rubio, who I’m looking forward to meeting week after next: His necktie knot was almost in Obama’s league. The president’s tie wasn’t all that much last night, but his knot, a four-in-hand, was possibly the best-tied presidential cravat since Harry Truman. Maybe since Taft. The contrast with Boehner’s childishly too-small half-Windsor or Pratt knot and with Biden’s lazily executed four-in-hand was stark. But Rubio’s own four-in-hand was nearly perfect too.

    Shame about his collar and lapels, though.

    We know it wasn’t Dos Equis, because Rubio isn’t interesting enough. . .
    Also, Rubio wasn’t giving the rebuttal from his own office, so why was there a picture of him and his family on the desk behind him? I’ll bet Chris Christie was laughing his ass off while watching this.

    Points to Rubio, who I’m looking forward to meeting week after next: His necktie knot was almost in Obama’s league. The president’s tie wasn’t all that much last night, but his knot, a four-in-hand, was possibly the best-tied presidential cravat since Harry Truman. Maybe since Taft. The contrast with Boehner’s childishly too-small half-Windsor or Pratt knot and with Biden’s lazily executed four-in-hand was stark. But Rubio’s own four-in-hand was nearly perfect too.

    Shame about his collar and lapels, though.

    Just, wow.

    “Harsh, dude. I thought you were a Republican?”


    Not harsh. Two things: 1. I work for a Republican, but I’d prefer not to be known by any specific party label since I don’t think either party speaks for me on every issue. And a New York Republican is known as a “democrat” is most every other state. Or could be.

    2. If you want me to “label” myself, I’ll say this. Fiscally, I tend to be somewhat ‘conservative’ but socially, I have always been ‘liberal.’ I hate both of those terms, since they don’t really accurately describe anything, but to give you an idea using terms which most people understand, let’s use them. What I heard from Senator Rubio (who, lets face it — no matter who gives the SOTU rebuttal is always going to pale in comparison to POTUS) didn’t impress me so much as it seemed to be portending more partisan gridlock down the road. Battle lines have clearly been drawn in DC, and I didn’t hear too much from either side about seeking to really, truly, come together to compromise. 44 certainly started out very well, seeking bipartisan cooperation, and I sincerely hope this will become a reality — but lets face it, it won’t.

    But that’s neither here nor there and it certainly doesn’t belong on UW, so I’m done. I simply wasn’t as impressed with Senator Rubio (and don’t get me wrong, I thought he did well with his speech), I just don’t necessarily think the message he was imparting bodes well for any hope of Washington coming together to compromise. My way or the highway is still alive and well. Too many people just too entrenched in core beliefs and philosophies…and any “compromise” (real or imagined) will be punishable by the electorate during the next election cycle…possibly by one’s own party.

    The good of the country? Fuck that shit, I’m saving my own ass.

    Sorry, Phil, I was teasing there. Not actually intending to label you or anything!

    I’ve been watching the SOTU and responses almost religiously since I was a little kid in the first Reagan administration, and Jim Webb in 2007 was the only time I ever felt like the responder had actually read or listened to the president’s remarks. That’s really all I want: Do us the respect of acknowledging that we just listened to our president speak, and don’t just spout off your own party’s attack lines and pretend he said a bunch of stuff he didn’t say. Non-partisan complaint here; the whole opposition response thing is almost universally a swift kick in the brain no matter which party is doing it.

    “I’ve been watching the SOTU and responses almost religiously since I was a little kid in the first Reagan administration…”


    I knew there was a reason we get along so well (even if we kid)…

    Ditto on that. And totally agreed, POTUS gets the spotlight, and SOTU responder, no matter which party, always looks petty and merely spouts the party line. Perhaps it’s because they only received a copy of POTUS prepared remarks (which may differ once delivered from the actual text) shortly before needing to come up with a rebuttal. I’m sure Marco (and any SOTU responders before him) don’t even get to watch the speech live, instead refining the rebuttal and practicing to the extent possible.

    But my point with Senator Rubio was not him in particular (though I did cringe when he reached for the P/S grenade), it’s the party line from the GOP hasn’t changed one bit since election day. Not that it necessarily should for the party’s sake, but it should for the nation’s sake. It’s no wonder Congress as a whole has a 19% (I think, haven’t checked in the past day or so) approval rating, but yet through gerrymandering selective reapportionment, a very large number of incumbents were returned.

    More of the same. Every year.

    It seems like that on UW some days too. There is no ‘middle ground,’ no ‘compromise.’ Both sides dig in their heels and we get stalemate.

    Of course, we were both too young to remember it, but the “rebuttal” was first done, I believe, during the Johnson administration. There may have been a few years where there wasn’t one in the late 60s or early 70s, but I’ve always remembered having one. And no matter which party was doing it, they’ve never particularly impressed me for just the reasons you outlined above.

    So, did Rubio even hear POTUS’ speech? I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t. But they always seem like they have to be the complete opposite (or with very little agreement) to the prepared remarks they receive. And with several hot-button issues addressed, it shouldn’t surprise me there was very little agreement.

    There is something about those response speeches that makes capable people unravel. Do you remember Bobby Jindal, who looked like a nervous 13 year old?

    It was a ten minute speech. Why wasn’t he properly hydrated beforehand?

    The GOP is so determined to prove their Latino friendliness, I’m just glad Rubio didn’t deliver the speech while dressed in a serape, holding a plate of homemade tamales, and playing a bajo sexto.

    For the ESPN Piece, where did you get that Photo of Carlos Santana? Catchers almost never wear their Helmets with the brim and logo facing forward?

    that Oregon helmet is not happening.
    that helmet was an eBay item months ago. I have that same photo saved to my computer from when it was originally posted for auction.

    Curious as to the make-up of the Pirates focus group. Any women or other ages or other backgrounds represented? Or did all the white, balding guys just happen to sit on the same side of the room?

    “I immediately began wondering if (John C. Fogerty’s) age-defying looks were the result of botox or plastic surgery.”

    Nooooooooo… tell!!!

    Next thing you are going to say is that Mick Jagger wears a toupee. What, Paul McCartney has had work too? Ringo dyes his beard? What is this world coming to?

    Not surprised hearing that “Wrote A Song For Everyone” is mediocre. I have found that a key sign that an album is going less than great is the following phrase: “Special guest Kid Rock.” The single that has been released is a horrid version of “Born on the Bayou.” Better to check out the bootleg version of the song he did with Springsteen and The E Street Band. At least that had some resquite snarl to it.

    Think I’ll wear a flannel shirt and my 1954 Indians cap from Cooperstown Ball Cap Co. today…. ;-)

    It’s almost all remakes of his best-known songs (plus one or two semi-obscurities and one new tune), each with a different guest. In short: a vanity project.

    Few things are better than covers with a fresh take on the material, even by the same artist. Few things are worse than covers that merely rehash the material. The half of the album I’ve heard is 100% the latter. A shame, since Fogerty can still put on a great show with fresh takes on the material despite his generally self-cannibalizing style.

    I know I shouldn’t read the ESPN comments, but there’s a guy there who’s claiming that he bought the Braves’ “screaming brave” BP cap at Lids. Liar, or did some slip though before the team reconsidered?

    Ah, should have included that third choice. Presumed that the commentator knew what he was talking about, which is usually a very dumb thing to do.

    Makes me wonder where the caps were in the production process when MLB/Atlanta pulled the plug.

    I happened to go to Lids site today and saw that fashion cap was part of their first big “splash” image on the front page. It was actually kind of shocking.

    Several of the BP caps, including the yanked screaming savage Braves design, made me suspicious that they were tail-wagging-the-dog efforts by New Era to gin up sales of fashion caps, not team-driven designs. This seems to validate that suspicion.

    Not too keen on Fogerty’s flannel shirts, but I’m sure there are suckers out there who will drop the cash to wear a piece of factory made Fogerty. On an unrelated note Pendulum is one of the most under-appreciated CCR albums out there

    The blue jeans analogy seems a little odd because they are an item that have been commodified beyond belief. I don’t wear them myself so I don’t know of many jeans brands, but the first that comes to mind is Levi’s. Levi Strauss & Co pulls in about $4 billion a year. If you go to the Levi’s homepage and look at the main “men’s jeans” page, the cheapest pair is $48. The cheapest pair of men’s jeans on Target’s website is $19.99. The “unique, branded product” is “worth” twice as much.

    I will think harder here and admit that this is not a response to the flannelspiracy. What Levi’s is doing is just as gross as what John Fogerty is doing. I think that one problem here is that the nature of the commentary on this site at times is pulled out of a context and placed into another – an experience with an popular figure that violates the author’s personal history with their image gets applied to clothing marketing trends, and off we go. If a full column had been written other examples would have been pulled in, trends would have been identified, and themes would have been highlighted. There would have been more of a coherent statement to consider and refute. The blog format has more of a tendency to identify the examples without the context, and it seems to the reader to be an unwarranted attack on the single example of a world-wide trend that happened to be mentioned in the post.

    We all have to think harder…a little more context (from all sides) would help.

    Just some thoughts from an old public speaking and argument instructor.

    I don’t see your comparison of Fogerty-branded flannel shirts and Levi’s jeans as an apt analogy. Levi’s can charge more for its jeans than Target does for its store brand jeans for at least two reasons: (1) Levi’s, over the course of 160 years, has developed a reputation for providing quality and style among some consumers for which they are willing to pay a premium, and (2) because of the favorable reputation Levi’s has with certain consumers, many of them are also willing to pay a premium to be seen wearing jeans with the Levi’s label.

    Are the Levi’s jeans so much superior to the Target jeans that they’re worth more than twice as much? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not into brand labels personally and I don’t own any Levi’s, but I’ve bought enough jeans in my life to know that many times, I’ve gotten what I’ve paid for. Certain better-quality, more expensive jeans I’ve bought have outlasted as many as three or four pairs of cheaper, store-brand jeans.

    I would dare say that none of us is aware of a particular reputation for quality and style that John Fogerty’s flannel shirts have established among consumers that would command a premium price over other flannel shirts of similar quality. The only reason a consumer would pay more for Fogerty’s shirts is because they’re associated with John Fogerty and his publicly expressed values. That’s the commodification at issue here – the ideals and ideology being implicitly sold with the product – not the commodification of the product itself.

    Hey, Paul — come to Houston, so we can have a Uniwatch party here. It would be nice to see people face to face. All this typing gets tiring.

    Is the outrage over John Fogerty’s Down Home Ain’t No Fortunate Son Flannels about the merchandising of shirts, or the reality that there are fewer and fewer things to believe in? I remember seeing photos of Springsteen in the mid-80’s, laughing and working out with Michael Milken, The People’s Choice and one of the worst of the Wall Street insider traders, BFFs. A political philosophy professor I really admired loved to lecture about the evils of materialism and greed, which I ate up. Mid-semester, I saw him getting out of his car, a $60,000 BMW. Pete Rose will autograph ANYTHING, if the price is right.

    We want our heroes to be heroic. We want the guy singing the angry songs to be an Angry Young Songwriter. We don’t want our populist role model showing up in suit and tie at the London Olympics, cheering on his daughter in the dressage competition (where she went head-to-head against a horse owned by her social equal, Ann Romney).

    If Steve Tyler came out with a line of signature scarves, no one would care. Because Steve Tyler’s music is inconsequential and Steve Tyler is a silly man. Fogerty’s and his music seemed more substantial.

    It’s all business. As the one of the Pet Boys said, 30 years ago, “You thing Bruce Springsteen is for real, with those blue jeans and motorcycle boots? It’s a costume, and he wears it because that’s what sells in his market.” (I’m paraphrasing: memorizing Pet Shop Boys quotes is not my thing.) We know that, intellectually, but our hearts want it to be different.

    Sorry to hear that Fogerty let you down. Many of my heroes have feet of clay, too. I try to make a point of divorcing an artist from his art; it keeps me from committing acts of cognitive dissonance.

    Apropos to today’s conversation New Era has just announced they’re releasing a number of Negro League caps to “celebrate Black History Month,” including a Dodger blue 42 cap.

    No word on whether any proceeds will go anywhere besides NE’s bottom line.

    Will they all cost $42?

    Those are some real stinkers as caps. If only there were a way to get an ad for EFF in front of everyone who sees these New Era gimmicaps.

    The GI Joe promotions are terrible, but at least there’s some sort of charity benefit somewhere.

    (Speaking of EFF, anybody jump on the grab-bag promo before? I ordered 3 mystery t-shirts, worried they’re going to be fugly.)

    Actually, I think the last email from Ebbets Field Flannels talked about the merch they’re going to have in conjunction with the film. (They did the uniforms)

    Paul-I’d wish you could banter with some of those posting on your ESPN column today. Talk about people making a strong case to remove Native American names and imagery–heck, if this is who supports it, how could anyone NOT be against it.

    Bingo! I have a particular personal history with the word Redskin that puts that question beyond argument for me. But I used to be much more accommodating on other uses of Native terms and iconography. It was the quality and tone of the arguments in defense of the status quo, more than anything else, that persuaded me to favor ditching the names and images generally. Not in all cases, but my burden of proof is now on the side of not changing.

    Paul – great job with your ESPN column today – I am probably sure you have no control on site content on the ESPN homepage… but I was disappointed to see that the lead Playbook article was in reference to wrestling(!?). Strongly feel that your column would have been a smart choice for the editors to lead with.

    Shock/news value. The debate about whether American Indian names, logos, “mascots” for sports teams is ongoing, and somewhat longstanding. The recommendation to drop wrestling as an Olympic sport is shocking to most, including seasoned Olympic observers. It also affects the sport “downstream;” will this affect NCAA sponsorship of wrestling in regard to the fact that the NCAA would no longer be obligated to sponsor wrestling as a championship sport because it’s no linger on the Olympic program (contrast with the very modestly-sponsored collegiate sports of fencing and rifle, both of whom are comfortably on the Olympic program).

    DJ – unfortunately it wasn’t for that type of wrestling.. the lead article under the Playbook area was for WWE type wrestling. :(

    Seems like the theme on this site is “agree with the agenda at hand or prepare to be ridiculed,” apparently.

    I actually found that I couldn’t read the comments on the ESPN column. I wanted to, and I honestly tried, but after about the top six or seven I had to stop. Perhaps it’s because the issue has been discussed here for quite some time, but I just wanted to scream a rebuttal at every comment I read. Is it really necessary to walk every person through the argument? Surely some people just get it, right?

    And while I’m vaguely on the topic, I’ve long been a fan of the Cleveland baseball team. Recently, I’ve started to take the stance that the Washington Post columnists have taken with their NFL team, and applied it to my own references to the baseball team of which I am a fan. And what I’ve discovered is… it sucks. It’s a pain in the butt. I don’t like to have to obliquely refer to the team of which I am a fan. I love wearing sports paraphernalia, but I intensely dislike having to seek out merch with the block C logo and NO other secondary reference to the logo, nickname or “tribe.” Now it has become a chore, not fun. This isn’t how being a fan was supposed to be. I’d rather be complaining about how badly they keep finishing in the standings.

    I bet you’re going to get zero sympathy from Paul.

    Nobody is forcing you to be a fan, nobody is forcing you to buy caps or jerseys, etc. A fan’s minor inconvenience pales in comparison to the indian mascot name.

    I don’t really want sympathy from anyone other than the team, who could eliminate this problem unilaterally by changing the name and logos. I don’t hold out a lot of hope, though. I feel like most people would have just done as you suggest. Left. Found another team. Stop following baseball altogether. I suppose I’m a strange breed of fan, then. I have learned, by trying, that it’s not easy for me to just stop being a fan of the team or the sport. I just wish it wasn’t so uncomfortable and morally challenging an exercise. However niether can I just pretend that the name and logo don’t bother me. If they didn’t bother me, I’d just wear them or display them. Too far through the looking glass of conscience, I guess.

    “it’s not easy for me to just stop being a fan of the team or the sport.”


    No, it’s not, and it’s not just you. But if you were to stop becoming a fan, the sun would still come up tomorrow, right? People wouldn’t die, right?

    In the overall scheme of things, if you really feel strongly enough, you could do it.

    But whatever you do, if becoming (or staying) a fan becomes an effort…maybe it’s not worth it.

    As Paul addressed a few comments down, it was disappointing no authorities showed up arguing the contrasting point of view. So I guess I’ll have to do:
    Not everyone feels the same way. My teams hopefully are a source of pleasure, not to be considered with too much scrutiny. They’re kind of like comfort food. Measuring them to make sure they don’t aggrieve Indians (or blacks, or women) is akin to fretting over what’s been put in my hot dog. I like Volkswagens; I don’t need to be reminded they were developed by decree of Hitler. The real world intrudes often enough. Perhaps I’m a Pollyanna for not wanting my buzz to be harshed; is it too much to ask a couple of things I hold near and dear to be saved? It seems the change is inevitable. I can read the tea leaves. I just want to enjoy the bond I have for a little longer.

    Well said, Walter, and for probably 99.9% of the fans out there, that’s what they want. No one wants their team, for whom they’ve likely rooted since birth, to have some outside, do-gooder librul to tell THEM that all this time they’ve been complicit in some scheme that not only profits off of the suffering of others, but now they should feel bad for it. It’s human nature: “I’m a good person, I don’t necessarily feel the way you’re telling me I should, I didn’t create the logo, and I just want to enjoy shit the way it is.”

    But not everyone does feel this way, and I think rather than “thinking harder,” we don’t want to think at all. We don’t want to challenge assumptions and the status quo is just fine, thank you very much. No stinkin’ OUTSIDER, someone who has no (perceived) dog in the fight, should tell ME I’m suddenly some piece of shit because I root for a team with a logo that “isn’t even that bad.” It’s personal.

    And I understand the feeling.

    Doing the right thing is never easy. Being told to do the right thing, especially if you don’t see it that way, is even harder.

    Debate, however, is healthy.

    But your point that “the real world intrudes often enough” is actually very poignant — if rooting for your team is so entrenched that something as unimportant as changing the name should be…then the real world is already intruding. If it weren’t, then a name change should be the least of your worries. Like I said above, the sun would still rise, and nobody would die if you didn’t have this “comfort food.” So you shouldn’t really miss it then. That’s what’s great about comfort food — you don’t need it. It’s great when it’s there, and sure, you might miss it a little, but you don’t need it to sustain life.

    Sports should be like that. I love baseball and did it suck when the 1994 season was cancelled? You betcha. But it wasn’t the end of the world. Change is coming and it is inevitable. You don’t have to like it, but it’s not the end of the world. You’ll adapt.

    Nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your bond a little longer. But like that teddy bear we went to bed with as kids, there will come a time when it gets taken away. And you’ll be fine after all.

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. The subject put me in mind of a childhood story my mother loved, “Little Black Sambo”. It’s no surprise that nowadays nobody would try to get away with something by that title, but Mom heard it through the ears of a child, lo those many years ago. She embraced the characters, and it was painful to have strangers question her honorableness over something she took so readily to heart. It’s an object lesson in how tough change can come. Sacrifices are involved.

    Never heard of Fogerty… I read all the comments above – just to add a few things:

    1. Is $70.00 overpriced for the shirt? Can he purchase in the same volume as a big box store to make the shirt $25.00?

    2. Is his flannel shirt produced in the same sweatshop as the big box version? If yes, is he at least taking that $70.00 and paying his employees a decent wage? (assuming he doesn’t handle his own e-store on all levels). Does the big box store take care of their employees with decent wages & benefits?

    3. Could the shirt have been produced out of fan’s requests for the product?

    4. Are fans buying it partly because they would rather spend their money with someone they admire/respect rather than a big box store?

    5. As already mentioned regarding bootlegging music, does this supplemental income prevent him from disappearing? Does it allow him to continue performing for people who want to see him?

    Whether intentional or not, him selling this shirt raises a lot of these types of questions to consider in today’s marketplace.

    One of my Cherokee great-grandfathers remained in Georgia and avoided the ToT by greasing palms (strongly suspected) and being married to a local white girl. So I’m not sure whether I should be ashamed of cracking up over the Onion article or not: the moral calculus is rather complex.

    I was just about to post this. I’m glad I did a search to see if it was already on here. :)
    Gotta love the last sentence that says Cleveland will continue to honor the plight of Native Americans by using the same logo.

    Hey Paul, quick question. Thoughts on the Boy Scouts of America membership policy aside, what are your thoughts on the BSA’s use of Native America imagery, etc.? I can tell you from experience, BSA is full of such images and references on patches, etc. Also, their national camping honor society, Order of the Arrow, is steeped in Native American references, culture and the like. It may be a little different in that BSA isn’t really selling such images, but I can say from experience it’s considered to be honoring Native Americans among those in the BSA. Thanks.

    I remember, as a scout, feeling very uneasy with the initiation in to the Order of the Arrow because of this. I never participated in anything related to Order of the Arrow after my initiation because of that uneasiness.

    I did Cub Scouts for 2 years, and I still have no idea what the hell the point of it all was.

    Thanks. From my experience in BSA as a youth, I always took the references as honoring Native Americans and it tended to make me very interested in their history, culture and traditions. Ryan M. posted it made him feel uneasy, but I never did. I always took it more along the lines of channeling Native American values regarding nature and the outdoors, and the fellowship of sharing and caring for the land, etc. Just wondered if you thought appropriating such images was questionable. I’d agree some of the same concerns remain, however, since I’ve not known too many Native American scouts. By the way, liked the ESPN column today. I’ve always thought the same thing; that I’d like to hear from actual Native Americans on the subject rather than a bunch of caucasian politicians. But, on the subject of the meeting in DC, isn’t it understandable the sentiments would be largely against the use of Native American references in sports, etc.? Seems those who would attend such a meeting would tend to be those with strong feelings against their use.

    I did BSA for a long time. I remember there being a badge called “Indian Lore.” The type of nature reserves favored by the BSA included background on local native cultures. Of course all of this was presented with other tales wrapped up with feathers and buckskins to a bunch of white kids.

    on the subject of the meeting in DC, isn’t it understandable the sentiments would be largely against the use of Native American references in sports, etc.?

    I was disappointed that they didn’t have any panelists on the other side of the argument — I thought that would have been more interesting. On the other hand, as I noted at the end of the column, the Redskins were invited to have a representative on hand, and they declined. I don’t know if anyone else from the other side of the argument was invited.

    As someone who is both an Eagle Scout and a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, I feel comfortable discussing Native American imagery within the BSA. I have never really felt offended by it, not because I’m a “white kid,” but because I think that my experience of the BSA was about honoring and respecting Native American traditions. I won’t explain the OA ceremonies because we are not allowed to do so, but I have never seen Native American imagery used in a way that I think one could deem offensive.

    I’ve been involved, not always happily, with Scouting for about 20 years. My eldest son is and Eagle. My 16 year old is working on his Eagle project right now. Every once in a while, I get invited to go through the Order of the Arrow hoop-dee-doo. I went to one of the induction ceremonies. It’s pretty authentic Native American stuff, if authentic means teenagers dressed in Made in China headdresses prancing around with torches fashioned from sticks and rolls of burning toilet paper. Everyone gets a New Name, too, a Secret Indian Name, like Proud Bear or Bemused Otter.

    It’s like Civil War reenactment, or those guys in the Philippines who nail themselves to crosses every good Friday: OA is a lot of things, and I’m sure the people involved have the best intentions, but more than anything, it’s really stupid.

    BREAKING NEWS from Twitter:

    andrew mccutchen ‏@TheCUTCH22
    This years new helmet feels like I’m wearing a bowling ball cut out to fit my head.#SpringTrainingProblems

    Hope this isn’t inappropriate but I thought the readership of this site, after enjoying the Super Bowl logo contest, might be interested in an another logo contest for a semi-significant prize… My state (CA) High School Athletic association, known as the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) is holding a 100 year anniversary logo contest. Winner gets a $500 gift card to an “electronics store”. Deadline is March 1st…

    I’m not sure life is complete without those two Garth Iorg posters being auctioned off in Saskatoon….

    Ruling out poor design, which is certainly a possibility with respect to UA and its work for BC, if I had to guess, the stars depicting each of BC’s Hockey National Championships were placed that way because 4 of them were won by their current coach (01, 08, 10, 12), while the 5th was from back in 1949.

    Apologies if I’ve missed what’s been said somewhere before… Curious, Mr. Lukas, on your opinion on Native American-themed team names that don’t reference or picture Native Americans peoples. I’m thinking of two “potential” future names for any Seattle hockey team: Thunderbirds or Totems. Would you hold these in the same regard as other Native American team names as identities best avoided?

    Something’s completely messed up if Seattle gets an NHL team and they don’t take up the name and striping of the old Metropolitans.

    Actually, the position being taken by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in this story is consistent with the opinion Paul has publicly expressed: If you want to use American Indian names and imagery for your sports teams, get permission from the people group whose image and heritage your are appropriating. (This is also the position the NCAA has taken on the issue.)

    Secondly, Paul’s Uni Watch blog entry and ESPN column today are highlighting the opinions of Native Americans on the Indian mascot controversy. And, at least among the Native Americans panelists at the Smithsonian symposium, those opinions were unanimous in their opposition to the use of Indian names and mascots (at least without tribal permission).

    So it would appear that no one is pushing their “liberal opinions” on anyone. These Native Americans have spoken for themselves.

    Today is not my day, accidentally posted this in yesterday’s comments:

    MLS may be planning a promotional “jersey week,” but Toronto F.C. decided to be, well, Toronto F.C. and leak their own kit in an e-mail to those interested in partial season tickets:

    For the non-MLS fans: They’re owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. And if you thought the Leafs and Raptors were poorly run, TFC’s ineptitude blows their brother franchises out of the water.

    I grew up in suburban Cleveland and the tribe wore the early 1980’s era block “c” on their caps when I was a kid. I loved that look and when they changed to put Chief Whahoo on the caps, it was generally seen as a sign that they might move to St. Petersburg. Now, I love the block “c” caps and it helps that “c” is my first initial. However, I’ve found myself unintentionally self concious when I wear mine in public, as everyone assumes that I am making some anti-Wahoo statement. i I personally love Wahoo and if the natives are so concered about it, they should have defended their homeland better centuries ago. The victors write the history books. Just today, I ordered a new, New Era cooperstown hat with the yellow faced, old-school Chief Wahoo to wear this season just to fight back against this so called “progress”.It’s ironic, as if it weren’t for self-loathing apologists, I could just wear my favorite old Block C.

    I personally love Wahoo and if the natives are so concered about it, they should have defended their homeland better centuries ago.

    I’m sure something more foolish and ignorant has been posted on this site over the years. I just can’t imagine what it might have been.

    I think I found what you were looking for…

    ” There are two restrictions on the membership card designs:

    1) We will not do a card based on the uniform of any team with a Native American-based name (Redskins, Indians, Braves, Chiefs, Warriors, Blackhawks, etc.), because we think those team names are inappropriate and we don’t want anything to do with them. We will, however, do cards based on the uniforms of the Utah Utes and the Florida State Seminoles, because the tribes that those teams are named after have given permission for their names to be used.”

    I’m somewhere in the middle on the issue and I don’t think it’s necessarily as black and white as some here would like to pretend that it is, but your post is easily one of the most ignorant things I have read in a very long time.

    Consider public reaction every time there is a mention of gun control…I see many parallels.

    paul, thank you so much for your stance throughout the (years?) on the dc football team’s name. i am a native washingtonian, born a skins fan, season ticket holder since 2005, and the name only becomes more and more of an embarrassment. this is the loudest i’ve heard the arguments, and honestly i can’t think of any good reason NOT to change the name other than stubbornness. i recognize it takes a lot of money to do the research and design needed to change a name, plus all of the rebranding and new merch.

    but that’s the key right there – MERCH. everybody will buy the new jerseys, car decals, throw blankets, banners, etc. there’s probably actual numbers out there on other teams’ rebranding efforts – i didn’t really look, but there must be stuff out there on the oilers>titans change, or the obvious choice of the bullets>wizards, not to mention the new miami (formerly florida) marlins, or the tampa bay (no longer devil) rays, or the now-brooklyn nets, etc. plus we’ll have the upcoming pelicans to compare, as well. and really, i don’t think this franchise needs to worry about the money so much. they make plenty: and they’re jacking up our prices (after keeping stagnant for 7 years, blah blah blah, still my hard earned money dammit.)

    i know that internet comment sections are cesspools, and i’m just asking for trouble even glancing at them, but it has been truly disheartening to see the responses to any washington post article or blog posting on this topic. (not to mention your new espn post… i wanted to bash my face against the wall. i’m pretty sure most of them didn’t even read the article. it hurts my brain.) most of the wapo comments seem to be along the lines of “people are too sensitive! why are you such a pc liberal! only guilty white people want to change the name!” that last one was my favorite on the article about mayor vince gray wanting the name changed. commenter might need to adjust his television set…

    another great one is people continuing to cite a study published in 1991 and holding it up as the gold standard. it didn’t take me 3 seconds of googling to find this: America Indians: Answers to Today’s Questions By Jack Utter
    (first edition 1993)
    and this: Articles: Let’s teach respect, not racism: Ethnic mascots demean American Indians, by Jeff Corntassel (1999)

    you can find what you’re looking for if you just look hard enough, i suppose. so it’s time for something updated – and it seems that we have that, in the form of the symposium held at the nmai last week. you can’t ask for something much more straightforward than that.

    so what does the team do? they don’t respond to invitations to the symposium. they don’t respond to media requests for statements. they take the passive aggressive approach, and start hiding behind high schools whose faculty and coaches say things like “I think it’s a great mascot, as all of the traits of a Redskins warrior are something to be admired. I’ve lived in Houston all my life and for this school to be called anything else would seem extremely strange.”

    if i wasn’t already offended, i am now. it is shameful and it is embarrassing to the fan base and to anyone else who has an ounce of empathy. the team’s “response” is worse than their silence, and it makes me feel sick to my stomach. but it also tells me that we MUST be approaching the tipping point.

    anyways, sorry for the tl;dr. been reading uni-watch for a couple years now and i enjoy what you’re doing.

    HTTP… hail to the pigskins.

    Great post, Jenn. Well said. And it wasn’t tl.

    Their stubbornness and intransigence will make the name change all the sweeter when it does come.

    apparently allen was quoted today as saying there was “no consideration” given to name change… additionally, and this is my favorite, “it’s ludicrous to think we’re trying to upset anybody.” no, i think we’ve established that you aren’t doing it intentionally. i fail to comprehend how this is the same thing as not doing it.


    He calls out Nike as he links to a picture of Russell Athletic. We get the point though.

    Why is all the responsibility being put on Nike. Should we not be holding the programs, the academic institutions themselves, the players and the fans all equally accountable for this type of phenomena?

    If a University decides to prostitute itself for the sake of looking ‘tight’ for the recruits, I’d say that the blaming the uniform provider is misdirected. The way I see it, it should be expected that a university to honor their tradition and do the best to maintain their image. At the end of the day, the university also has the final say on the use of a design. It’s the universities that ask for, and sign off on the one-offs and concept uniforms.

    Not that I’m campaigning for jersey manufacturers either, though. I just think that there’s enough blame for everyone and we shouldn’t always make it about the evil corporate giant.

    “He calls out Nike as he links to a picture of Russell Athletic. We get the point though.”


    I ‘called out’ Nike because they make Boise’s uniforms — and they also make MSU’s unis, and I am pretty sure they also make Oregon’s uniforms (I’d have to check that). Yes, ONE of the unis I linked to was manufactured by Russell. And I’m not bashing Nike for bashing Nike’s sake, but since the three schools mentioned in the post above mine were all made by Nike, they just happened to be in the line of fire.

    And while I don’t solely blame Nike for BFBS or GFGS, they certainly aren’t doing anything to stop it.

    And trust me, I prefer Nike to UA, adidas and Russell, so I’d love to bash them even further. But if you don’t think the uni manufacturers are the tail wagging the school uni dog, then you’ve really been away from UW for a long time. So long, you forgot what name you sued, er, used to use here.

    The comment about the Russell picture was a joke, which should been quite obvious. If we’re going to be thorough about it though, 3 of 5 photos featured Russell jerseys (and a 4th had a Russell jersey in white). I was simply amused by it, and perhaps it didn’t come across as I would have liked.

    Nike and co. exist to market products and make money. While they certainly deserve their fair share of criticism, my point was directed to the general sentiment that they are somehow the sole contributors to tasteless trends. Please review my post, I never said that you were bashing anybody. I was just offering my perspective, which is that those that have an actual vested interest in maintaining the visual image and integrity of an institution should shoulder a larger part of the criticism. The fact that Nike and co. pay large sums of money to big programs in order to hold official licensing rights is irrelevant to the point which is based on principle.

    Given the lack of desire to go further into the issue, and the late hour, and the likeliness that this will never be read,

    Have a good night. Best reagrds,

    I should have sued for a better name.

    The Kahnawake Condors are a club in the Quebec Junior AAA hockey league, it is situated on a Mohawk indian reserve just outside of Montreal. The club is privately owned by members of the Mohawk Tribe. They’ve been in the league since 1998.

    In the same league there’s a team called the Valleyfield Braves; which have a logo featuring a native sporting a mohawk. The team has no actual ties to a reserve or any indigenous community. They adopted the name change (formerly known as the Valleyfield Elites) in 1998, the same year that the Kahnwake Condors joined the league.

    There is also a team in the league called the Granby Inouk. What ties they could possibly have to the Inuit community, is a mystery to me. The name change took place after a move in 2005 (formerly the Coaticook Frontaliers). Their logo features an Inuit jumping out of some ice covered water.

    Two cases of people ‘honoring’ the native american, in a league that features a team owned by native americans. I wonder how they feel about the names and imagery.

    they pretty much all look like shit. Starting with, but not limited to, the stupid Blue Jays cap. We get it, you’re the only team in Canada (and I’m canadian, too, eh? the hat isn’t nice, nor is it interesting. As my gf would say, it’s ‘beige’).

    Do they have a second BP cap too — the BIG? That’s the only cap they should be wearing. Well, that or barrelman.

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