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Thomas Davis ‘Suits Up’ as a Panther One Last Time

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Longtime NFL linebacker Thomas Davis, who spent the first 13 of his 15 pro seasons with the Panthers, returned to Carolina yesterday to sign one of those one-day retirement contracts, so he could retire as a Panther. As you can see above, he marked the occasion by wearing a custom jacket and slacks patterned after the team’s uniform because, he said, he wanted to wear the uniform one last time.

A few notes about the outfit:

• When I first saw the photo shown above, for a second I thought Davis was wearing a backpack with Panthers-striped straps!

• Davis wore a captaincy patch and his Walter Payton award patch on his lapels, and the “58” on his mask appeared to be sewn on:

(As an aside, Thomas currently holds the record for having worn the Payton patch for the most teams: the Panthers, Chargers, and Washington.)

• Naturally, he had his number and nameplate on the back:

Note that there’s no period after the “SR,” which is consistent with how the Panthers handle generational suffixes. (For more on how certain teams do or don’t include the period in these situations, look here.)

• The piping on the Panthers’ uniform pants is tapered, but the piping on Davis’s slacks was not:

Side note: See Davis’s framed black jersey in the background? Tight end Greg Olsen also signed a one-day retirement contract yesterday, but he opted for the team’s alternate blue jersey — a surprising choice, given that it’s typically worn only a couple of times per season:

Davis has a history of wearing uni-inspired apparel. When he came onstage to announce the Panthers’ first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, he represented Carolina by wearing a teal suit with a purple tie — Charlotte Hornets colors:

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And when Davis’s alma mater, the University of Georgia, won the 2017 SEC championship, he showed up for the Panthers’ game the next day wearing a red UGA cap and a matching red suit:

Thomas Davis: Expanding the uni-verse into the realm of menswear, and vice-versa!

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What is “My favorite category this month”?: Mary and I will periodically go on a Jeopardy! kick, and we’re in the midst of one now. As we sat down on the sofa for last night’s episode, I was excited to see that one of the categories as “NBA Logos”! Hmmm, could there be a Uni Watch reader on the Jeopardy! staff?

I grabbed my phone so I could photograph the clues as they came up. It took a little while before the contestants delved into that category (they were initially more interested in lame-o categories like “It’s All Onions” and “Neck and Necking,” go figure), but they eventually got around to it.

One of the clues was the logo shown at right, along with the description, “One of this southern team’s logos is called the ‘Bird-de-Lis.'” The other clues were strictly verbal, as follows (click to enlarge):

Granted, those weren’t too difficult, but I was happy to see that all of the clues were answered accurately.

Imagine an entire uni-centric episode of Jeopardy! — that’s something we need to get working on.

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Oh for fuck’s sake: The latest step in our culture’s seemingly inevitable march toward Idiocracy came yesterday, as Michigan State University announced, apparently with a straight face, that its basketball team will henceforth be known as the “Michigan State Spartans Presented by [a large mortgage broker].”

After everyone checked the calendar to see if it was April 1 (it wasn’t), the reality began to set in that MSU had literally sold the name of its basketball team. To a mortgage company. For real. (Proofreader Jerry Wolper suggests that “MSU” should now stand for “Mortgage State University.”)

You all know what I think of this shit, so I won’t belabor the point. I will note, however, that it isn’t just awful on its own terms — it’s also a symptom of a larger illness in our culture. Sigh.

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Too good for the Ticker: What’s going on here? It’s the 1928 Toronto Maple Leafs doing outdoor calisthenics in full uniform! How great is that? The drill instructor is Cpl. Joe Coyne of the Royal Canadian Regiment, an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army.

Of course, lots of sports teams used to work out in their game uniforms, but it looks particularly amusing/endearing when a hockey team does it because (a) hockey uniforms are so unusual, what with the short pants and the striped stockings, and (b) it just seems weird to a see a fully uniformed hockey player wearing shoes on dry land.

(Big thanks to Brandon Weir for this amazing shot.)

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One print, two print, old print, new print: Earlier this week I mentioned that Todd Radom and I had found a small stash of our limited-edition 2018 “Rain Check” print that we had set aside for promo purposes and then forgotten about. We still have some of those — all signed by both Todd and myself — available on Todd’s website.

That got us thinking: With the Uni Watch Pin Club doing so well, how about a signed print showing all of last year’s designs? Something like this (click to enlarge):

We’re thinking 7″ x 5″, signed by both of us. We’d do a similar print at year’s end for the 2021 designs.

Before we pull the trigger on this, we’d like to get a sense of how many people might be interested in it. If that’s you, shoot me a note. Thanks!

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Podcast reminder: For this week’s episode, Chris and I discuss the ins and outs of retired numbers, along with the recent NFL leaks, the NBA All-Star Game, MLB’s new Lou Gehrig Day, whether team success or failure should dictate uniform choices, and more.

Due to a microphone issue that we weren’t aware of until after we recorded, my voice sounds more echo-y on this episode. Sorry about that, and hope it’s not too distracting.

As always, you can listen to us on Apple, Google, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify, or just use the player below:

The show notes from this episode, which include photos of many of the things we discussed, are here. Those photos (and some additional ones) also appear in the video version of the episode:

Please consider supporting this episode’s advertisers, Streaker Sports (20% off with checkout code UNIFIED), Homefield Apparel (15% off with checkout code UNIFIED), and Oxford Pennant (20% off with checkout code UNIFIED).

Enjoy the episode, and thanks for listening.

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The Ticker
By Anthony Emerson

Baseball News: MLB is testing out a bunch of rule changes in the minor leagues this season. One of them, being used at Triple-A, involves increasing the size of the bases. … The Wei Chuan Dragons, the newest team in the Taiwan-based Chinese Professional Baseball League, have unveiled their inaugural set of uniforms (from Kary Klismet and @BallparkHunter). … Here’s an interesting marijuana-inspired take on the Blue Jays’ logo, used by a coed softball team in Connecticut (from Stan Capp).

NFL News: Reader Cris Routh noticed that in 1978, Dolphins FB Norm Bulaich was wearing the team’s original helmet logo in at least four different games. That logo had been retired in 1973. Even odder, Bulaich didn’t join the Dolphins until 1975.

Hockey News: Canucks G Braden Holtby has a new Indigenous-designed mask that will be worn for away games (from Wade Heidt). … SaiPa goalie (and Kings draft pick) Juho Markkanen has ads on his pads. That seems like a bridge too far, even for the very ad-heavy Finnish league (from Jakob Fox). … The Sabres wore white at home by wearing their ЯR unis against the Pens yesterday (from @AnakinForrest). … Golden Knights owner Bill Foley says the team’s metallic gold helmets are here to stay.

Basketball News: The Bucks’ Chief Marketing Officer says the reason why every Bucks jersey reveal features a Khris Middleton jersey is because the team specifically requested a Middleton jersey for an unveiling several years ago and now the league just keeps sending them Middleton jerseys for their reveals (from @NicholasOfMKE). … Joel Geier found an old NBA team logo ruler from his elementary school days. Seeing as it includes the Bobcats but has the purple Bucks logo, it’s likely from 2005-ish. … Here’s a cool story about all the venues in Indiana hosting the NCAA tournament this year (from Kary Klismet).

Soccer News: Some English women’s teams are wearing a “Take a Stand” chest patch to promote social justice. Most patches are in black-and-white, but Everton wore a yellow-and-blue one, matching their change kit (thanks, Jamie). … New home shirt for Belarusian top-flight club Energetik-BGU Minsk (from Ed Żelaski). … Also from Ed: USL Championship side Indy Eleven have unveiled their new home kit. … São Paulo FC have unveiled their new home kit (from Marcos Vieira). … Nashville SC have unveiled new images of their new stadium, set to open in May 2022 (from Kary Klismet).

Grab Bag: Interesting note from Joseph Bailey, who works at Genesee Community College in upstate New York: “I saw these SUNY ‘Women’s Empowerment Draft’ cards in a colleague’s office. As you can see by the card checklist, there’s a variety of women represented. For Linda Cohn’s and Kim Pegula’s cards, Cohn’s card is green and yellow — the colors of her alma mater, SUNY-Oswego — and Pegula’s card is blue and white, obviously due to the Bills. I appreciate the attention to color by the designers.” … Junipero Serra High School in San Diego is changing its name to Canyon Hills High School/Mat Kwatup KunKun (the second part representing the school’s name in the indigenous Kumeyaay language) and its team name from “Conquistadors” to “Rattlers” following a student-led movement to raise awareness against the glorification of European colonialism and its negative impacts on Native Americans (from Kary Klismet). … One more from Kary: Here’s a story on actor Billy Barty, who led an effort in the 1990s to change the team name of Wanatah High School in Indiana from “Midgets” to “Racers”. … You can now vote to choose the logo of the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina, Italy (from Rob Altman).

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Our latest raffle winners are Patricia Wren, Sam Mostow, Greg Morrison, and Kevin Crothers, each of whom has won a Uni Watch membership card. Congrats to them, and my repeated thanks to Evan Friednash for sponsoring this one.

That’s it for this week. Stay well, stay safe, enjoy Phil’s weekend content, don’t forget to have your clocks spring forward, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. — Paul

Comments (47)

    I almost didn’t see the mention the Michigan State basketball team in today’s column. I’m surprised it wasn’t the lede. I’m generally indifferent to logo creep, advertising on unis, etc. I’m sure in the minority on this website. However, this arrangement really is above and beyond it all. There is something even worse about it being a college since the NCAA will hold up the athletes as “amateurs” but then milk every single penny out of the team as long as it doesn’t go towards the actual players.

    came here to say the same exact thing. i’d rather not see ads on jerseys, but i can mostly ignore it, so it doesn’t distract me while watching a game. but this is just silly.

    The Michigan State story is obscene. I get that athletic department budgets took a hit due to the pandemic but it’s a state funded institution. If anything the MSU Basketball team is provided by the taxpayers of the state of Michigan. I’m sure the players will see a cut of that sponsorship deal too (yes, that’s sarcasm).

    Can’t speak to MSU specifically, but you’d be surprised how little most states support “state institutions.” I work at a major state flagship, and our former president used to say we once were state supported, now we’re state assisted, and we’re headed toward state located. The state provides well under 10% of our operating budget, and we’re not unusual.

    I can see the scene when the Jeopardy categories appeared…PL was more excited than Cliff Claven when playin his Dream Board of (“Civil Servants”, “Stamps from Around The World”, “Mothers and Sons”, “Beer”, “Bar Trivia”, “Celibacy”). Tug, I got this.

    The Michigan State story is obscene. I get that athletic department budgets took a hit due to the pandemic but it’s a state funded institution. If anything the MSU Basketball team is provided by the taxpayers of the state of Michigan. I’m sure the players will see a cut of that sponsorship deal too (yes, that’s sarcasm).

    Ticker correction:

    Nasvhille SC’s new stadium is set to open in May of 2022, not this year. Mea cupla, as it looks like I inadvertently neglected to type out the full date in my transmitting email and instead referred to it as “May 22.”

    I like the Panthers suit. I hope he took out a patent/trademark/copyright/whatever protection on that idea and makes his second fortune in the apparel trade.

    Can’t wait to see the cream-sickle Bucs-inspired one!

    it just seems weird to a see a fully uniformed hockey player wearing shoes on dry land.

    Not very dry,though…looks quite muddy.

    Great picture. Looks as if they’re performing Riverdance!

    between this michigan state story and the whole les miles thing, I really hate college athletics and how so many schools are beholden to sports, especially given the crapbags in charge of said sports.

    That Dolphins helmet logo error is really crazy. The logos are similar but not that similar that several years later the wrong logo would still be used.
    However I’ve always somewhat appreciated what happened in 1973 as being the antithesis of the way new logos, uniforms, etc are rolled out with such fanfare and hype now.

    Maybe Dolphins ran out of then-current helmet stickers, and had to use the old ones?
    The mid 1970s Dolphins were perhaps the NFL’s worst at mismatched uniforms. In 1972 the Dolphins played the entire season – including the Super Bowl – with half of the starters wearing striped sleeves and heat-pressed numerals, and the other half wearing no stripes jerseys with sewn-on numerals.

    It always cracked me up back when we had the “Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway”. The whole corporate theater/advertising doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it seems to bother most of the people around here, but for a major-league team to need a “presenting sponsor” is just embarrassing. The vibe it gives is “We’re so close to financial ruin, we literally had to sell our name,” and I just don’t think that’s the message you want to send at the highest level of your sport.

    And yeah, as a Penguins fan who might hate the Wings even more than Paul hates the Yankees, I may be reading a bit into that ;-)

    Just wait for the “Seattle Kraken, brought to you from Amazon’s Climate Pledge Arena”. New logo for the Krack will be a dustcloth and a can of Pledge.


    Clicking the image for Pin Club print instead brings up the image for the ticket prints.

    Anyone else see the irony in the new mascot chosen for the former Junipero Serra High School? -C.

    Well, thinking biblically, the snake is the devil in the Garden of Eden narrative, and accursed by God. So, in an ironic twist, you’d have a snake conquering a Saint (someone celebrated as in heaven and with God).

    This just in out of East Lansing: MSU guard Rocket Watts will now be referred to as Rocket Mortgage Watts

    Love the photos of the Leafs doing dry-land training. One remarkable thing for me is how small the team is – a dozen guys in camp!

    Anyway, the complete story is here. The training camp was in Port Elgin, Ontario (a small cottage town).


    Davis’s suit reminds me of how John Riggins ran out on the field in full uniform for his induction into the ring of honor in Washington.

    I was on Jeopardy back in 2018 and two or three episodes before mine they had a category similar to this one but for NHL logos. I was in the audience for that episode’s taping and I was so upset that I wouldn’t get to use my knowledge gleaned from Uni Watch and play that category!

    How cool that you earned the chance to compete!

    I’ve always thought that they should make a rule where if you run the table on a category, you should be given bonus money toward your total before final jeopardy.

    I’m sure you woulda cleaned up, Lindsay!

    I come from a heavily Michigan State alumni family, including my wife, father, three uncles, aunt and many friends. I grew up rooting for the Spartans, although I am the black sheep that graduated for Western Michigan. I still will root for MSU, but crap like this makes it easier and easier not to.

    Honestly, as a university professor myself, I’m happy any time a university decides to take money from somewhere other than students. If I could design the world from scratch, I’d have universities get all the money they need from corporate advertising and give the students free tuition.

    Right. It seems like a win-win, the school gets funding and the company gets exposure. The taxpayers nor students are hit. Seems like no harm is done.

    Paul and others here seem to act like this sort of thing should be looked upon as “obscene”, but nobody can really explain who is harmed…

    Actually, Jasper, I’ve never said it’s “obscene,” and I’ve explained many times why it’s harmful.

    Here, I’ll explain it again: There’s a difference between a market economy and a market *society.* The former is a form of doing business; the latter turns *everything* into a form of doing business. There are no morals, no ethics, no taste, no right or wrong — just transactional mercenary interests. Maybe you’re OK with that, but some of us aren’t.

    But you are okay with it, otherwise you’d stop making a living reporting on such things.

    Actually, Paul, I owe you an apology as that comment came across as much more harsh than I intended. I should have elaborated more…

    What I was getting at is that none of us like logo/advertiser creep, but we all more or less accept it. For example, I’d certainly prefer a sports world without corporate stadium names or ad patches on NBA jerseys, but I’m not going to stop attending or watching games because of it. So there is very little incentive for teams/universities to not continue down this path as it’s not hurting their bottom line. Fans still continue to watch.

    So there might be a point where it all gets to be too much and we collectively start tuning out, but until then we’re all “okay” with it, if that makes sense.

    Apology accepted.

    I am most assuredly not OK with it, which is why I keep speaking out against it.

    You seem to be implying — and forgive me if I’m getting this wrong, but I *think* this is what you’re saying — that the only two options are take it or leave it. In other words, boycott or don’t. And if you don’t boycott, then you’re complicit.

    But in most situations, including this one, there are lots of options besides taking it or leaving it — lots of shades of grey in between the black and white extremes. Instead of leaving something, we can critique it, protest it, offer feedback, try to make it better, etc. Even if we don’t succeed, our efforts may forestall or at least delay similar developments in other areas.

    Obviously, we all have to choose our battles. This is one I’ve chosen; other people may let this one go and choose others instead. That doesn’t necessarily mean approval; it’s just the reality of limited personal bandwidth.

    I understand that naming just about everything on a campus after donors is now part of the landscape, but at least those names are permanent. And the idea of taking Microsoft Excel Calculus 101 in the Joe’s Toyota Lecture Hall is entirely unappealing, unless one of the institution’s goals is to convince students that everything is for sale.

    Kind of a tangential take on the story about the renamed Canyon Hills High School/Mat Kwatup KunKun, but I would urge grads of a school who want to keep their Indian mascots to instead name the *school* after American Indians. At least then the talk of paying tribute to our Indian brethren would stop being a canard and have some actual meat on its bones.

    Goalies in European hockey leagues routinely have advertising on their pads and gloves, so this isn’t anything really new.

    The Michigan State thing is ridiculous, but really, isn’t it just the next step down that slippery slope? Dan Gilbert’s gotta launder that drug money somehow! We’ve had corporate names on buildings (the Schottenstein became Value City Arena, FFS) for years. As long as they don’t put an ad on the uniforms or use MSSPB(lmb) in broadcasts.

    Of course, they make this announcement, and then screw the pooch in the B1G tournament. Karma bites hard….

    I get that a lot of you don’t like the advertising from the teams’ perspective. But I don’t understand it from the perspective of the advertiser. Like, a TV or radio commercial where you can convey a tone and build a unique brand is obviously beneficial. But how is just slapping your logo/name on something helping your brand in any way?

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