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Very Bad Sports Marketing Idea: Making Heroes Grovel for Cash

Back in March 2020, when the plague was just getting started, I wrote that the pandemic would probably result in the sports world reassessing its concept of heroism — for the better, or so I thought. Unfortunately, a promotion by the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede shows that we’re not there yet.

You’ve probably heard about this by now, but just in case: On Saturday night, a local mortgage company in Sioux Falls, S.D., put up $5,000 in $1 bills to be given away to local teachers in a “Dash for Cash.” Ten teachers, chosen from a larger pool of applicants, were marched out onto the ice wearing oversized T-shirts emblazoned with the logos of the Stampede and the mortgage company (#alwaysuniwatching). Then they got down on their knees and had a set amount of time to scoop up as many dollar bills as possible and stuff them in their shirts. In return for participating in this spectacle, they were able to put their monetary harvests, which ranged from $378 to $616, toward their classroom expenses. (If you want more info, there’s a good overview here, and there are lots of other articles because the whole thing has apparently gone viral, although I didn’t hear about it until the Tugboat Captain mentioned it to me last night.)

The “dash for cash” concept is not new. There are a few variations on it, like the money booth. They’re all sort of undignified and demeaning to the participants, but there’s an intuitive cultural understanding that the indignity is a fair sanction — a form of moral justice, even — considering the greed involved. The punishment fits the crime.

Similarly, we all understand that minor league sports teams have all sorts of silly promotions that can be mildly embarrassing to fans who participate: the dizzy bat race, the inflatable pony race, the half-court shot, and so on. But again, we all understand intuitively that these are harmless, low-stakes stunts where the indignity is outweighed by the fun, and where even the losers often get some sort of consolation prize.

But offering a bunch of professional educators the “opportunity” to literally get down on their hands and knees and grovel for dollar bills while a crowd brays and points, all while serving as billboards for the two organizations that are “sponsoring” the experience, and all for the “privilege” of being able to stock their classrooms with the proper tools and materials, is neither a moral parable nor harmless fun. That would have been true even before the pandemic, because teachers have always been heroes. But running this promotion now, after all that teachers have dealt with over the past 21 months, is in an entirely different category. It’s a symptom of a societal illness.

Whenever I say that schools shouldn’t poach pro teams’ logos or sell the naming rights to their football venues, I always hear the same thing: “Hey, what do you expect? School budgets are tight!” But school budgets don’t become tight all by themselves. They end up that way because of choices — usually a long series of choices — about public policy, taxation, and cultural priorities. It’s almost certainly not just coincidence that this “dash for cash” took place in the state that has the second-lowest teacher pay in the nation while also serving as America’s biggest tax haven for billionaires.

Think about some of the other people who the sports world routinely recognizes as heroes: veterans, cops, firefighters, EMTs. Many of those groups face budgetary shortfalls as well. Now imagine any of them being asked to humiliate themselves by getting down on their hands and knees and competing against their colleagues for scraps like sideshow clowns or zoo animals. It’s unthinkable, right? If any of those other groups needed money, the team would present a giant check at center ice before the game. I was hoping in that March 2020 piece that teachers would finally be accorded that kind of status in the sports world’s social hierarchy, but I guess I was too optimistic about that.

I know the USHL is a junior league, plus this is just one incident, plus-plus it’s a good sign that there’s already been a lot of negative reaction, blah-blah-blah — I know, I know. But come on. How could a team, any team, green-light this?

I know the Uni Watch readership includes a lot of teachers. What do you all think of this? I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts, even if you disagree with my take. Similarly, if you have kids, what would you think if you saw their teachers doing this?

Meanwhile, here’s a thought: The 10 teachers who took part in this wretched display were the ones who were “fortunate” enough to be chosen to participate. The ones who applied but didn’t get chosen will have to come up with other ways to supplement their class-supply rations.

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Are you ready for some (really bad-looking) football? Speaking of unfortunate spectacles, last night’s Rams/Cardinals game was a doozy — mono-bone vs. bloodclot. Yikes!

Also of note: Three players who were formerly teammates of Demaryius Thomas wore memorial decals for him. Rams linebacker Von Miller wore the same decal that the Broncos wore on Sunday:

On the Arizona side, wideout Deandre Hopkins and kicker Matt Prater wore a black “88”:

(My thanks to everyone who brought the memorial decals to my attention.)

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Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Fran Tarkenton has done a lot in his life: NFL MVP, nine-time Pro Bowler, had his No. 10 retired by the Vikings, co-host of the TV show That’s Incredible!, and more. But did you know that he was also featured on this beer keg tap? Fran also loaned his name to this “Pass Play tethered football trainer.” 

Now for the rest of this week’s picks:

• Last week we featured a football program cover from artist Lon Keller, who also did the art for this 1960s RCA football store display. (Fun fact: Mr. Keller also happened to create a certain Bronx-based baseball team’s top hat logo!) 

• Speaking of the Yankees, here’s their interlocking “NY” logo on a 1930s children’s beanie cap

• These 1972 and ’73 Miami Dolphins yearbooks are a great example of 1970s sports art. The bold striping and year font are typical design cues of the era. Here’s the same look on a 1972 season CD. The Fins also used this look for other seasons, like 1979.

• Rack ’em up with these Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings billiard balls

• The “Disco NY” logo appears on this mid-1970s New York Giants iron-on transfer.

• Here’s another helmet transfer, this time for the Saints — but with a white fleur de lis logo, instead of the usual black.

• All then-current 26 NFL team logos shown on this 1970s bath towel from Bibb.

• I remember seeing a San Diego Chargers gumball helmet like this one at a Dallas drug store in 1971. The improperly designed lightning bolt drove me crazy — even back then, I Got It™.

• This Tampa Bay Bucs equipment trunk is beat to heck, but it’s rendered in Bucco Bruce colors, so that makes it Collector’s Corner-worthy. CC loves Bucco Bruce!

• Tasco had an NFL license but chose to use generic player artwork on this pair of 1970s binoculars

• Here’s something you don’t often see: a Chicago Bears die-cast delivery van from 1995. 

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Too good for the Ticker: Back when baseball cleats had those long, fold-over tongues, it wasn’t so unusual to see a player writing his uni number on the exposed underside of the tongue. (This came up just a few weeks ago, in fact, in my Bill Virdon obituary.) Until now, though, I don’t think I’d ever seen, or at least I’d never noticed, a tongue-inscribed number formatted as a Roman numeral, as shown on Willie Stargell in the photo above. That’s pretty cool!

After I tweeted that photo last night, I was informed that Stargell sometimes (but not always) used Roman numerals on his cap undervisors as well:


Players in all sports often write their uni numbers on their gear, of course. Are there any other examples that involve Roman numerals?

(Big thanks to Samuel Barrett for the first photo and to Chrisopher Leopardi for the cap photo.)

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Oh. My. God. My friend Carrie, who’s a designer and typography geek, took this photo directly under the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge. The sign once adorned the entry to a WPA-commissioned building that once stood on that site but is was later demolished.

The lettering, which reads “Purchase Department, City of New York,” is so completely amazing! Seeing this photo really made my day, and I hope to check out the site myself soon.

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Teespring shipping snafu reminder: If you ordered one of our December “Swinging Santa” pins and either (a) received an empty mailer; (b) received more pins than you ordered; or (c) haven’t received anything at all, please let me know ASAP so I can make the proper arrangements.

I’m pretty sure we can get this all straightened out. Thanks for your patience, and doubleplusthanks to the people who are graciously mailing their extra pins to people who got stuck with empty mailers.

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The Ticker
By Alex Hider

Baseball News: There’s a (new?) product that lets you hang your baseball caps by the squatchee, so the front logo is facing forward. What’s it called? The Squatchee! (From Benji Boyter) … Braves LF Ronald Acuña Jr. wore a royal blue throwback cap during a recent BP session. Could a throwback uni be in the works? (From Austin Perry). … A 1989 episode of Married … with Children showed Bud and Al wearing pretty cool-looking softball uniforms — complete with stirrups (from Chris Flinn).

NFL News: It looks like Super Bowl LVIII in 2024 will be held in Las Vegas. Here’s hoping they don’t stick with the generic SB logo for that one.

Hockey News: Bruins RW David Pastrňák naturally goes by the nickname “Pasta.” Now, Pasta has his own pasta line. The best part? A box costs just 88 cents, to match his jersey number (from @PhillyPartTwo). … New mask design for Sabres G Malcolm Subban (from Wade Heidt). … Speaking of the Sabres, they’re selling replica jerseys for their team dog — not surprising since there aren’t many Sabres players doing too well this season. … The next two items are from Brandon Weir:  When Oilers D Kris Russell recently broke the NHL record for most blocked shots, his teammates gave him a pair of silver shinguards. Pretty unique gift! … Mattel is currently selling a hockey-themed Barbie doll. While the doll doesn’t come with gloves, it does come with a pretty slick striped No. 59 jersey (the number apparently represents the year of Barbie’s debut). Also available: Barbie in a Tim Hortons hockey uniform. … Not sure who put these together, but Johnny Woods found someone redesigning NHL logos for the holiday season.

Basketball News: It was hard to tell the Hawks and Rockets apart during pregame activities last night, because both teams wore solid-red warm-up gear (from Paul Mata).

Soccer News: The Professional Footballers’ Association, the union representing English and Welsh players, awards its “Player of the Month” a retro version of their club’s jerseys (from Germán Cabrejo). … This is a pretty entertaining Twitter thread — a discussion of the best and worst halftime entertainment at a soccer match (from Trevor Williams). … Also from Trevor: Arsenal’s 2011-12 away kit looks eerily similar to an outfit worn by a dancer in the video for “Give It Up” by KC and The Sunshine Band — and that might not be a stretch, because supporters used that song as a cheer for MF Samir Nasri in the years before the kit made its debut.

Olympics: This blog attempts to explain why Nike’s Olympic hockey uniforms always seem to miss the mark (from Robert Haner).

Grab Bag: Tulsa has updated its logo to change the script lettering from blue to gold (from Matthew Spencer and Dan Bewley). … The Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League debuted new black uniforms over the weekend (from Wade Heidt). … The Michigan man who started a company that sells enormous football and hockey helmets is still growing his business despite a cystic fibrosis diagnosis (from Brandon Weir). … We have two notes on Polish volleyball from Jeremy Brahm: Asseco Resovia has a strange number font that has jagged lines that break up the numerals. … GKS Katowice Siatkowka wore memorial armbands yesterday to mark the 30th anniversary of a local mining accident. … The Army has unveiled new ID badges for inspectors general (from Timmy Donahue). … Formula 1 reserves car No. 1 for reigning champions, should they choose to switch numbers. After claiming the 2021 championship on Sunday, Max Verstappen has confirmed he will drive No. 1 in 2022. He’s the first driver since Sebastian Vettel to choose to drive car No. 1 (from our own Anthony Emerson). … It’s easy to get lost in this Twitter thread of memorable sports magazine covers (from @Chris_Grosse). … A Redditor gave the holiday treatment to Maine’s state flag.

Comments (111)

    I’m a high school math teacher in a midwestern state. I’m certainly disheartened by the situation that happened at the stampede game. I will say that I can understand how a PR department could make the connection of “Hey, let’s give some money to teachers… but how?” “How about that money booth thing?” “No, let’s go bigger, let’s do it for 10 teachers.” “Yeah!” I can see how the people who came up with idea legitimately thought they were doing the right thing.
    I will also say that it didn’t come as uch of a shock to me. The pandemic was pretty discouraging to me and ha really made me question the value of my profession. The main reason for this was when public officials were discussing reopening schools. Those officials almost entirely talked about opening schools so that parents would be able to go back to their workplaces instead of having to care for their children at home. It made me realize how much education is viewed as a daycare service.

    As someone who works both in education and sports marketing, these are very close to my thoughts.

    I was hesitant to look down upon the promotion at first because I honestly wondered whether it was truly a one-off or if it was the kind of thing they did every game and, this time, teachers just happened to be the “beneficiaries.” Many of the lower-level teams I’ve worked with simply use the same promotions from one game to the next with the contestants being the only interchangeable pieces. If that had been the case — if it had been first responders dashing for cash the game prior, or kids from the Little League like the one scene in Bull Durham, or whatever — then I was going to say that the morality play that was making the promotion go viral as a statement on how teachers are treated might have been misplaced.

    But further reading revealed that no, it was a one-off thing specifically aimed at educators, which does make it feel a tad more skeezy.

    Still, while I am one to believe the intent wasn’t probably as ill-intended as the viral interpretation has been, I also am one to believe people aren’t nearly as good at understanding optics from a perspective other than their own as they should be — and while that surprises me to a certain extent, given the age we live in, it also doesn’t surprise me in that I’ve seen enough instances first-hand where people don’t think a few steps ahead that, unfortunately, I’m used to it by now.

    Pretty much any time you do anything promotionally, the first questions that should be asked, at a very high conceptual level, are simply, “What could go wrong? How could this turn against us?” I see it so often, whether it be a team naming itself the Sky Carp (how easy will it be for fans to call them the “Sky Crap” when they’re not playing well) to promotions like this. After brainstorming ideas, the next step is supposed to be questioning their value. Skipping that step seems like a fairly fatal error, yet I see it happen so damn much.

    Then again, that’s probably in part because of how little we value education. “Just teach me what I need to know to get a job.” Yes, what you need to know to get a job is how to think critically and problem-solve within established rules, which is the higher-level concept learning things like trig, physics, algebra, English and the arts is about. No, you may not need to use the Pythagorean Theorem again after high school, but if you show the ability to learn how to use it and a lot of other skills to solve problems, you’ll have a better ability to solve just about any problem using whatever set of tools are pertinent to your job, which means you will do your job better.

    It’s frustrating to me, but it’s also something I think a lot of people don’t, and don’t even want to, get, particularly the already privileged. “Just give me what I want and don’t make me think about it, like an ‘A’ or money or a job or whatever.” No, that’s not how it works, or at least not how it should work.

    So yeah, I’m not too worked up over some sports marketing folks that didn’t think something through. It happens a lot. I’m more worked up about the higher-level issues with education that people are talking about as a result of this. And, oddly enough, if this results in folks focusing on funding education better, then maybe this will all be for the good in the end.

    I’m a teacher. I don’t disagree with anything you said regarding the reprehensible promotion at the hockey game, Paul. But I also think the societal disrespect which allows such an event to happen in the first place has something in common with why such an event can go massively viral. There is something close to a fetishization of the never-ending unjust plight of the educator in this country that I find uncomfortable. And I think we lower the bar of what we deserve with the constant pounding of the narrative that teachers are disrespected, unduly put upon, and underpaid (not that I disagree, but statistically, we make more than the average worker, in some cases much more). And to be fair, I think it’s quite possible that no one is more responsible for loving to perpetuate this narrative than teachers themselves, much in the way that no one loves lawyer jokes more than lawyers.

    I hadn’t ever thought about it that way, but I agree with you. Similarly, I didn’t realize how well I am paid (as a 10th year teacher) until I found out that I am well above the median income in my state.

    I am not a teacher myself, but have several immediate family members that are, as well as close friends. They say pretty much the same thing as you are saying here. My brother-in-law always says some teachers will always find ways to complain and make themselves felt put upon, regardless of how good they have it.
    I happen to live in a state with the most powerful teachers union in the country, so experience here surely differs than other places. I think on one hand it is completely correct to say we don’t properly value the importance of teachers in our society. But that doesn’t inherently make teachers heroes.
    What is probably the most troubling part of all this is, regardless of profession, the idea that for entertainment we watch people in need of extra money scramble around in such a demoralizing manner, it is perverse.
    Surely there are less demeaning ways you can have people attempt to win money, it is a hockey game after all, have a contest for who can score the most goals from the blue line.

    I would agree with you that, as a profession, teachers are better than most at finding things to complain about- my personal theory is that when you spend all day around kids, they rub off on you and you start acting like them, for better or worse- but I think there’s also something in the air right now that makes it feel justified. I came to teaching late, after almost 15 years in the private sector, and the lack of respect for teachers and public education right now is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m probably somewhat more sensitive to it because I’m a social studies teacher and we’ve been taking some unfair flak lately, but things like the disruptions of school board meetings and the flat out disrespect for the profession and individual teachers is beyond anyone fetishizing anything.

    Your comment about “fetishization” is spot-on. We exalt teachers, policemen, firefighters, nurses with words, and ONLY words.

    Any time one of these groups asks for financial support, suddenly they’re seen as leeches and ingrates.

    Once upon a time, we had a vital union movement in this country, but over the last 50 years it’s been crushed by those whose only concern is kowtowing to those in power. It’s disgusting and it’s going to lead to even more of this bullshit…

    “We exalt…policemen…with words, and ONLY words.”

    These are the same policemen who routinely harass and shoot and murder minorities, right?

    The same police who now look like the goddamn Navy Seals with all the body armor and camo gear they wear, right?

    The same police who use vehicles originally designed for and sold EXCLUSIVELY to the military such as APC’s, right?

    “Once upon a time, we had a vital union movement in this country, but….it has been crushed by those whose only concern is kowtowing to those in power.”

    How have the police unions been crushed? They are more powerful than ever.

    Most of your commentary about police officers is inflammatory and not relevant to this discussion. Let’s please not go down that road — thanks.

    The bit about police unions still being very strong despite the relative demise of the American labor movement, however, is germane to the discussion. Good point.

    You raise a good point about police unions. I’m guessing the reason those have thrived is because they are able to garner support from “law and order” types, who are generally the same people who regularly despise any other type of union.

    This is like saying a plane crash “worked” because everyone knows about it.

    Exposure, especially negative exposure, is not a measure of success.

    You’re right, assuming that the negative exposure leads to meaningful change. If it does not, it’s just ‘good’ marketing for the jackals that sanctioned it.

    Well, no. Even if it doesn’t lead to meaningful change, that doesn’t automatically make the negative exposure a positive thing. Failure to lose is not the same thing as winning.

    What a disgusting comment. How are those two anywhere close to the same? People literally die in plane crashes. There are no companies saying “Hey let’s give money to get exposure for crashing a plane full of people on it”. I get negative exposure is not always a measure of success, but this ain’t it…

    Yes, I used an intentionally extreme example to make the point more obvious.

    Substitute “dumpster fire” for “plane crash” if you prefer.

    Hi Paul,

    I’ve been a high school science teacher for nearly 20 years and a UniWatch reader for almost as long. (I’m the guy who did the NBA uniform data scrape/spreadsheet for you last spring.)

    My feelings about the “dash for cash” largely mirror what you’ve written.

    When I first saw it it made my stomach turn. I found it to be disgusting, and I was (and still am) embarrassed for the teachers involved. I also feely sympathy for them and empathize with what teaching in South Dakota must be like for them to subject themselves to this promotion. I am lucky to work in a state and town that values education and funds it accordingly.

    I do want to point out that the team and the mortgage company have issued joint a statement (link) in which they apologize and commit to donating some additional money, no groveling required. Still, this idea never should’ve made it out of the pitch meeting.

    Teachers have to put up with a lot shit, and therefore need to have thick skin if they want to last. But this got under my skin more than usual for some reason.

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents (which I didn’t need to pick up off of a carpet.)

    The fact that it was a mortgage company did make it especially disgusting, given how Americans have converted their former savings into the ownership of real estate which is always assumed to rise in value. Thus allowing them to “prepare” for their future comfort while whining that they don’t get paid enough to support public education. The mortgage companies are one of the engines of this Ponzi scheme. Presumably one day our homes will each be worth a billion $, while society has fallen into barbarism.

    Rams vs Cards. What a mess. How has AZ stuck with that wreckage for this long? And The Rams? What a shame.. Is there a single team that can say their Nike era duds are the best in their history?

    Apparently the Cardinals ownership only recently found out how reviled their uniforms are, especially by the home fans. Seems they are willing to make a change though.
    I have to agree last night was probably one of the worst uniform matchups you could have in the NFL.
    Whenever I see the Rams uniforms I wonder who designed these and thought they looked good, and who on the Rams saw the design and said, “yep, this is our new look”. Aside from picking the right shades of blue and yellow they got everything else wrong with this Rams rebrand.

    Those Rams unis should be burned and the white/yellow ones they added this year should take their place (at least until they can overhaul in 4 years or whenever they’re allowed). As if those things aren’t bad enough, the wordmark patch with the white background puts it over the top. Why not give it the same background color as the jersey? It just helps point out how awfully “colored” that mess is.

    Thanks to a case of COVID in my family, my kid had to stay home from school and work remotely. I took on the brunt of duties as a sort of teaching assistant to keep him on task and make sure he completed schoolwork. After that minimal experience, I would happily pay additional taxes to make sure teachers never need to demean themselves for basic classroom supplies. Also, the patience and dedication teachers display every day is nothing short of amazing.

    Couple notes from the Ronald Acuña, Jr. picture….he has a licensing deal with New Era and pre-pandemic they released several custom hats that he helped design, which were available at the Braves Team Store. So could be a custom piece, but hopefully the throwback associated with that hat will make an appearance this year! Also, he’s pictured wearing Nike shoes but has a shoe deal with New Balance, so interesting that he would post that pic with Nikes so clearly visible.

    Regarding the Formula 1 car numbers: prior to 2014, teams were assigned numbers by the organization that ran F1, with the world champion assigned 1; their teammate assigned 2, and the rest in the order in which teams finished the prior year’s constructors championship. Drivers did not have claim on a specific number.

    In 2014, F1 changed its policy, and each driver was able to choose a number which would be theirs for their entire career, no matter which team they drove for. Since that time, no driver has chosen to use 1 as world champion, until now.

    F1 has had several methods to assign numbers in the period before 2013 as well – in fact, prior to 1974, the numbers were assigned by race organizers, and therefore changed race-by-race throughout the season.

    FWIW, in Indycar and NASCAR, numbers are assigned to the teams, and in other race series, the numbers are assigned through other means.

    The system between 1974 and 1996 was bizarre – teams would get numbers when they entered the sport, but when a driver won the World Championship, they would swap numbers with the team currently holding the #1 and #2 entries.

    Ferrari got it’s famous #27/#28 cars when Alan Jones won the WDC in 1980 – Williams was a relatively young team and had very high numbers, and that resulted in Ferrari getting #27/28.

    As iconic as those numbers are for Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari reportedly hated having such high numbers on his cars.

    Saw a comment on social media yesterday describing the Rams’ uniforms as ‘that one pillow you’ve kept since you were five, without a pillowcase.’

    I know ‘Dishwater’ is the preferred term for the color their road uniforms are, but I think this is a pretty good backup haha

    The wife looked up from her phone for a second to peek at the game (she had no interest, we’re Raider fans) and says, “ is it just me or do the Rams look dingy?” Gave me a good laugh. I told her we call them “dishwater”, she thought that was a perfect name for it.

    Does Matthew Stafford hold the distinction? as the only player to wear the two worst mono grey NFL uniforms?

    On the Squatchee hat display. It’s definitely not a new concept as I had something similar when I was in high school in the 1990s.
    My wife is not a Uni-Watch reader but tolerates my obsession with uniforms and my ever-growing Uni-Watch merch collection. She is a teacher. I texted her this one. She is thoroughly disgusted by this whole idea but says she understands why the teachers did it. We spend a considerable amount of our personal budget to outfit her classroom, so I can see it, too.

    I love the Willie Stargell Roman numerals! So classy.

    Probably the classiest use of Roman numerals I have seen in sports other than when the Big 12 started and on their courts and fields they put XII for 12 on one side for the new conference, and IIX for 8 on the other side to honor the legacy of the old conference. That was pretty neat.

    But ‘IIX’ is meaningless as a number. It’s a cool example of symmetry, but a bad example of design considerations overtaking meaning.

    Romans would sometimes use IIX for 8. By now we’ve codified Roman numerals, but when they were part of a living language, people sometimes played fast and loose. IIXX would have been more common for 18 than IIX for eight, though. 8 had it’s own name (octo), but 18 was spoken as “duodeviginti” or “two from twenty.” Both uses are irregular and rare, but not without precedent.

    Great pic of Willie Stargell and I love that font. It’s so much better than what the Pirates currently use.

    I definitely agree. I was actually looking at nice pictures of Stargell in that better Pirates uniform when I saw that picture and sent it to Paul.

    Willie Stargell was the epitome of class.
    Quick story: back on the late 70s my little brother sent him a few crayon drawings with a note telling him he was his favorite player etc. A couple weeks later, he received in the mail a signed photo & a hand written letter from the man himself about how those drawings made him feel good all day long.
    Now get this- he called our house in NY to make sure the package was received. Idk who was more excited, my bro or my pop.

    Think it was a pretty bad idea to add the white/yellow accents on those bone uniforms. They barely are visible unless there is a closeup. May go down as one of the worst uniforms ever. Some pretty bad ones in my opinion are also the 90’s era Bills and the Favre era Vikings.

    I don’t know that anything has been worse than the blue on blue 90’s Bills. Anytime I see that uni, I almost audibly say “how did that make it onto the field?”

    I think you mean the 2000s Bills, if you’re referring to the navy/royal Bills with the extraneous red piping around the shoulders.

    Chiming in as a teacher here and as others have said, I agree with your sentiment totally. The one piece I’ll add is that in addition to the comparison to all those other professions you pointed out, teachers are typically required to have (sometime significantly) more education than most jobs. Until recently, my state required teachers to have a minimum of a Master’s degree, plus we still have annual continuing education requirements. Imagine doctors or lawyers or college professors being asked to demean themselves like that, that’s the level of education and professionalism we’re talking about. I’d say the outcry would be huge, but that would require someone even thinking to ask that of them. No one would, not just because they respect them, but because all of those professions are (sometimes over)paid according to their education and value to society. And yet, the lack of respect and investment in education makes it okay for teachers to be treated that way….

    That spectacle in SD was awful. You summed up the problems really well, Paul, so thank you. And thank you for letting us know, as I for one had not heard about that travesty at all.

    We’re paying the wrong folks umpty millions. LeBron, Brady, Gronk, any 4th year NFL QB shouldn’t be getting the money they do. It should be going to those who are educating our next generation in STEM, the arts, etc.

    But what else would one expect from a society that’s been stood on its head.

    Sure, but how did it come about that the teams that employ those athletes are worth several billion $ each, keep growing in value even when they claim to be losing $, and get free stadiums built for them so they won’t move away? Sports is only as wealthy as we make it from our own pockets, the arguing is about how that money should be distributed between owners, coaches and players.

    And from our own pockets is where the schools are also funded. But it only takes a few thousand pro athletes to entertain 300,000,000 Americans, so it’s relatively cheap compared to educating 20,000,000 kids. Our value problem is that we value entertainment as much as civilization when the latter naturally should be thousands of times more expensive to maintain.

    I agree that very few people should be paid $20MM/yr, but when the sport is worth billions of dollars, who does that money go to? In a great world, perhaps athletes could be paid a reasonable salary plus pension and medical care, and all those excess billions could go to the community. In our world, at least the players are doing something with more value to me than most sports owners these days.

    Similarly, we all understand that minor league sports teams have all sorts of silly promotions…where the indignity is outweighed by the fun…

    Nothing, I don’t think, will ever top link.

    Ralph Ellison’s battle royal scene in Invisible Man could have been a cautionary tale if only the marketing staff who designed this teacher dash for cash had followed their teacher’s advice and opened a book. What happened in Sioux Falls is shameful and expected. We live in a rotten society that needs a lot of work.

    I am a teacher and I agree that making us fight for money that way is a case of bad optics. I have been “fortunate” enough to get a couple of small grants through the years to buy classroom supplies and subscriptions to online teaching sites for a year here or there, but most of what I have to spend comes out of my pocket. I’ve got nearly 100 hours of masters level work and my pay is under 50,000 a year so there’s not a lot of room in those pockets to buy what my kids need. Therefore I’m left to grovel to parents asking for gifts such as glue guns, colored pencils, books for my classroom, etc. I know that the team’s heart was probably in the right place with this, and I’m not knocking giving 5,000 to teachers, but man, the optics are ALL wrong with how this one was cooked up.

    I am a teacher and I live about an hour from Sioux Falls. Personally I don’t have any problem with the promotion largely because the people involved did so willfully and in all likelihood they were excited to do it. Also, the Sioux Falls area is rapidly growing with many new school building projects having been completed within the last decade and many more planned. These have come with large community support. I think this may seem more offensive to those who view it as teachers having to grovel and beg for money just to provide basic materials for their classes as opposed to teachers who are working in a supportive community with many new schools that are probably using the money gained for “extras” in the classroom.


    Thank you for this perspective!
    The cynic in me wonders how much of the scooped-up loot will actually be used for classroom supplies (teachers can claim a tax deduction up to a certain amount for supplies, but will anyone be asking to see receipts…and are the winnings considered taxable income?).

    For the ticker piece regarding F1 and Max being the first to race using the number 1: Lewis Hamilton would pretty consistently use the number 1 in the past years for a practice session or two in the race after clenching the title, though he never used it in a race.

    Teachers are only heroes until the next proposed tax levy is on the ballot. Then everyone forgets they are underpaid. My wife is a teacher and thankfully is in a great district that invests in their teachers and has a good tax base. However the last few proposals have failed in this mostly red district because the general “all taxes are bad” or “the board mismanages money” plays well to that crowd. Meanwhile all the residents benefit from higher property values. That being said, she still puts in quite a bit of her/our own funds into extras.

    This stunt probably started out with good intentions, but spiraled out of control to make it more “entertaining”.

    Where I live, when property values go up, property taxes- a large chunk of which fund public schools, and primarily teacher salaries/benefits/pensions-rise too.
    While it’s demonstrably true that not “all taxes are bad”, it’s not uncommon for those funds to be poorly allocated. I don’t know how it is in your district but it may well be that “the board mismanages money”…that’s sadly the case in a lot of areas. Some resist/are skeptical of additional funding without performance-based/easily observable assurances or a sense that they’re ‘getting what they paying for’, while to others, more taxation for use in public schools is simply ‘not worth it’…think fixed-income senior citizens, those without children, those who choose private school/home-school. Anyone can opt to pay extra at tax time or donate at anytime to fund schools’ curricular/extracurricular functions if they want to without a ballot initiative; this includes renters as well as property owners.
    I do agree that this particular promotion looked bad, even if the intention was to do good.

    I agree with everything you wrote, and would add that it was too bad that after the 10 teachers didn’t decide to split the money evenly. What a terrible promotion, up there with the infamous Less Nessman WKRP Thanksgiving turkey drop. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

    Regarding the Chargers gumball helmet in Collector’s Corner, I recall reading quite some time ago, that in the 1960s, the gumball helmet company didn’t have a marketing agreement with the Chargers or Bengals, so that’s why you see a bastardized version of each logo on their early AFL-era gumball helmets.

    As a former promotions director for a major market radio station, I totally agree with PL’s take on this. Terrible “optics” if you will. In the desperate attempt to “go viral,” they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Well done.

    HS teacher here. This event just goes to further show how our society lacks the ability to properly fund our institutions. Why fund it properly in the first place when some for-profit entity can make a spectacle out of it and capitalize off of their “donation”? In this case for $5k. A measly amount of money in the grand scheme of what a mortgage company takes in. Pathetic.

    All hail the divine almighty dollar.

    Education has the potential to solve our country’s and our world’s issues. However, we choose to continually devalue it and pad the wallets of the rich.

    I love the Stargell Roman numerals. No examples of Roman numerals here, but I do remember that the Rockies’ clubhouse staff used to number everything the players wore, and the sequence was something like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, SIX, 7, 8, NINE, TEN, 11, 12, 13, etc. Obviously, the spelled out numbers were to avoid confusion between numbers that looked alike and anyone thinking 10 was 01. I remember thinking back then (mid-to-late 90s) that it was a nice idea. Maybe the clubhouse guy planted the seed in Stargell’s mind to use a Roman numeral?

    I’m in my first year of high school teaching and I find this reprehensible conduct. I agree with everything that you’ve said.

    Proofreading: In the Rams/Cardinals section, the ‘i’ in Von Millers name is capitalized.

    I pretty much agree with everything Paul said, but my cynical nature allows me to scoff and look away. None of this surprises me. The fact that teachers jumped on board says much about their personal ethos.

    I’m in my 26th year of teaching (3rd, 4th, and now 5th grade). I went into the profession for self-respect. I had to have a job that helps others, and I didn’t want to earn a dime for someone over me. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… but it ain’t me. Seinfeld and Creedence!? Just a personal thing. My apologies to all the cogs in the capitalist machine out there. Kidding.

    Having Uni Watch sound off in support is yet another reward that gets lumped in with the many intrinsic rewards we receive each day. Classroom teachers have a very difficult job,

    I truly enjoyed this piece and I plan to share it with the staff.

    I’m a high school teacher in North Carolina. Our school is part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school district, and funds are tight when it comes to outfitting our classroom and procuring supplies for projects, labs, demos, etc. Teacher pay, in my mind, is a whole different can of worms. If you’re at a public school like me, it’s mostly regimented by the state based on your qualifications and years taught (0 for me before this year). Funding for other stuff, though, is very hard to come by. Thankfully, there’s a nice retirement community near our school that likes to pool together and sponsor teachers that need supplies, and we can apply for their funds like a grant at a higher learning institution. Getting supplied through the school is a nightmare, so I’m glad they’re there. Bottom line is that the funding is the bigger issue to teachers, not the pay necessarily, and making teachers scrounge for dollar bills at a minor league hockey game is a great metaphor for what we already have to do if we don’t want to pay out of pocket for supplies.

    Correction re the last item in the Ticker, that’s not Maine’s state flag. That’s a modern treatment of Maine’s 1901-1909 state flag. It’s come into fairly widespread public use lately, with a small but growing movement to have the state re-adopt it, because 1) Maine’s post-1909 official state flag is terrible and generic and 2) The old buff civil standard is an outstanding flag design. So it’s not Maine’s state flag that’s been given the holiday treatment, it’s an unofficial flag used by some Mainers to represent their state.

    I’m a teacher and was disgusted by the whole thing.

    There is a fun way to do something with teachers at an intermission while giving the teachers selected a check for their classrooms, but clearly this isn’t it.

    Could there be a better promotion that could give money to teachers for the classrooms and be entertaining and fun for all at a game? I am sure there could have been.

    At the same time, let’s not sit here and go over board with our lust for saying something was wrong/demeaning/reprehensible to our “heroes” which is America’s favorite past time in 2021 – and apparently in these comments today.

    It’s not a surprise, the post was slanted that way and when Paul asked to open it up to the teachers who read the site OF COURSE few are going to pass up the opportunity to play the victim.

    Bottom line, it’s demeaning to people from the outside looking in. I am pretty sure a lot of the teachers thought it was fun, and if they did think it was demeaning I would think they have enough dignity to pass on the contest -unless they were being forced against their will.

    So in summary, good idea to give money to teachers, not the greatest execution, and certainly not a reason to break out “I can’t believe how demeaning/offensive/wrong” reactions.

    It’s not a surprise, the post was slanted that way and when Paul asked to open it up to the teachers who read the site OF COURSE few are going to pass up the opportunity to play the victim.

    Actually, (a) I made it clear that I welcomed hearing from teachers who disagreed with my take, and (b) nobody has “played the victim.” (They just have a particular viewpoint that you happen to disagree with.)

    Agree with everything written about teachers.

    The reporter who filmed and live-tweeted the event, Annie Todd, should be ashamed of her behaviour. She very quickly did a complete U-turn from openly mocking the teachers to condemning SD’s approach to education once she realized it wasn’t going down so well.

    Ten year teaching vet, I do not mind the low salaries. Not like I didn’t know what I was getting into and live better than a lot of people.

    Problem with teaching today is the lack of respect. Especially from parents.

    This fundraiser, while not the worst thing in the world was poorly executed and has poor optics. Would it have been better say if the teacher were shooting a puck for money?

    Would I have done participated if selected? Yes. Would I have been embarrassed? Also yes. But at the end of day any little bit helps, especially when you are trying to pay for daycare and insurance for young children.

    I live in Green Bay. The USHL team here has done a similar promotion, sometimes for teachers, other times with kids, for, I would guess, at least a decade.

    And, FYI, my wife is a teacher. She spends plenty of our household money on her classroom, just like most teachers.

    This is the first time I’ve heard any one complain about it. I never had the thought.

    Would it be nicer to give every teacher money? Sure. But that’s not going to happen, nor the point of the promotion.

    Is it demeaning? Not for me to say, I guess. As I said, I’ve seen it for a decade and didn’t think of it.

    I don’t think the human cannonball, dressing up sumo costumes, wearing bubble wrap suits or any of the other ‘minor league promotions’ are necessarily dignified, but that doesn’t mean they are insulting, either.

    Sometimes, things can just be “fun”. Or maybe not.

    P.S. I find it interesting no one has complained about these events elsewhere. As I said, it’s been going on here for at least a decade. And there are very few “new ideas” when it comes to game promotions. I would guess there have been dozens of teams which have done these. I’m not sure why this one tripped the backlash.



    and so on…

    I was not aware of that, and I agree that it’s interesting that those earlier instances didn’t generate as much attention. Maybe because both of those were before the pandemic and/or maybe because there wasn’t a video of them.

    Just one example:


    That’s from 2018. Same promotion. Same league. Also teachers. The story notes it’s been happening here since 2015. (I had guessed a decade).

    Again, not sure what it means or why this one.

    I’m curious, how does the pandemic make it a different animal?

    While I get how the idea of the promotion itself may offend, what does the timing have to do with it? I’m missing something there…

    Maybe it’s just my perspective. My wife has been spending personal money for classroom items for 25+ years.

    Yes, the pandemic has placed a strain on teachers, just as it has for many professions. But since the concept of spending our money for her classroom hasn’t changed for us *because of the pandemic* the promotion now doesn’t seem any worse now, in terms of timing, at least to me.

    And, as noted, unlike others who have just heard of this due to Sioux Falls, I’ve been aware of such events for years.

    Not that I don’t appreciate others may have a better understanding of what teachers cope with on a daily basis due to pandemic. Yes, it would be great to have more resources available.

    Just one POV.

    This is how the zeitgeist works. Things are not a problem until circumstances point out that they are a problem. If we went by “well it wasn’t a problem a few years ago”, nothing would change.

    Hi All,
    I, like many commenters & readers here, am a teacher. I have taught high school social studies in Massachusetts (where teachers are generally well-valued in society and in paycheck) and in Nevada, where the opposite is true. I live and work in a state that has no problem raising the hotel tax by 1% to generate $700 million for a football stadium, but has not changed its school funding formula significantly since the 1950s.

    I agree with everything that’s already been said, but there’s one topic that hasn’t really been covered, how teachers generate extra revenue for themselves or their classrooms. Generally speaking, police, fire, EMTs are funded well enough that they have all the supplies they need to maintain public safety. You don’t see crowdsourcing campaigns for tires for a police car or hoses for a fireman. I know that each person in America feels they need more funding for whatever the do for work, but teaching is the only profession where we have to put in our own money, especially since teachers are only given four walls and a roof to do their jobs each year.

    Additionally, police, fire & EMTs typically have the opportunity to pickup overtime shifts to add to their income. Now, I know, most of you are saying “can’t you coach or something as a teacher?” Yes, we can, but coaching stipends are typically only a few hundred dollars per season, which equates to literal cents per hour when stretched across the hours that go in to coaching during a typical season.

    Given all of this, when sports teams turn around and hand out big checks to police, fire & EMTs and teachers are made to literally grovel at the feet of capitalism, it’s a sign of a bigger ill in society. One that does not value education and the role that school plays in the development of young minds to think critically and effectively participate in democracy. Sorry for the rant, but the promotion at the Stampede game brought up a career’s worth (17 years) of frustration all at once. Thanks for listening.

    Just about every small town, volunteer fire department I can think does Fireman’s Picnics, calendar raffles, etc. to raise money to buy equipment. Maybe that’s not the case elsewhere…

    Great point. I’ve mostly lived in medium sized cities, so this thought never occurred to me. Thanks for the insight!

    Interesting that these promotions have been going on since (at least) 2015.

    A lot has changed since 2015. I think a lot of people have become acutely aware of wealth inequality, income inequality, and the shitty conditions lot of our society faces.

    Wealth and income inequality have gotten a lot worse during the pandemic. A lot of what has gone on the last couple of years has shone a bright and harsh light on working conditions for lots of professions.

    Where I live, our government has encouraged us to thank a teacher and to bang pots and pans together to thank frontline medical workers, while going to war with teachers unions and health care unions.

    What might have felt harmless or amusing in 2015 can feel malevolent in 2021.

    Things can change. Circumstances can change. People are allowed to learn and say “you know what, I’ve changed my mind, that’s wrong”.

    Bounce that PR guy and sanction the team.

    Otherwise, I’ve always wondered what happened to the kiltie tongues in baseball shoes, they seemed to fade the same time that prominent stirrup wearing did. One of those odd little details that was pretty specific to baseball (and golf, I suppose) that caught my attention.

    I have some sports uniforms catalogs somewhere from that era (late 80s, early 90s, I’ll dig them out) where that’s how they described them. I vaguely recall some article in SI that remarked about them being to “protect the laces” and some players having a fancy way to tie them so the loops ended up under the flap.

    Glad to be of help!

    Of course I remember these overlapping tongues, but I never knew the name. I always assumed that folded over tongue was a “safety thing” protection of untied laces or a guard against possibly injury from laces catching on a base or something when sliding.
    I also think that the the shoe styles changed to higher baseball spikes (3/4 or even high top style) at a similar timeframe as pants length & socks types
    I do not have any explanation as to why golf spikes had this style? But in other sports with cleats players often tape over their ankles & the cleat/laces to keep them secure

    It’s late enough in the day that probably nobody will read this, but I’m a teacher, so I guess I’ll weigh in.

    First of all, it’s hard for me to consider what I do for a living heroic. There are soldiers and firefighters and first responders and police officers out there saving lives. All I do is teach people biology. It’s a rewarding job, and I enjoy it, but there’s no way I’m a viable candidate for the “hero” label. This has always been a bit of a sore spot to me because I feel like there’s a lot of ego in my profession. I see way too many of my colleagues bragging to anyone who will listen about how great they are because they teach, and it’s always kind of sickened me.

    Anyway, as to the cash grab… It truly is a shame that teachers are in a position to need that money in the first place. I could write many paragraphs about everything that’s wrong with the US public school system, but teacher salaries are at or near the top of that list.

    But having said that, I can’t in good conscience condemn a promotion where all participants were willing and nobody got hurt. I’ll agree, it looks pretty ridiculous (and a bit nauseating) from the outside looking in, but if the promoters and contestants all agreed to it, it’s not really my place to criticize. They’re all consenting adults.

    A lot of people here have suggested that if people willingly agree to do something, then it’s, by definition, OK.

    I strongly disagree.

    To pick an admittedly extreme example, I’m sure you could find people who, for the right price, would willingly play Russian roulette on pay-per-view TV, and I’m also sure there would be an audience for same. But that doesn’t mean we should want to live in a world where that happens — indeed, we *don’t* want to live in that world.

    I’m not implying a moral equivalence between the cash grab and Russian roulette. I’m saying that just because people “willingly” do something doesn’t automatically make it OK. Moreover, “willingly” is a very relative term. Given certain circumstances, I’m sure all of us would “willingly” do all sorts of things. So when we find ourselves doing things that are unseemly, maybe it’s time to question the underlying circumstances.

    The question is whether we want to live in a world where teachers find themselves “willingly” groveling for dollar bills in order to do their jobs effectively. Personally, that’s not the world I want to live in, and I’ll keep advocating for a better world than that.

    “The question is whether we want to live in a world where teachers find themselves “willingly” groveling for dollar bills in order to do their jobs effectively. Personally, that’s not the world I want to live in, and I’ll keep advocating for a better world than that.”

    I agree with you here.

    From one perspective, this promotion is seeking to help teachers – albeit in a way many are finding are offensive. Certainly good intentions.

    But the outrage here seems to be directed at the promotion – not at the underlying cause. At least in (too many) of the comments I have seen. Maybe that’s the disturbing part, to me.

    As I noted, we’ve been buying items for my wife’s classroom for decades. That doesn’t make us special, martyrs, or anything else. It just comes with the territory. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does, and we accept that. And that’s not any different because of this promotion, any comparison to Squid Games, changes in attitudes since 2015, or the pandemic.

    If there were outrage over teachers needing money for the classrooms, absent this promotion, I’d be more impressed (tho that may not be the right word here), and maybe such events wouldn’t be needed.

    As an aside, When Wisconsin stripped teachers and tens of thousands of other public workers in this state of many of their collective bargaining powers a decade ago (Act 10), I don’t recall seeing the same sort of national outrage this relatively minor promotion has caused.

    But the outrage here seems to be directed at the promotion – not at the underlying cause.

    Copying/pasting from my own text:

    [This promotion is] a symptom of a societal illness.

    Whenever I say that schools shouldn’t poach pro teams’ logos or sell the naming rights to their football venues, I always hear the same thing: “Hey, what do you expect? School budgets are tight!” But school budgets don’t become tight all by themselves. They end up that way because of choices — usually a long series of choices — about public policy, taxation, and cultural priorities. It’s almost certainly not just coincidence that this “dash for cash” took place in the state that has the second-lowest teacher pay in the nation while also serving as America’s biggest tax haven for billionaires.

    Think about some of the other people who the sports world routinely recognizes as heroes: veterans, cops, firefighters, EMTs. Many of those groups face budgetary shortfalls as well. Now imagine any of them being asked to humiliate themselves by getting down on their hands and knees and competing against their colleagues for scraps like sideshow clowns or zoo animals. It’s unthinkable, right? If any of those other groups needed money, the team would present a giant check at center ice before the game. I was hoping in that March 2020 piece that teachers would finally be accorded that kind of status in the sports world’s social hierarchy, but I guess I was too optimistic about that.

    That was my attempt to address the underlying circumstances. If I failed in that attempt, that’s on me.

    When Wisconsin stripped teachers and tens of thousands of other public workers in this state of many of their collective bargaining powers a decade ago (Act 10), I don’t recall seeing the same sort of national outrage this relatively minor promotion has caused.

    Seriously? Back here on planet Earth, Act 10 prompted a wave of protests, arrests, several years’ worth of litigation, a gubernatorial recall election, and more. All of it was national news, and all of it prompted concern and support from outside Wisconsin.

    In any event, that’s neither here nor there. People change; attitudes change; socio-cultural norms change. Apples and oranges.

    Sorry if my point wasn’t clear, Paul.

    *Your* post certainly made points about the underlying cause. Thank you.

    But a search of “dash for cash hockey” reveals stories nationwide about the promotion, with little mention of the root problem. My comment was reflective on the broader coverage beyond this site that I have seen.

    Act 10 certainly caused a brew-ha-ha here, and I’m familiar with the protests, recall and fall out. I just didn’t have the sense it rippled much nationally. But I may living too much inside that particular bubble to know.

    Teacher pay is only one aspect, however, and perhaps not even the proper one, in this context.

    Do school districts buy enough supplies so the kindergarten teacher doesn’t have to buy scissors or glue?

    Do school districts have big enough budgets that the biology teacher can buy items for labs for every unit?

    Do school districts keep the home economic/FACE classes supplied, and buy the food, cloth materials, to do those things hands on?

    It could be through budget, or reimbursing what the teachers need to buy.

    In many cases, school districts should be doing more to pay for those things, instead of teachers providing those items. My wife often buys items for labs that she knows she won’t get reimbursed for, but arguably should be.

    These teachers, according to the Argus Leader, were planning to use the money on e-sports equipment for a club (arguably an extra curricular). Others “were planning on using the cash to get flexible seating, such as standing desks or wobble chairs, or document cameras so they could upload lessons online.” WaPo said one will use the money on treats and decorations for her classroom.

    If you view these things as “extras” that taxpayers should not pay for, does make the promotion more acceptable? I don’t know. I get your point of being willing doesn’t necessarily make it acceptable, but if these aren’t things considered essential, what then?

    The salary should be a separate consideration. No one expects the firefighter to buy oxygen tanks. That’s a different question than if that person is adequately compensated for job duties.

    I would say low teacher compensation is part of those “circumstances” we’re supposedly talking about. But I understand the point you’re trying to make.

    Thanks for the good back-and-forth!


    Thank you so much for writing this. It really nailed my unorganized – yet bitter – thoughts about this whole thing.
    I do not fault any of those teachers for taking part in this event, because I can tell you first-hand that almost any teacher (my wife is a teacher – who ironically received not only her K-12 education in this district but also began her own career in it as well) would do whatever they can to help out their students/classroom. I shared your story on my Facebook page, and sure enough, I had a couple of friends of mine who are teachers who unabashedly said they would have taken part in this for the sake of their classroom and their kids.

    Your line about “societal illness” and comparison of the field of teaching as opposed to other “heroic” professions really resonated with me. I see first hand all the work, effort, and yes, money, my wife pours into her students, and know that she is far from alone on that front.

    But you are correct…there is no way any team would make police officers scrounge on the ground for dollar bills for protective equipment; nurses would not need to grovel for PPE funding; veterans would not be expected to crawl for cash. But it’s okay for teachers – the very people we entrust to help make our children wiser and better people themselves – to degrade themselves for our amusement and entertainment…instead of providing them the materials they need in the first place.

    This sounds like I am blaming the teachers a bit, but the only way to make these overly corporate acts of exploitation truly go away is everyone has to stop pandering to it. I am talking about exploiting the military so MLB or the NFL can capitalize on the money, disguised as a salute a veteran middle of the 3rd inning moment of clapping. I am not saying it’s the teacher’s fault, they were selected, but I think we all, and when I say we, I am throwing myself in as the middle class, need to start fighting back on these things. The things these corporations promote that feel like they are giving you something, when in reality they are spending the same amount on a free tee-shirt with their corporate logo on it that they would have spent on a national advertising campaign. There should have been a moment of “hey they are giving me money for my classroom, but I am will be a walking talking billboard on my hands and knees picking up money like a pig.” I understand desperation sometimes gets the best of all of us. Shame on the corporations that think crap like this, these lazy half thought up ideas, are their way of giving back, when all it is is a glorified commercial. Maybe some of it is also the “can’t they just eat cake?” mentality. I just think we need to also do something about it. I hate alternate baseball uniforms. I am a traditionalist and like home whites and road greys, but I really hate them because their main existence is to suck more money out of us by selling them in the retail shops. If everyone realized that and stopped buying them, they (these moments of exploitation) might go away. It’s up to us.

    Late to the comments, but I am a 24 year teaching vet, so my thoughts are as follows:

    I would never participate in something like what happened, but that’s me and has nothing to do with the profession.

    I have never had real complaints about my paycheck. Would I like more? Sure-very few people would turn down a raise-but I have always had a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my belly. Teachers who complain about teacher pay, in my experience, are typically the lower quartile of teachers. The best teachers live for the epiphanies, and those cannot be measured financially.

    PSA-Parents, if you really want to help and honor teachers, here is what you do:
    1) Stop buying kids smartphones. Seriously, they are better off without them.
    2) Most school districts have online grading programs where you can access your child’s grades 24/7. Parents who monitor their child’s grades are never surprised at report cards.
    3) If you have a question about something, feel free to ask and we will help you. All we ask is you listen to the answer.
    4) Bad grades cause lying to occur. The worse the grade, the more desperate the lie will become. Keep this in mind before sending that nasty email.
    5) Finally, be involved at home. Ask your child EVERY NIGHT what they learned in school that day. I can virtually guarantee that “nothing,” while the most popular answer, is invariably incorrect.

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