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Aussie Hoops Team Refuses to Wear Barely Visible Pride Symbol

Last week we had an NHL player refusing to wear a pregame pride uniform. The latest example of this trend comes from down under, where members of the Cairns Taipans — who play in the NBL, Australia’s top men’s pro hoops league — announced shortly before their Wednesday game that they would not be wearing their NBL Pride Round kit. (The Pride Round is a league-wide initiative that was recently announced after player Isaac Humphries came out as the league’s first openly gay player.)

Here’s the announcement that the Taipans players issued:

So the Taipans wore their regular uniforms for Wednesday’s game against the South East Melbourne Phoenix. If you look at the photo at the top of this page, you’ll see Taipains players on the left in their regular kits, and Phoenix players on the right in their Pride kits. Here’s another look at that photo:

If you can’t see any obvious Pride elements on the Phoenix’s uniform, let’s take a side-by-side look at their regular and Pride designs — see if you can spot the difference:

That’s right — the only Pride element is a rainbow version of the Champion maker’s mark that gets lost in a sea of advertising. Here’s a closer view of that from another NBL team’s jersey:

That’s what the Taipans players refused to wear. Seems like a pretty weak Pride initiative by the NBL and a pretty silly objection by the team.

Comments (55)

    Yes, if you’re in Australia you go to Hungry Jack’s for a Whopper. (Burger King was already taken when the first franchises made their arrival.)

    How does the opting out of wearing the uniform jibe with the first half of that statement?
    Definitely feels like there is more to the story. However, frankly, I find straight white people* much too droll to really have much interest in their plight.

    * – of which I am one, HOW IRONIC.


    take politics out of sports, lets just play the game without making a big deal about a controversial topic.

    I din’t understand how supporting the LGBTQ community is politics. Is persecuting a group of people for their sexual orientation or race politics? If they did a night to support homeless youth or something like that, is that politics? Supporting a good cause is not political. History will not be kind to people who choose to discriminate against others for their way of life. If you can justify hate and discrimination by thinking of it as “politics” then you are missing the point.

    There are plenty of religions that object to mistreatment of the poor, however none of the people who have a problem wearing the pride logos have a problem wearing the logos of massive corporations that exploit poor people, which makes it seem like the not wearing a logo cause it’s against my religion thing is not entirely about religion

    In theory, no it shouldn’t be about politics. However, the way things have played out, the pride flag certainly symbolized a certain kind of political identity. Just as in theory it shouldn’t be a political statement to support law enforcement, but if a team was rocking a thin blue line flag on their uniforms, it would create a stir given the political affiliation people associate with that flag.

    The statement is pretty confusing. They didn’t wear it because the players on the team were getting harassed? For wearing the tiny symbol? To me that would be more of a reason to wear it, seeing as how the people it’s meant to support would be subjected to much worse.

    I don’t understand their statement at all. Were they getting harassed because they wouldn’t wear it? Both ways make no sense and to try to claim that it should be a positive experience and everyone is too mean is a major cop out. What a mess

    Yes it is, but I think some players might have mentioned that they were unwilling to use it and thus harassed. Then, the players willing to use it opted to not use the uniform so it became a team decision and no individual was singled out.
    Or maybe some players didn’t use it last year? Not sure if it is the first time the team has had this situation.

    Why not just not have anyone wear it at all and leave sports as sports? No opportunity for anyone to make a counter statement and no controversy. Why does this have to be hard? They figured this out for hundreds of years without an issue.

    Interesting take. What other things should be left out of sports? National anthems? Military-inspired uniforms? Teams invoking the good old red, white and blue?

    Any rational person doesn’t need to see a patch on a team’s uniform to know they’re FOR the inclusion of groups. Any non-rational, hateful person is not going to see these patches on a uniform and change their world view.

    Teams and sports need to stop with this pandering bs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this is all to keep the vocal minority on social media from losing their shit and saying “TEAM XYZ doesn’t care about issue ABC”.

    The entire enterprise has turned into a “who’s wearing it and who’s not wearing it (and why)” controversy. To those not wearing it, it’s open season on Social Media to just destroy these people’s character for no other reason than scoring likes and RT’s on Twitter.

    This team has it right….there’s people on that team with different views and all this will do is serve as a distraction. Cheers to this Aussie team for seeing thru the bullshit.

    I’m so sick of all these sports teams either jumping on the social justice bandwagon or being shamed into it. Someone is offended, and someone else is offended because he’s offended, and then someone else is offended and on and on. Grow up already, people. Are people so mentally fragile that they can’t tolerate any difference of opinion? It’s so tiresome and tedious.

    You wanna wear some useless logo or slogan, fine. You don’t want to wear one, also fine.

    I find the whole being-offended movement extremely offensive. And I’m not offended if anyone disagrees with me.

    It’s Orwellian Style Sports… Reminds of that episode of Seinfeld when Kramer doesn’t want to wear the ribbon.

    I think the worst part of this is the rainbow logo was a makers mark and not the NBL logo. So now some people are going to come down hard on Champion on either side of the equation. And maybe someone will ask “What about all the other uni advertisers? Why don’t they do a rainbow logo too?” It’s all just an endless loop of what-about-isms and social media BS. Kramer never wore the ribbon.

    Can’t wait to see MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL to have uniforms covered in large maker’s marks, advertisements for Beer, Hard Liquor, Gambling sites and fast food as well as the social statements.


    Show me one instance of a professional sports team wearing a “large” maker’s mark in the last 20 years.

    There’s literally an example on this post. That champion logo is the makers mark and it is quite large.

    I wouldn’t say large per say, but since Nike took over the NFL contract, and specifically with some of their redesigns, the uniforms and sleeve designs are crafted in such a way to make their maker’s mark stand out. Either by how they color it, the positioning of it as compared to other elements, etc.
    Likewise in MLB, it went from a barely noticeable Majestic logo on the bottom of the sleeve to an in your face Nike logo on the chest that clutters the design of baseball uniforms’ wordmarks.

    I wouldn’t say large per say, but since Nike took over the NFL contract, and specifically with some of their redesigns, the uniforms and sleeve designs are crafted in such a way to make their maker’s mark stand out.

    This is true, but it actually started in the late aughts with Reebok’s NHL uniforms. At the time, we referred to this design gimmick as the Ree-box.

    Proud of the team. It should be up to the player or team to support a political position if they want, if they don’t want to they should have the freedom to do so.

    So should players be able to take a knee during the anthem. John Tortorella said he’d punish players for not standing during the anthem (a political position), but also didn’t care about the flyers player not wearing the pride jersey. So which is it. Imo, most of these things are pretty weak anyway and I don’t think it would matter if they went away. But I’m also the same person who wouldn’t miss the national anthem if they stopped playing it

    I don’t think it’s appropriate for any political statement while at work in uniform. So, stand for the anthem like everyone else, and if you don’t want to wear the gay pride patch, don’t wear it.

    “stand for the anthem like everyone else”

    Isn’t that, in and of itself, a political statement?

    I’m pretty sure that national anthems are literally a political statement. Especially with the background of why they are played at sporting events.

    Torts said that in 2016 while coaching USA hockey at an international tournament. He has since changed his opinion. “I was wrong. I learned a lot through that experience,” he said. “My feelings toward any type of protest to the flag during the anthem — it disgusts me. To this day, it disgusts me. It shouldn’t be done. Those are my feelings. (But) I can’t push those feelings onto someone else. I was wrong in saying that back then. I didn’t realize I was, but as I went through it all … who am I to push my feelings onto someone else?”

    Tyranny of the self Righteous. It’s funny how the golden rule goes out the door when the shoe is on the other foot.

    Total upgrade with the pride logo….
    Aesthetics greatly improved…
    By far, the most offensive patches belong to the overcrowded sponsors…
    The unis just get so ho-hum when they get crowded like that…
    Hoping our leagues can overcome this plague….

    Imagine thinking you should be tolerant of people who deny others of rights and wish them dead.

    The only way to make any statement in these uniforms already full to the brim with ads is to change the main uniform color into a rainbow flag, yellow ribbon, pink ribbon, et cetera. Man, are these NBL uniforms ugly!

    Agreed, I couldn’t even find the pride mark until Paul directly pointed it out. And I think 99% of people wouldn’t have noticed it unless they were specifically told to look for it. If you are going to do something special to support the LGBT community, then do it for real. I mean even an added LGBT rainbow flag amid the sea of advertising mess would have been more visible than this.

    Copy editing: In the first graf, the NBL is Australia’s top pro hoops league, not team.

    Probably lost in all this is how weak that pride patch is anyway. I actually didn’t spot it until Paul pointed it out because I wasn’t even looking towards the maker’s mark. It is pretty much non existent to the point that it feels like a token gesture.
    While the statement from the team seems like it is missing something in context or info, from what I gather in reading it, sounds like they are saying not everyone agreed, and have no interest in making it into a thing where various teammates are put into a position to take a side. Of course by doing so they have all chosen a side.
    What I find most interesting about this and the Provorov story is the response to these as compared to what happened in the World Cup. I’m fully of the opinion of supporting Provorov and this team’s decision, (sort of the beauty of a free nation, we can disagree but support) while still pretty sick to my stomach that the World Cup and the national teams playing in it were complicit with government that makes it a crime to be gay.

    Jeez how much of a snowflake do you have to be to get offended by a little rainbow on a maker’s mark like that? People who have a problem with wearing it should seriously reconsider their priorities.

    I’ll reiterate what I said last week. If ALL the messaging were optional, I’d feel differently, but right now when my community is the only one? It kinda hurts since clearly our cause is “less than” to these people despite that we’re bring terrorized and legislated against every day.
    (I’m not trying to say the LGBTQ+ community is the most oppressed, just that clearly we aren’t considered an equal movement to others)

    Jeez how much of a snowflake do you have to be to get offended by THE LACK OF a little rainbow on a maker’s mark like that? People who have a problem with THOSE NOT wearing it should seriously reconsider their priorities.

    The players in the NBL (never heard of its existence until now) are paid to play basketball. They aren’t paid to make political statements. I have no problem with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling. It’s his 1st Amendment right to do so. However, he isn’t free from any consequences his actions cause him. It could be said it cost him his career.

    I’ve always had a similar thought about the Confederate flag. If people are adamant about flying it, having it on their car, or wearing it on their clothes, it immediately tells me something about them. That said, I’ve also become more open minded as there seems to be a push to make every issue binary. So while in the past I might have immediately judged someone who was sporting the confederate flag, I try to not let that first impression crystalize things. Regardless of the actual or metaphorical flag people chose to fly or not fly, it is good get to know them first before closing the book on what type of person they are.
    I’d encourage everyone to read Hate Inc, really insightful look into the nature of how the media handles these issues, from both sides, and how that warps our perceptions of both the issues and people we agree and disagree with.

    Yeah those confederate flag loving idiots are hilarious.
    They fail to see the irony of flying the flag of a “country” that no longer exists, in the country that defeated it, while being 100% against immigration.

    I’m still confused by the rationale for opting out of wearing the patch. Were only the players on the Taipans called out for wearing the patch that everyone was going to be made to wear? By whom – friends and family?… the twitterverse?… the Australian public?.. NBL fans? Setting aside the weak aesthetics of the patch/maker’s mark and all, this is confusing.

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