By Phil Hecken
In case you hadn’t yet heard, Adidas is following the morally repugnant trail blazed by Major League Baseball three years ago, and taking a tragedy, and a national day of mourning, and turning it into a profiteering venture. That’s right, if you remember MLB’s little sartorial machinations of the past three years (I made my feelings on that known a ways back), you’ll be pleased to learn Adidas has taken a page from MLB’s script and is reprising the gimmickery with ten* of its prized schools: Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, NC State, Tennessee, Texas A & M, and Wisconsin. According to the three stripes, “Fans can purchase … polos, T-shirts, hats, visors and knit caps, ranging from $16-$55.”
If you stop to read that press release (the above came from Kansas) it states, they will be “recognizing the military.” On September 11th? Is that what today is about? I thought we had Armed Forces Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day (for remembering our fallen) for that. But when did the anniversary of September 11th become about honoring the military? Don’t get me wrong, on it’s face, it’s a fine thing to recognize our men and women in the armed services, but on 9/11? We’ll come back to that in a second. Let’s take a look at what Adidas has cooked up:
Here’s the cap — notice the 3 stripes logo smack down the middle of the brim. Wouldn’t want anyone to forget who makes ’em now, would we? All the coaches and sideline staff will be wearing the gear too, just to whet fans’ appetites for the sale of the branded merchandise.
Reports are still somewhat vague, but at least some of the schools will actually be altering their onfield logos to the Stars & Stripes motif, so it’s possible the uniforms will also be changed. Certainly there will be decals if not patches or even “stars and stripes” motifs on the uniforms themselves.
Notre Dame’s press release notes, “As a celebration of patriotism, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and the rest of the Irish sideline will be wearing the adidas ® Heroes Collection, an American Flag-inspired line of apparel and headwear. The players will warm up in a similar designed T-shirt.” OK. That’s a little different — they’re wearing (and selling) the gear ‘as a celebration of patriotism.’ Didn’t think that’s what 9/11 was about either (isn’t that what Independence Day and Flag Day are for?).
* Other early press releases mentioned “10 select schools.” However, not mentioned in the release was Mississippi State, whose coaches were also outfitted in the new caps — the only problem was, the wore them on Thursday — which was September 9th. We wouldn’t want to let scheduling get in the way of a good marketing opportunity, would we?
And, just like MLB, Adidas only states that a percentage of the proceeds “will go towards providing financial assistance to our men and women in uniform.” What? What does that even mean? Net, gross? What percent? And, “men and women in uniform” — does that mean the United States Armed Forces? “Men and women in uniform” is quite vague. Does this include police? EMTs? Flight Attendants? Crossing Guards?
Still other official press releases which Adidas schools have put out say, “This Saturday, college football coaches and sideline personnel … will honor the men and women that help keep America safe by wearing the Stars and Stripes Collection by adidas. On-field staff will wear the red, white and blue themed apparel and headwear to celebrate, honor and thank those who have served the country.”
Again, this doesn’t say a thing about who they’re actually honoring. Do they really need to wear ‘red, white and blue themed apparel and headwear’ to ‘celebrate, honor and thank those who have served the country’? Would they not be able to do so in regular sideline gear? But more to the point, shouldn’t 9/11 be about remembering the thousands of innocents, mostly civilians, who perished in the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world?
If I sound bitter, allow me to explain. Nine years ago today, my (then) wife was working for Citibank, but was thankfully not in lower Manhattan that day. Unfortunately, my cousin’s husband worked for Aon, located on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. He wasn’t so fortunate. He never came home that evening. And he wasn’t the only one.
What bothers me is both the hollowness AND the inappropriateness of Adidas’ marketing — 9/11 shouldn’t be a day to celebrate and honor the military (not that I’m opposed to that), and it sure as HELL shouldn’t be a day to trot the coaches out in customized gear you’re trying to SELL. To spin it with “a percentage of all proceeds will go towards providing financial assistance to our men and women in uniform” is of little comfort to the families of the victims who lost their lives so tragically nine years ago today. I wouldn’t even like it if they offered to give a little off the top to the victims’ families, but at least that would be more appropriate. How about they give 100% of any profits to the families of those who lost loved ones?
Say what you will about Nike’s Pro Combat uniforms — at least they aren’t wrapping themselves in the American flag to sell merchandise.
But at least Adidas won’t screw with the uniforms, right? I mean they’d NEVER go that far, right?
Adidas — you’ve stooped to a new low.
But wait. There’s more…
Not to be out-patrioted by the Adidas schools, Baylor will be donning a camouflage-themed helmet for their game against Buffalo. According to its official release, “On the field, the Baylor football team will wear special one-time helmets featuring a camouflage BU, while the coaching staff will wear special camouflage hats.” Calling the game, “Hometown Heroes Day,” there will be all kinds of special events and tributes.
These events and tributes will include the distribution tickets to “first responders, hospital workers and military members” throughout Cental Texas, and elementary school students in China Spring, Midway and Robinson ISDs were provided with one coupon good for a ticket to Saturday’s game. The team will also “observe a moment of silence to remember its hometown heroes and those affected by the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.”
While I don’t see the need for the camouflage, this is a far more appropriate gesture for today. And, there is no mention that the camo sideline cap is for retail sale.
Back at the beginning of the 2010 season, I announced the 2010 Uni Tracking that a number of us do. Last year, I devoted about four full weekend columns to it, and that was probably a bit much for most of us to take in one dose, so this year, I’ll occasionally post the updated tracking of certain teams as the trackers send them in. So, as the season winds down, send me your tracking reports, and I’ll post them as a “sub article” on the weekends. OK? OK!
Today’s tracker is Mike Vamosi, who has actually appeared before, and he’s a Royals tracker. But he’s updated his spreadsheet now and wanted to show it to us:
I’ve been tracking the Kansas City Royals uniforms for the past couple of years as I’ve shared on this wonderful site. A couple things in the last month have stood out to me which are during a double-header against the Chicago White Sox the team wore their primary home day game powder blue top during the 6:10 start. Then on Labor Day at Minnesota the team opted for the gray uniforms which hasn’t been the norm this season for road day games when Royal blue is the typical top. Another interesting note is that on Monday the team was originally scheduled to play a 7:10 game but due to the Chiefs getting the second MNF spot that will be a 1:10 start which I suspect means they’ll wear the powder blue. Thanks for taking the time to look at my tracking and I’ll be back with a final report in the next couple months for UniWatch.
That’s all for today. Keep the updates coming — I’ll be sure to run them if you guys send them to me during September, and of course, there will be season-ending wrapups starting in October.
After basically a month with no tweaks (we did have two sets while I was on weekdays), a few have backed up. Lets get to those today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way. OK? OK! Here’s what’s on tap for today.
Starting off the show is Will Risinger, who has some KC Chiefs tweaks:
Hello Uni-Man – love the site.
I understand how the chiefs may feel their uniform is too traditional for a revision, but classic qualification probably requires a more recent title appearance than their last in 1967, piloted by the great sartorial icon Hank Stram.
I kept it simple as I hate all the new fangled gimmicks and stripes appearing so haphazardly on NFL uniforms (hello denver). Kept red dominant and threw in a bit more yellow for offset.
And yes I do have too much time on my hands. And the Texans have the most unimaginative uni in the league – they’re next.
Next up is someone who identified himself(?) as timeb14, who has a concept for the New York Rangers:
* Red draw strings
* Red lining at the neck
* Red and white lettering from the Rangers 1932-1933 season (letters would be a tad smaller like the 30’s jersey)
* Red and white pattern above the wrist(excuse the artwork)
* White semi-circles looping below the number of the player. Same number design as the current Rangers’ home jerseys
* Red spandex bar below the armpit
* Red and white lines accompanying the red spandex bar, then across the bottom of the jersey, around the other spandex bar under the other armpit. When picturing the red and white lines think of the Uconn Huskies men’s basketball team’s design ’08 to ’10
* The color of the jersey can be orginal blue (as in above picture), black or navy blue
* The red and white pattern will be lower at the wrists
* No white boxes at the back (My mistake)
* A diversion from the red lining at the neck in front of the jersey to an all red neck at the back of the jersey
Oh yeah, not to be controversial, but does the red draw strings and red and white lines on the Rangers jersey in those two pictures remind you of a new Maple leafs white draw strings and white stripes home jersey coming out this upcoming season? Let’s just say this concept was sent out a few months ago ;)
Next up is Dave Bloomquist who has a tweak for the New England Patriots:
Interesting item on the Patriots vote for the favorite logo. As a Boston resident (but not a Pats fan) I’ve heard people whine for Pat for about 20 years now. I’m surprised that the team is finally listening to people.
Anyway, I thought that maybe the solution is a hybrid. Bring back Pat and the red jersey, but keep Elvis as a secondary logo and integrate everything into the current striping design.
And finally, here’s a set from Richard Paine, who, you can tell by the writeup, sent these in a while back…he’s tweaking the Lions:
It is amazing how big the Uni Tweaks have become. I love it. I hope you put together another tournament of tweaks. Now with NFL training camps about to start, I made some Detroit Lion revisions. I sent an older type in a few months ago and I never saw it make the list.
But here is my final batch. I hope everyone enjoys them. I really spent way too much time on these, but its addicting.
Thanks to all the tweakers. Keep them coming, and I’ll keep posting them.
And finally, a word from Jeff Barak
Jeff’s a good guy who runs a really spiffy blog, “Third String Goalie.” And he’s got a nice story for today. Here’s Jeff:
I just wanted to point you in the direction of my blog Third String Goalie for Saturday. My entry has to do with the anniversary of 9/11. I have featured an FDNY hockey jersey with Deputy Chief Ray Downey’s #9 which was retired by the FDNY Hockey Team following his death during the collapse of the World Trade Center.
I’ve got a bio of Chief Downey, a little history on the FDNY Hockey Team and I recount when the Rangers played their first home game after 9/11 when Mark Messier wore Downey’s helmet in the pregame ceremony and both the Rangers and Sabres wore special jerseys that read “New York” diagonally across the front, which were then auctioned off for charity.
That’s all for today folks. Everyone have a great Saturday, and don’t forget the meaning and significance of the date. There’s a lot of good sports on the television (monster day at the U.S. Open, incredible college football), and I just hope the somberness of the occasion can be tempered by good sports and sportsmanship, not crass commercialism and patronizing pseudo-patriotism. Peace.
It is impossible to fully comprehend the evil that would have conjured up such a cowardly and depraved assault upon thousands of innocent people. — Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, 11 September, 2001