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Game Nobody Cares About Gets New Costumes Nobody Will Remember

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Everyone knows the Pro Bowl is a joke, so why not have it look like a joke? That’s apparently the thinking behind the new Pro Bowl uniforms, which were released yesterday. The timing is interesting — Pro Bowl unis usually don’t surface until a week or two before the game, if that. So maybe the early release date is the league’s way of saying, “This time the Pro Bowl really matters!”

Good luck with that. As for the uniforms costumes, they suck, but that’s sort of the idea, right? By now you’ve already read (or voiced) all the standard reactions: It looks like Oregon vs. Oregon State, the colors will clash with the players’ helmets, blah-blah-blah. I covered all of that myself yesterday in this short ESPN piece. Here are two additional thoughts that have occurred to me since then:

• I find it surprising that one of the jerseys is white (or at least white-ish — it’s hard to be sure from that mock-up). Wouldn’t this have been an ideal time for the NFL to test-drive a color-vs.-color game?

• Even more surprising: The Nike logos on the gray uniform (or charcoal, or ash, or smog, or whatever they’re calling it this week) are the same color as the surrounding fabric. If you look at this press conference photo, however, it looks like maybe the logos have a dark outline. Hmmmm. Have there been any previous examples of Nike using non-contrasting logo creep?

I don’t have anything else to say here. Do you? (Meanwhile, here’s a good look at Pro Bowl uniforms over the past four decades.)


Then again, maybe the timing of the Pro Bowl uniform release was designed to distract attention away from League of Denial, the book and documentary that were both released yesterday. I haven’t yet read the book, but I did listen to a good interview with the two authors yesterday afternoon. Then I watched the documentary last night, and it was devastating. You can watch the whole thing here — highly recommended. The whole country’s buzzing about it, and with good reason.

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’Skins Watch: Latest writing on the wall: ’Skins tight end Fred Davis has become the first Washington player to acknowledge that that the team’s name “could be kind of offensive.” I’m pretty sure there’ll be more where that came from. ”¦ Meanwhile, NFL commish Roger Goodell continues to stake out a murky non-position on the issue. ”¦ The NPR radio show Marketplace estimates that the cost of rebranding the ’Skins would be $5 to $15 million. To put that in some perspective, the NFL was set to vote this week on a motion to give the ’Skins $27 million for stadium renovations. ”¦ Yesterday I linked to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank’s Monday column about the ’Skins. Now it turns out that there was an interesting distinction between the online version and print version of the column. … Disturbing note from Ben Belletto, who writes: “As a lifelong [’Skins] fan, I’ve come to fully support the name change, despite my meaningless emotional connection to the name. In Monday’s entry you linked to the team’s response to President Obama. I read the response and responded in the comments section. But my response was never posted. To date, there are 11 responses, all in support of the current team name, and some of those comments were posted after mine was written. It’s disappointing that comments are being suppressed, especially when the organization is using polls and public opinion as part of its talking points.” ”¦ Yet another Washington Post columnist is calling for the ’Skins to change their name (from Tommy Turner). … Also now on record against the name: New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

Baseball News: Hadn’t noticed until the other day that the Orioles’ cartoon bird is often (but not always) shown with a white dot on his cap. I asked an O’s official about this and was told, “Best answer I’ve ever been given is that it’s a lighting effect on the hat. Which makes no sense, as it’s not a helmet and hats don’t have effects like that. But I’ve just chalked it up to a quirk from the hand-drawn logo era.” … I’ve always known that the bumblebee-era Pirates used larger NOB lettering for player with short names (Lee Lacy comes to mind), but Holy moly! That’s Alberto Lois (nice find by Matthiew Mitchell). … Mike Miller notes that A’s pitcher Dan Strally’s cap has a gray underbill. ”¦ How did Charlie Brown remember his locker combination? Through a series of MLB uniform numbers (from Alex Allen). ”¦ Speaking of uni numbers, David Feigenbaum points out that the Rays’ starting outfield last night wore Nos. 7 (David DeJesus), 8 (Desmond Jennings), and 9 (Wil Meyers). ”¦

NFL News: Several readers pointed out that NFL uniform inspector Joe Morris, who was shown in yesterday’s Ticker, wears a Reebok jacket! Not only that, but he appears to be wearing the old NFL logo with more than eight stars. Hmmmmm. … Mike Sullivan has been writing reviews of old Bills programs. “There’s a lot of fun, silly stuff in them,” he says, “especially from this 1973 edition.” ”¦ “The TV show The Goldbergs is Philly-based,” says Chris Flinn. “On Tuesday night’s episode, the son on the show wore a Dr. J Sixers jersey and a furniture store customer was wearing a Ron Jaworski Eagles jersey.” ”¦ Robert Griffin III has bought new uniforms for his old high school (from Tommy Turner).

College Football News: With the Texas/Oklahoma game upcoming, David Wilson notes that Sooners coach Barry Switzer wore the rivalry on his cap in 1984. “I can’t imagine a coach nowadays doing it,” he says. “But OU still sells them.” … Pinktober jerseys coming later this month for New Mexico State (from Sam Wasson). ”¦ Steve Spurrier doesn’t mind Jadeveon Clowney being hurt after all. Key quote from that article, from Spurrier: “All those #7 jerseys and all the money he’s made for this school. We need to be appreciative that he chose South Carolina.” Well that’s honest, if not particularly admirable (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: The Ducks will wear Mighty Ducks throwbacks on Sunday (thanks, Phil). ”¦ The Team Canada jerseys for the Olympics have finally been released. Not bad. … Arron Asham of the Rangers had his nameplate partially torn off during a fight the other day (from Jordan Lazinsk).

Soccer News: Arsenal’s 2014-15 kit has been leaked (from Trevor Williams). ”¦ New third jersey for the Chicago Fire (from Phillip Foose).

Basketball News: Two new alternate uniforms for the Heat. The red one is similar to last year’s Xmas uni (thanks, Phil). ”¦ Looks like Tim Hardaway Jr. is going with JrOB this season (from Vinnie Gulisano). … Reprinted from yesterday’s commenst: I totally missed this, but apparently there’s been a slight change to the Wizards’ jerseys. … Kevin Durant appeared on Dan Patrick’s show and said he hopes every NBA team gets to wear nickNOBs (from Jody Michael). ”¦ Here’s a great story/slideshow about Robert Indiana’s court design for the Bucks (from Laurence Holland). … New court design for San Jose State.

Grab Bag: If every U.S. state could be represented by only one sport, how would the map shape up? Probably not like this, but it’s still a really cool map. … Here’s a beautiful graphic illustrating next year’s Giro d’Italia cycling race, which starts in Ireland and then jumps to Italy (from Sean Clancy). … New design for Yahoo Mail (thanks, Brinke). … New home kit for England’s rugby squad (from Yusuke Toyoda). ”¦ Casey Pitocchelli and his father have launched Rare Vintage Wear, a site devoted to vintage jerseys, sneakers, and sports collectibles. I haven’t had time to explore the entire site, but a preliminary examination looks promising.

Comments (256)

    Marketplace also noted that the rebranding cost would be offset by a rush on old merch as well as an influx of money supporting the new stuff. As an adult I enjoy the older logos and names of clubs, but as a kid I couldn’t be caught dead wearing the LAST Angels logo.

    Is “The Goldbergs” a reimagined, modernization of “The Goldbergs” from the 1950s?

    Not sure but it’s eerily similar to the Wonder Years. Parents with two sons and a daughter, and the voiceover narrator is in the youngest son’s eyes. Based in the 80’s.

    I don’t like the thought of non-Jews dressing up like real Jews. It’s dishonorable and degrading.

    That raises an interesting question. If there is something in a TV show created by gentiles (for the sake of argument) featuring Jewish characters that ordinary Jews see no harm with but the Hasidim deem offensive, would non-Jews embrace the cause and clamor for change or would it essentially be a non-issue outside the Jewish community?

    I pose this scenario since there seems to be conflicting opinion within the Native American community regarding the offensiveness of the depiction of Indians as sports icons. Granted, the ones who aren’t offended likely wouldn’t miss the logo/name in question in the event of change, but it’s something to consider. What I’m curious about is whether something should be deemed truly offensive if the group who are supposed to be offended apparently don’t agree whether it is or not. If that is the case, what business is it of any other group to determine what is or is not offensive? Is it a case where human dignity trumps majority rule or does it further muddy the waters by reiterating “What is offensive to you?”

    Using 56 for the intro of the pro bowl uniforms implies they want two teams of latter day Lawrence Taylors. That could lead to a few distractions in the week leading up to the game.

    It’s not. The modern version of the Pro Bowl (initially east vs west, then AFC/NFC after the merger) started in 1951. Not really sure why they picked 56 for the number, 21 and 80 would’ve made much more sense since the team “captains” for this new silly format are Deion Sanders & Jerry Rice.

    Maybe 5 and 6 are numerals that best show off the number typeface, and don’t have the alignment issue that you’d have with 1 or 7.

    Also, it seems like linebackers have the prototypical body type for the “superhero” aesthetics for presenting football uniforms (linemen are too fat, receivers are too skinny).

    So I look up #56 for the 49ers (as pictured above) and this is what I get:


    Can’t tell if that is Nate Stupar or not CUZ THE GUY PICTURED IS WEARING #45!!!

    I do also. Especially enjoyed the pictures and names of local radio and television people. Hard to believe there was really a Sandy Beach…in Buffalo.

    I think Sandy Beach is still around; he’s got to be in his late seventies.

    The Eyewitness News Team is legend in Buffalo: the weatherman, Tom Joles, also did a kid’s show in the afternoon, as Commander Tom. Irv Weinstein never used the terms “firemen” and “policemen”: they were “smoke eaters” and “our brave boys in blue.” And Eyewitness News started every night with a solemn voice (I think it was Tom Joles) saying, “It’s eleven o’clock. Do you know where your children are?”

    Well if Maureem Dowd is now on the bus, just change the damn name already. I’d rather see the Redskins have a new moniker than have to suffer through a daily list of sanctimonious converts to the cause. I mean where does this end? Does Miley Cyrus twerk at next year’s MTV awards with a foam finger announcing her support at changing the name?

    You are essentially objecting to the fact that people are weighing in on a topic of public interest.

    That’s not a very strong intellectual position.

    No. I’m telling you that although the “intellectual” arguments to change the Redskins’ name changed neither my heart nor mind but recent rush of Johnny-come-lately’s to confirm their so-called progressive bona fides is enough for me. You can now count me among those calling for a name change.

    How to marginalize a point of view (or at least attempt to) without actually engaging with it:

    1) When someone gets out in front of an issue, criticize that person for being “out of step with the mainstream” or “a radical” or something along those lines.

    2) When more and more people get on board with the person who was out in front, criticize them for being “Johnny-come-lately” bandwagoneers.

    It’s fun to demonize the opposition, I know. Certainly more fun than actually dealing with what they have to say.

    Anyway, if you want to fold up your tent, go ahead — it’s your tent. But that means the real Johnny-come-lately is you.

    Looks like Chicago Fire fans picked the ugliest and least distinctive of the available options for the 3rd kit.

    Paul –

    Agreed, I am the latest Johnny come lately and I have folded my tent and now support the name change. I simply cannot stand the drip, drip, drip of the look how progressive I am now crowd. Where were they all 10 years, 5 years, last year? I never agreed with your position but I at least respected you getting out in front of an issue to “fight the good fight”, no matter how much I thought the fight was misguided. Peter King, Maureen Dowd, Mike Wise, et al., not so much.

    In any event, I’m on your side now and regardless of my motivation we now seek the same end.

    Looks like Chicago Fire fans picked the ugliest and least distinctive of the available options for the 3rd kit.

    Or, as many Fire fans have described it, the Fire’s version of a San Jose Earthquakes kit. Like so many things the Fire have done in recent years, a huge disappointment.

    I simply cannot stand the drip, drip, drip of the look how progressive I am now crowd.

    In other words, you’re more concerned with the messengers than with the message. I think this is a poor justification for any stand on any issue. Just because someone is an asshole doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is wrong; just because you like someone doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is right. Seems better to accept or reject ideas on their own merits, not based on with whom the originate.

    I at least respected you getting out in front of an issue to “fight the good fight”, no matter how much I thought the fight was misguided. Peter King, Maureen Dowd, Mike Wise, et al., not so much.

    Thanks for the props. For the record, though, Mike Wise was out in front on this issue way before I was.

    Or just make the unsubstantiated claim that someone is using a racial slur. That’ll marginalize ’em.

    Washington I-ron-nees,

    It is indeed a word that befits Daniel Snyder. How a brazillionaire like Dan-O-MG! who made his fortune in marketing and PR, could be so tone deaf applying the same rules to his own business is indeed a just sobriquet.

    So congrats Snydler Whiplash – your latest PR campaign just caused your team renaming to be put on the fast track, and to the NFL for repeating it’s standard bully play – until public opinion and media momentum (see sanity) overtake them – and they punt. Wow.

    So there you have it sports fans, this is what happens when a horrible PR campaign mixed faux fan outrage, phony symbols of honor and tradition – collides with reality.

    It will be super fun to look back on these days say a decade from now and see just how many fans admit to agreeing all along with Mr. Lukas and and his drunk on liberal media army of Uni-watchers were on this matter.

    We live in a golden age of sports uniforms, now if we can just get the gold out – we will be on the right track.

    Keep in mind, the only team that’s getting talked about EVERY SINGLE DAY is the Washington Redskins. That’s marvelous for D Snyder. He’s probably lapping it all up in his gold-encrusted pool.

    His anti-PR campaign is working wonders, as his case is beaten down in the press and public affairs circles every day to where he’ll probably finally change it after “fighting” it for years and years. (I don’t seriously think Snyder is smart enough to run an anti-PR campaign.)

    But the comedy in all this: the only winner on this topic is the cad (Snyder).

    His anti-PR campaign is working wonders, as his case is beaten down in the press and public affairs circles every day to where he’ll probably finally change it after “fighting” it for years and years. (I don’t seriously think Snyder is smart enough to run an anti-PR campaign.)

    I don’t know, I think that’s exactly what he’s doing. Look at the press releases and statements the team’s pumping out – they’re not even trying. No one outside of Virginia and Maryland believes the “honor” and “pride” bullshit, but he can still save face with the hardcores by putting up a fight.

    I’ve been through Prince William County and I get the sense that Redskins FO talking points resonate there.

    Maybe less so in the hyper-liberal MoCo (that’s my home!) and areas of Maryland where the Ravens are creeping in.

    Just as there are a growing number of vocal non-fans of the Redskins specifically or of pro football generally calling for Snyder to change the name of his team and offering support of those leading the campaign by self-censoring or ‘soapboxing’ in oppostion, there are also a growing number of silent non-fans of the Redskins specifically or of pro football generally who, as a result of the “EVERY SINGLE DAY” (nice use of caps!) coverage? and a consideration of the merits of the viewpoints presented therein, have come to support the retention on the name Redskins; these people might also be showing their support by purchasing Redskins fangear and ‘letting their money talk’ on their behalf, which bolsters Snyder’s and the NFL’s bottom line?
    I would like to know how briskly (or not) Redskins merchandise is selling thesedays in light of the additional public coverage of this ‘issue’.

    there are also a growing number of silent non-fans

    Really? This sounds awful lot like the cable news trope of the unsubstantiated “More and more people are…”.

    there are also a growing number of silent non-fans of the Redskins specifically or of pro football generally…

    Ah, the great Silent Majority. The standard go-to option when the argument has been lost.

    I didn’t intend to make an argument per se; I considered it “thinking harder” about what ScottyM stated.
    Besides, according to many reports there’s no longer an “argument” to win here. This change is imminent or at least inevitable despite any evidence of movement on Snyder’s part toward that end (retaining Lanny Davis doesn’t make me think he’s had a change of heart or mind).
    Even though the majority of polled opinion has indeed spoken out in support of the Redskins team name, their numbers have dropped while those stating oppostion to the team’s current name remain a minority with some gaining traction.
    I was merely suggesting that there might be a growing segment of folks who were previously ambivalent/neutral/unsure…all minority positions…who now side with Redskins supporters because of the near-constant anti-Redskins coverage and the rationale given as to why the name must be retired, and that this newly realized support may be manifested in increased Redskins-related purchases (a net benefit to the league and Snyder), which could be one measure, though a poor one, to quantify the growing (un)popularity of the team’s current visual identity?
    My apologies for running long, for unclear phrasing and/or for being seemingly confrontational.

    To celebrate their 125th anniversary last season, Scottish team Celtic FC worked with Nike (and their sponsor at the time Tennent’s) to produce a ‘throwback’ 3rd jersey with logos the same color as the shirt itself based on the first jersey worn by a Celtic team. Granted, the gesture got tons of press, so it probably worked out for Nike anyway. I own one and for all their usual Nikeness it’s a classy looking jersey that doesn’t assault people with logos.


    I don’t know whose idea it was, but I’m sure I read it here. The whole Washington controversy goes away if you change the logo to a redskin potato.

    Not sure I would characterize the Pro Bowl as the game nobody cares about, it was the highest rated of the so-called all-star games. Not that that means much…..oh yeah, the unis look like shite.

    The TV numbers are surprising, though I think it’s among the least watched nationally televised NFL games most seasons.

    And to be fair, MLB and NBA have All-Star festivities that extend over several days and the game is simply the finale to the events.

    “… If every U.S. state could be represented by only one sport, how would the map shape up? Probably not like this, but it’s still a really cool map. …”

    Really cool map. The pictomap is a graphic tradition that bears revival, that’s for sure. I got a bunch. If one of you young’uns could link to Jo Mora, you’ll find a trove of really superb pictomaps, including the insanely great Sweetheart of the Rodeo poster that Gram Parsons and the Byrds borrowed for their classic C&W album of the same name…

    Cool lookin’ map, but I’m disappointed Ohio is represented by F’in’ cornhole of all things… a game in which you hold a bean bag in one hand, a beer in the other and shares a name with butt-sex.

    Sort of reminds me of old-time restaurant placemats that would highlight the touristy stuff in whatever area you were visiting (or driving through).

    They nailed Utah and Texas, but they missed a bit on New York. Street ball might be the sport downstate, but in western New York, it’s got to be hockey. Or maybe bingo. Or having a heart attack while shoveling snow.

    The Arsenal leak might be the first time a new kit is modeled by an active player who plays for another club.

    Also, if you had a dollar for every media outlet that made the “Linford Christie jumped the gun” joke, you’d have enough for a few beers.

    Key quote from that article, from Spurrier: “All those #7 jerseys and all the money he’s made for this school. We need to be appreciative that he chose South Carolina.” Well that’s honest, if not particularly admirable

    I actually think it’s pretty admirable. About the most admirable thing to come out of the mouth of a coach who’s handsomely compensated by the machine that is big time college sports.

    I haven’t thought about that white dot in a long time, but I remember as a kid always thinking that the O’s logo portrayed a bird at bat with the pitch approaching him.

    Yep, the truth is: that neon yellow-green is Nike’s signature branded color “Volt.”

    Congratulations, NFL, you’ve been duped.

    “Congratulations, NFL, you’ve been duped.”

    It amazes me how easily teams are letting their identities be subverted by Nike. It’s happening at every level. Now the NFL’s celebration of its best players (whether the game is relevant or not) has been turned into Team Nike A vs Team Nike B. ScottyM, you’re absolutely right about that “Volt” color. It’s worth noting Nike did the same thing at the Olympics last year, outfitting virtually all of its track athletes, regardless of national team, in shoes of that exact color. And it’s so bright and noticeable that what the viewer really saw was a field of athletes from Team Nike. The national uniforms were so easily relegated to secondary elements, even when they were supplied by Nike (and of course all using the same triangle template). It was embarassing. The NOCs need to step in and protect their national identities.

    Don’t remember who won the men’s 1500 final in London? Don’t worry, Phil Knight filled out every starting position.

    The same urgency should be applied to the NFL as well. Stunning how quickly Nike has turned this into a self-branding exercise. In addition to Team Nike A being outfitted in “Volt” (NFC, thereby ensuring the sacred Nike Seattle helmet design will be paired harmoniously), note Team Nike B (AFC) is in the traditional Nike Orange (see every Nike shoebox ever), which not coincidentally ensures the other landmark Nike NFL helmet design (Denver) will also have a matching ensemble, closing the circle with the previous Nike NFL era. Neat and tidy, and the NFL’s identity is now an afterthought, just like that.

    Nike’s marketing folks are geniuses, but they’re using their estimable talents for questionable purposes when they could be contributing to aesthetic progress. I can’t imagine how my design clients would react if I tried to impose a single palette of color & elements on all of them uniformly. It’s wildly irresponsible and disrespectful to Nike’s clients. So sad.

    In addition to Team Nike A being outfitted in “Volt” (NFC, thereby ensuring the sacred Nike Seattle helmet design will be paired harmoniously), note Team Nike B (AFC) is in the traditional Nike Orange (see every Nike shoebox ever), which not coincidentally ensures the other landmark Nike NFL helmet design (Denver) will also have a matching ensemble, closing the circle with the previous Nike NFL era. Neat and tidy, and the NFL’s identity is now an afterthought, just like that.

    Yeah, except that Seattle’s helmet only has one really tiny bit of neon green in the bird’s eye, and Denver only has a helmet stripe and the horse’s mane. Both of those helmets are still going to look like shit matched with the rest of the uniform.

    Of course, that’s basically Pro Bowl tradition anyway. The only helmets that ever looked halfway decent with the old color scheme were the Giants, Patriots (pre-Elvis) & Bills.

    Great comments, Don. Spot on. “… teams are letting their identities be subverted by Nike” hits the nail squarely. Nike’s the pimp and the NFL is the “escort.”

    Eh. It’s the Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl jerseys have always been ugly. And NFC/AFC was never a real divide like the AL/NL or East/West.

    “The only helmets that ever looked halfway decent with the old color scheme were the Giants, Patriots (pre-Elvis) & Bills.”

    The Chiefs looked OK, as did the original Houston NFL franchise.

    Jeff, you’re right, there’s only a spot of snot on the Seattle helmet, and the orange on Denver’s helmet is different (the AFC uniform’s orange is a bit more electrified, for lack of a better term). Nevertheless, they’re still going to look way more matched than any of the other teams’ helmets. I think it’s all enough evidence to convince the jury of the intentionality of Nike’s designs, and their clear agenda to subvert as many team identities as possible.

    It’s easy to envision a brand strategy meeting 10 years ago that was focused on developing this strategy, which has been using Oregon as a laboratory, and slowly branching out from there. It’s so easy now to pick out Nike teams based on uniform designs. One could also do something similar with the insidious UnderArmour, less so for Adidas (aside from the triple stripe). Nike’s been by far the most successful (and most skilled), but it’s a really troubling pattern. I stand by my “irresponsible” label.

    And NFC/AFC was never a real divide like the AL/NL or East/West.

    I don’t know about that one, remember that 10 of the 13 AFC teams in 1970 were originally AFL teams. It’s not a big deal today, but for the first few years, I think the AFC teams/players were definitely still trying to prove themselves as equals.

    I meant to mention the merger, and it’s a good point. I just don’t think the NFL/AFL thing is as big a part of the teams’ identities now. Though we have a cyclical thing where AFC teams are better overall than NFC teams for a couple of years and vice versa.

    Unlike the AL/NL split, there are still fans who remember when the conferences were separate leagues. There are still three AFC owners who go back to the AFL days.

    I’d say that football has a bigger conference divide at the moment than any other sport, especially since MLB instituted everyday interleague play.

    Good points, Don. When you work in the business, you understand how these brand/design conversations start and transpire over time. It’s all calculated (or, otherwise a fortunate run of momentum).

    It’s most certainly irresponsible. And borders on criminal. We’re all being duped, because nobody is revolting to this nonsense. Instead, everybody plays along and buys more stuff.

    Here’s a controversial thought that likely nobody will read: Which is worse, an offense pro nickname? Or, the fact that public universities have sold their souls and brand identities to corporate conglomerates?

    Nike does light and dark colors and everyone thinks it’s revolutionary. I’m already tired of it. Heck, I was tired of neon back in the 80’s. I wish they had a little more imagination than their “branding.”

    Heat do love their solid coloured jerseys, back in black, white hot, now what’s this called? Will they go all orange (sorry, gold) next season?

    Re: “Beloved”

    Howard Stern referred to Whoopi Goldberg this morning as “beloved.” She replied, “I’m beliked.”

    My favorite Whoppi reference was on Imus a few years ago. They joked that she was the new “Bond Girl” and her name was “Pussy NoMore”. Classic.

    To that point, if the Redskin name is as odious as a more common offensive term based on skin color, it should be removed from those contexts, as well. That’s the primary argument, and you would never call peanuts that name.

    Remember that the bumblebee (and solid black) Pirates’ uniforms were made by Descente, a Japanese company probably responsible for most of that country’s pro baseball teams. Thus, Pittsburgh wore the eccentricities associated with Japan pro ball. You can see the numerals were unlike anything worn in America, either. However, the gold suits were Wilsons, and lettered-up in a more traditional fashion.

    Yeah, Descente (and a few other Japanese jersey manufacturers, but not all) still do that with short names. Having a short surname myself, I detest it (and when I played for an amateur team with NOBs, I asked for normal-width lettering).

    There are even typically two different widths of numbers. If a team has three-digit numbers (yes, they exist), there will be three different number widths.

    I’ve also seen the letters spaced apart so that they sit directly atop the two digits. Multiple letter widths *and* variable spacing (look at #106 Kase and Brown compared to partially-obscured Spencer neat to #21).

    I’ve only seen one example of this on a major league jersey: link. I wonder if he specifically asked for it. It certainly stood out seeing it on the back of his jersey when he was on the mound.

    Out of curiosity, why do you refer to the Pro-Bowl uniforms as “costumes” and that “they suck”? Is it because each team takes on a monochromatic look? Is it that the colors arent your traditional ROYGBIV? If I remember correctly this site has actually questioned why orange is not used more in professional major sport. Is it the font? Swap out varsity block like Alabama or Penn State, do you still consider these “costumes”? You’ve written little here to justify these claims. Curious…

    Think about this. You’re flipping channels forgetting that the game is on and you come across this game. What the heck is it?

    Blue versus Red (or one team white) makes much more sense. It says friendly all American game being played in Hawaii. Course I know it bounces around now or something but not the point.

    What, if anything about those two color schemes says to you “All Star Game?”

    They’re costumes because they follow Nike’s now-standard superhero aesthetic.

    They suck because (a) charcoal and Day-Glo is a brutal color combo and (b) charcoal numbers with orange trim is a brutal color combo.

    You’re correct, I’m on record as liking orange as a trim color. But not in every single context.

    re: “costumes”

    With the revolving door of alts, monochromes, metallic/hi-gloss/duo-tone/matte helmet finishes, BFBS and any other forms of uni-chicanery teams are pulling these days, “costume” is much more apropos than “uniform.” At least superheros (for the most part) maintain one identifiable look. NCAA football has turned into a fashion show, for Chrissakes!

    And when you refer to “superhero aesthetic”, is that in reference to Nike’s “now-standard” press release photo images and press conference live models?
    Because the font doesn’t resemble the Packers or the Raiders or Alabama or Penn State, is the more modern font part of that “superhero aesthetic”?

    I’ll just have to live with your ‘opinion’ that “they suck” because you don’t prefer colors outside of the primary and secondary spectrum, but I feel inclined to ask justification.


    Any info about the Pro Bowl socks? In the Superhero picture they look like they’re spandex and not knit but in the uni’s at the presser they aren’t shown. I know it’s easy to assume they’re regular knit but with Nike I wouldn’t be surprised if they were compression material and .00001% lighter.

    “Costumes Nobody Will Remember” Are we sure about that? Granted, I hate these jerseys just like I hated (and still hate) the Turn Ahead The Clock jerseys in MLB, but will everyone really forget to remember these Pro-Bowl jerseys? Certainly there are people out there who will probably like these jerseys (I’m guessing such people are not readers of this site). And, after time passes, will some people look back on the jerseys as “fun” similar to the opinion you retroactively have stated for the TATC jerseys?

    The Charlie Brown locker combination post made me laugh because I’ve done this for years with important numbers and my wife thinks I’m nuts. My dad’s cell number is 555-Jackie Robinson-Peyton Manning… My wife’s cell is 555-Randy Moss-Eric Dickerson… etc.

    I’ve even used it at work. The table series I helped develop last year has model numbers that all start with “06” in honor of Stan Musial since the base reminds me of an arch.

    I’m in the same boat, although most of mine come from NASCAR or other forms of racing.

    same here. my locker combo back in the 80’s was dusty baker, pedro guerrero, fernando valenzuela

    I have a lot of passwords to remember at work, but we’re supposed to keep them secret, so I use coded post-it notes.

    The numbers are converted into names of players who wore those numbers, or sometimes names of players who played the positions corresponding to the number. Then I write the names in Cyrillic or Greek just to make things even more secure. No one has ever figured any of it out, of course, but after writing them down with all this effort, I find that I’ve memorized them anyway.

    Still fun.

    “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.” – Motto of Field Notes Brand notebooks.

    That’s a great system. I might have to steal it!

    I also use players’ numbers to remember things, such as a PIN or password.

    I can remember one time where this strategy worked in reverse! My ex-wife had taken down directions for a car trip, and she and I had run over them once. She intended to take the paper with her; but she forgot the paper, so we were going on memory.

    We got to a point in the trip where she couldn’t remember whether she had written Exit 37 or Exit 39. Even though I didn’t remember either based on our one quick verbal run-through, I reasoned that, if she had said to me “Exit 37”, I would have thought of Casey Stengel. And, since I didn’t think of Stengel, it must have been Exit 39. And sure enough, it was.

    I haven’t used player numbers for passwords, although I like the idea. Instead I went straight to using “Jurgensen” as my password for a long time.

    I’ve done that to remember street addresses. The I’m Still Calling It The Brickskeller in DC is Bart Starr, Mel Gray 22nd Street NW.

    My locker padlock used from 7th Grade through use in college had a combination based on uniform numbers of the 1990 Baltimore Orioles.

    Randy Milligan – Juan Bell – Sam Horn


    I’m convinced that NOBODY else in the school would have figured that out, even if I wrote their names on the front of the locker, and is the only reason to remember that 1990 team.

    I haven’t been able to find a great picture of it but from watching the Red Sox/Rays game last night I noticed that a couple of Rays players appeared to have a pink MLB logo on the back of their jerseys.

    In the below picture you can see Lobaton’s MLB logo is different the Escobar’s.


    I’ll bet they’re actually just badly faded from a season of laundering. Seems to happen even at that level.

    Yeah, actually that could very well explain it. It looked pink on TV, though that could have just been the lighting.

    Don, you are indeed correct. Here is an picture of Lobaton taken on September 14th. Its badly faded, and has just gotten worse.


    Looks like Dan Strally’s cap may actually one of the older wool caps (or caps that actually fit). I see the MLB logo on the back isn’t “raised” like it has been since New Era went to the new material. It certainly looks more form fitting than the new hats do. Strange that they would still have one of those laying around.

    I think the biggest aesthetic problem with the Pro Bowl is the fact that they mix the regular helmets with special uniforms. In baseball it looks great because one team wears the home white and the other wears the road gray. In basketball it looks great because they all wear the same thing. It’s the mix and match that creates the issue.

    There are really 2 choices here…
    1. One team wears their normal white and one wears darks. Worst case, you need to address the pants a bit to create more contrast, so insist on everyone wearing white pants. You’d need to create one-off pantss for a few teams (packers, steelers, saints, raiders, etc.) But isn’t that a better solution than these?
    2. Create custom helmets for the pro bowl. Yes, they’d be wearing one-off helmets, which wouldn’t be as safe as their regular “broken-in” helmets (according to the nfl)… but nobody gets hit in the pro bowl anyway.

    Personally, I’d vote for #1. I love the look of the MLB all star game. Nothing better than seeing all 30 uniforms on the field together. Of course the NFL wouldn’t sell any pro-bowl replica jerseys, and let’s be honest, that’s what their really after here.

    I have always LIKED the fact that the NFL players wear their normal helmets with a cockamaymee jersey/uniform.

    I could live with a cool AFC/NFC helmet though too. (Good luck with someone not effing those up too!) Maybe the player’s regular helmet with the A or N logo (sort of like in the old days).


    That online shop that guy and his dad created was a nice idea to bypass eBay but… some of the prices are way out of line with eBay. Starting lineup prices are ridiculous. The Jordan shoe prices are good if they’re not worn (which it doesn’t say) but I think they’re worn and in that case the prices are out of line. With some hard work on eBay or in the thrift stores people can do better on price.

    Thank you, Chuck. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who remembers numbers that way.

    The white dot on the Oriole bird’s hat is the little hole on the panel of the caps. At least that is what I always assumed it was. And the Wonder Years always reminds me of the New York Jets. Kevin Arnold always had that Jets jacket on.

    Love, love….LOVE the pro bowl uniforms. For a once a year event, I like it. Way better than the boring and predictable cliche Hawaiian floral patterns.

    The only thing I may change is the grayed out team logo on the jersey sleeve.

    “Way better than the boring and predictable cliche Hawaiian floral patterns.”

    Now THAT would have made for some interesting uniforms!

    I’d like the new ones if they actually stood for something other than Nike’s identity. Nothing about these unis says “NFL” to me.

    That’s exactly my biggest issue with these Pro Bowl uniforms, they are nothing — NOTHING — more than a branding opportunity for Nike.
    They have nothing to do with the teams, players or league, and everything to do with Nike.


    To me the most surprising thing about the new Pro Bowl uniforms is they are going away from the traditional red, white and blue in this day and age of bandwagon patriotism, which usually manifests itself in the uni world through what Paul refers to as flag desecration unis. Of course, we all realize that most of the “patriotic” unis are really just another way to create alternate merchandise that fans will buy. So I guess I should not be surprised that Nike ran the numbers and realized they could make more money by selling completely new costumes rather than yet another set of faux-patriotic Pro Bowl unis.

    But… they weren’t intended to be patriotic/flag-desecration unis. The AFC’s color is red and the NFC’s is blue. Both were paired with white. Simple as that.

    These new Pro Bowl unis are terrible, but this is ten times not as big a deal to me as the fact they got rid of AFC vs. NFC. Who I am supposed to cheer for now, either a random group of players chosen by Jerry Rice or a random group of players chosen by Deion Sanders?

    And even if you wanted to buy an ugly overpriced Pro Bowl jersey of your favorite player, you’re not gonna know whether he’s going to be wearing charcoal and electric pickle juice green, or white and Q-bert diarrhea orange until they draft the teams.

    I think they just are looking for reasons to alienate the last 5% of the football fans that did still like the Pro Bowl, and these uniforms look like for some reason they are instead of trying change the rules to make the game more competitive they and going the other direction (eliminate kickoffs?) and if the apparel is any indication, trying to attract dip-spits that drink Mountain Dew and skateboard all day.

    The release of the Canadian Olympic also created a bit of a firestorm for the arm band on the black jersey and it’s similarity to Nazi uniforms.


    There was some discussion when the jerseys were leaked within the last couple weeks, but not enough to warrant their removal I guess (or it was too late). Honestly, I don’t understand why they only have the arm band on the left arm. This also seems to be the case with the White and Red jerseys, which just doesn’t make sense to me.

    I thought that was sort of an odd element to have on the jersey, too. I guess it’s part of the asymmetry trend in uniform design, but it is essentially a de facto armband. If it’s in any color other than red, does it get compared to the Nazis? Can the armband – as a thing – ever be rehabilitated and shed associations to its most infamous use? Probably not, at least not in a wide execution like that. If it was a simple strip it would just be a stripe, but when you make it that wide, and then put a symbol of some sort directly in its center, the comparison is inevitable.

    That said, NHL & IIHF referees wear armbands without incident, though they wear it on both arms and it serves a purpose – to identify their rank above linesmen.

    It doesn’t look terrible once you get past the obvious visual comparison, but if we think about it objectively, it’s also utterly unnecessary. It’s asymmetry for the sake of asymmetry. Put it on both arms and the uniform still looks awesome, and there’s no controversy or lingering bad taste.

    Controversy aside, Nike seems to be more miss than hit this go-round with Olympic jerseys. The USA one is awful, Canada isn’t all that hot, nor is Russia. The Czech Republic ones actually have a nice effect, and are the best of the bunch released thus far.

    The problem is, none of them LOOK like hockey jerseys. They are way too streamlined, and if you saw them at first glance, and did not know what they were, I’d guess people would think they were long-sleeve tees, or maybe a sweatshirt or something similar. The less said about the faux-laces on the collar the better, as well. They might seem different seeing one actually seeing one in person, but the Canada jerseys leaked a week or so ago, someone took a photo of them in a store, and they still don’t look all that great.

    That black jersey is horrible. I don’t like the asymmetrical sleeve stripe, but the overall look doesn’t bother me. Then again, living in the States, I don’t have to see the gas station signs that would remind me of the logo on the red and white jerseys. I can see why Canadians would dislike this jersey more than me.

    It seems that people are desperate for something to complain about. I would never have thought Nazi armband when i saw that jersey.

    Phil had that Wizards change in a weekend ticker a few weeks ago. Not trying to play gotcha, just had to confirm I had seen that on the site already to ensure my sanity.

    i missed Phil’s post too, apparently. Man that change was needed! it now makes that dumb side piping less redundant, too.

    Lukas, noticed an A’s pitcher last night with a grey under bill instead of the new standard black.

    Good heavens that’s awful. Can you imagine the meeting where this was proposed – and everyone said “Yeah! I LOVE it!”????

    They’re selections from the 99 Designs contest that was shared a couple of days ago. link should work.

    They’re not all awful.

    Kevin Durant might like the NNOB idea, but I doubt NBA likes the idea of one of the league’s most telegenic players wearing “EASY MONEY SNIPER” or “SNIPER JONES” on his back.

    Given that the league’s already put the kibosh on Andrei Kirilenko wearing “AK” on the back of his jersey there’s no way they’d allow one of their most marketable players to wear any kind of gun reference.

    Kinda makes you wonder whether Pete Maravich would still be “Pistol” if he played today…

    My nickname is NEW BALANCE and the money I am receiving from them has nothing to do with it.

    Even the sheet Joe Morris is filling out has the 25-star NFL logo. It seems to be from the mid 2000s when the NFL had introduced the Endzone font but not the redesigned logo.

    Paul – The National Congress of American Indians (Which is an interesting name for a group raising the issue of racism, but is akin to the NAACP using the racist term “Negro”) is saying that the Cleaveland Indians is racist because of their Chief Wahoo image. They also think the “Skins name is racist…


    Whenever I’ve seen any documentaries with Indian commentators, they usually call themselves Indians, or, more commonly by their tribal name. I can’t recall any using the term “Native American”.

    Was out last night, but plan on watching it “on demand” next time I fire up

    An unscientific analysis of my social media feed says a number of people watched it and thought it was a big deal. Granted, most were sports fans or reporters.

    I watched it last night, Paul. Fantastic work done by the crew who shot this, but most of the information I already knew from hockey’s studies and findings. Chris Nowinski’s work is extensively covered in hockey’s studies, and they put a lot of emphasis on that. But that was precisely why I watched it – hockey will be the next major sport to encounter this problem.

    I also found this gem of an article on If you want to understand about offending or being offended, read through the article before speaking out about the Redskins topic. I get tired reading about who offended whom and who should be offended when I land here. Most times, those who are speaking of the offence or offended are doing it wrong.

    I wanted to but wasn’t able to watch it last night. I hope I can find time in the next couple of days. I’m not sure I can say that I “care” though, at least not in the sense that it would theoretically be a “wake up call” about the NFL or football in general.

    As someone who loves (and once played) football, I’m not at all surprised by the way the game negatively affects players’ health, nor am I surprised a professional league would choose to downplay (or hide) that reality. The game is what it is, and the players know what they’re getting into.

    Perhaps the powers-that-be haven’t been 100% forthcoming about what football does to a body and brain, but it isn’t as though you have doctors saying it’s good for you ala doctors and smoking in the 1950’s.

    The game is what it is, and the players know what they’re getting into.

    Uh, the players didn’t know the full extent of what they’re getting into, and that was kind of the point. You should watch it.

    The whole point of League of Denial is that the NFL suppressed legitimate information and replaced it with false information. Which means players did NOT know what they were getting into.

    And just because they say that in a show on PBS doesn’t make it true.

    Anyone that plays football knows they’re playing a dangerous sport and if they don’t admit that, they’re a liar. The first time you have your “bell rung” you know it’s probably not a good thing. But amateurs play the game because it’s fun and professionals do it because it’s fun and they can get paid doing it.

    Did these guys know about CTE? No, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t know it was dangerous. And today, just as in days past, there are plenty of other ways to earn a living other than playing football.

    The other issue, which is also raised by the documentary, is that the NFL, by repeatedly asserting that NFL football was safe, convinced parents that youth football was also safe. While the hits are less intense at the youth level, the brains are less developed and more prone to damage. The documentary spends some time discussing a high school player in the Pittsburgh area who was found to have had CTE after his untimely death to illustrate this point.

    This, to me at least, is the biggest moral/ethical concern of all.

    And just because they say that in a show on PBS doesn’t make it true.

    Of course not. But have you done the same research that the Fainaru brothers have done? Why don’t you just link or read the book and judge for yourself? It seems like you’re as actively in denial as the league (is alleged to be).

    And just because they say that in a show on PBS doesn’t make it true.

    Well, that’s a handy response to, um, anything.

    Soon the people denying the link between football and brain damage will be viewed the same way as people who denied the link between smoking and cancer, or between fossil fuels and climate change. You can put your fingers in your ears and say “LAH-LAH-LAH!” all you want. But back here in the real world, the increasing mountain of data is becoming impossible to ignore.

    I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a link between football and brain damage. I think the evidence supports that.

    I am saying that the players knew fully the risks associated with the game of football and claiming that the NFL somehow duped them by suppressing information is bullshit.

    players did NOT know what they were getting into.simply because the players

    the players knew fully the risks associated with the game of football and claiming that the NFL somehow duped them by suppressing information is bullshit.

    It is impossible to watch League of Denial (or, I gather, to read the book version) and come to that conclusion.

    Could League of Denial be wrong? Sure. Anything could be wrong. But Frontline has a very, very strong reputation for reputable investigative journalism, and most of the evidence speaks for itself. I’d say the presumption of legitimacy is with League of Denial. If you’d like to challenge that legitimacy, you’ll need some counter-data — not just demonstrably false assertions that the players “knew what they were getting into.”

    I agree that Frontline is an extremely reputable source, and I don’t doubt that the argument is a strong one.

    The issue with finding “counter-data – not just demonstrably false assertions” is that, at this point, the data sample has been corrupted by the promise of money from lawsuits and thus I suspect you will find a hard time finding an NFL player – past or present – who would admit to knowing the risks.

    Personally, I can admit that I knew the risks when I played in high school and college (and suffered multiple concussions), I could share the thoughts of a number of guys I played with as an amateur that knew the risks, and I can point out Jim Gregg’s post below about the toll football took on him but that he’d “play again tomorrow if he were capable”.

    I don’t want to overstate my knowledge of the NFL player’s mindset, but based on my experience playing football, I have no problem arguing that ignorance of the risk is bullshit.

    It’s not empirical evidence but it’s the truth.

    Actually, you *didn’t* know the risks (and neither did anyone else), because we’re just now discovering the extent to which football can cause chronic brain injury. That data didn’t exist when you were in junior high.

    Where was the praise for “Head Games” last year? I hope it wasn’t missing because it wasn’t on PBS, Hi Def, artsy shots zooming in on B&W stills (ooooh). You know, window dressing.

    From CBS “Eye on Football”:

    “And one of the biggest bombshells to emerge from the documentary was the story Omalu told when he met privately with an NFL doctor and when that doctor asked Omalu if he understood the implications of what he was doing.

    “If 10 percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport,” that doctor told Omalu, “that is the end of football.” ”

    Guess the NFL doesn’t have to worry about team nicknames if the end of football is near. So, they got that.

    Robby, would you have played football for the majority of your life if someone promised you a long retirement of short-term memory problems, long-term memory problems, violent and irrational mood swings, dementia, early onset Alzheimer’s, and suicidal thoughts?

    That sounds like a fantastic retirement, right? Pretty great trade-off for 6-8 years of stardom in the NFL after busting your ass to get financial security, right?

    Even today, NFL puts the focus on the big, helmet-to-helmet plays and ignores the simple collisions that happen on every single play that add up over time.

    And now the NFL is diverting resources away from BU’s CTE research and characterizing a Nigerian-born researcher as a “witch doctor” (now *that*’s racism!). NFL is *exactly* like Big Tobacco.

    If I was good enough, yes, I would probably choose to play professional football not only because of the financial security it would afford but because of the enjoyment I would get from playing. I’d take the risk. No one is putting a gun to an NFL player’s head forcing them to play. I would bet that if you were able to ask Junior Seau if he enjoyed football, he’d say he loved every down he ever played.

    I’m not saying the stories of former players with dementia or worse aren’t frightening and sad. They are. But people play football because they want to and because they can. More than 1700 men are doing it right now in the NFL in spite of the knowledge that football kills your body – something known long before CTE found its way into the discussion.

    Even today, NFL puts the focus on the big, helmet-to-helmet plays and ignores the simple collisions that happen on every single play that add up over time.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Every time I hear the word “concussions” as shorthand for this issue, it drives me crazy.

    No one is putting a gun to an NFL player’s head forcing them to play

    This is always an intellectually weak argument, and doesn’t address the league’s reaction the CTE. After all, no one put a gun to the NFL’s head and force them to actively suppress brain research and player files.

    That players (who often come from desperate poverty and have little human capital outside of football) choose to play football is a pretty shitty justification for the league’s response. In fact, I’m not seeing the relevance.

    And can we stop conflating expecting joint pains after an NFL career with severe brain damage?

    It’s hardly an intellectually weak argument. It’s a fact. Guys play football because they want to, not because they’re forced to.

    Let’s ask Barrett Jones why he’s playing football and didn’t go into accounting.

    I suppose you’re right, if you removed all nuance and treat everything as a binary.

    Also, just because someone wants to do something is a poor indicator of if it’s a good idea, or whether someone who governs the activity shouldn’t look out for the best interest of the participants.

    A lot of people do things because they ignore or misjudge the risks. Or they lack the knowledge to make informed decisions. And this is especially true for someone who lacks the human capital that, say, people running the league have, and is handed a meal ticket that dwarfs anything else that’s offered to them.

    Sure, every player in the NFL chose to play football. That doesn’t mean the NFL shouldn’t work to make the sport safer.

    I would bet that if you were able to ask Junior Seau if he enjoyed football, he’d say he loved every down he ever played.

    You realize the immense amount of stupidity you just heaped upon your own argument with this statement, right? Junior Seau took his own life after retiring from football, and it was link. AND HIS FAMILY IS SUING THE NFL FOR THIS while the NFL continues to deny the legitimacy of the claims. That’s from January of this year, Rob. So don’t bee-ess anyone about what Junior Seau would have said. His actions speak louder.

    Secondly, football – or any sports for that matter – can have long-lasting damage on your body. That’s a risk that any athlete assumes when stepping between the lines. But the effects on one’s mind and brain are something that, for the longest time, were denied as a result of everything but football. And now that the results of the studies show that the instances of CTE in athletes is growing exponentially, the NFL still denies the claims.

    Look, I want to be able to retire and enjoy retirement. Sure, I might have creaky knees and a sore back, but I want to be able to sit with my grandchildren and wife and enjoy the good time. I certainly don’t want to be on 24-hour suicide watch, and I don’t want dementia and Alzheimer’s by the time I’m 40 because I was a good football player.

    That’s not retirement – that’s a nightmare.

    “Immense amount of stupidity”? I don’t think so.

    With all due respect to the Seau family, I’m not surprised that they’re suing, but they aren’t Junior. I admit it’s arrogant of me to try to guess what a man that committed suicide (likely) because of brain damage would say if he came back from the dead, but come on. He played in the NFL for 19 years. There must have been something he liked about that lifestyle to do it for that long.

    Nothing I have said is in any way intended to suggest that CTE isn’t real or that there isn’t a connection between football and brain disease. I believe everything the science is telling us right now. What I also believe is that the overwhelming majority of anyone that’s ever played football, and especially in the NFL, would do it again even if it meant the chance of CTE/brain damage.

    The implications of League of Denial are that the game of football may be a public health hazard. If so — and that’s a big if — its days as our culture’s dominant sport are numbered.

    That I can agree with. In spite of the fact that I played football, loved playing football, and still love football, I will have a hard time allowing my son to play when he’s old enough.

    One scenario that’s been bandied about is that the big change will start after insurance companies start raising premiums or refusing to insure high school and college football programs. High schools and small colleges will determine that they can’t afford it or determine it’s not worth the risk, and cancel their programs. This raises even more awareness among the public.

    Under this scenario, wealthy districts and football factory colleges eventually come around, too, after they get sued over and over again and make the same cost-benefit analysis. The NFL, over the long term, sees its pipeline of players reduced in quantity and quality, along with a growing sentiment by the public that football isn’t safe that leads to smaller gate receipts and TV audiences.

    Ultimately, football goes the way of boxing, still in existence but unpopular and populated with athletes who are well aware of the risk but choose to participate anyway. The most talented athletes in America, by and large, are not boxing. Nor will they be playing football.

    I don’t think it will happen exactly this way, but it’s not an impossible scenario.

    Ultimately, football goes the way of boxing, still in existence but unpopular and populated with athletes who are well aware of the risk but choose to participate anyway.

    Who participates in boxing? The poor, the uneducated, the addicted, the underclass, the people with little left to lose. Basically, people for whom selling their body is one of their few survival options. It’s literally the same demographic as prostitutes (gender difference notwithstanding, natch), because boxing and prostitution are both the flesh trade.

    And who has always run boxing? Criminals, for the most part — either overt criminals (i.e., the Mob) or covert ones (i.e., corrupt public officials). Part of this is because boxing is an easy sport to rig/fix/etc., so there’s lots of illicit gambling money to be made. But a bigger part is that only unsavory types have the stomach to be involved with the flesh trade to begin with.

    Football isn’t at that point, obviously. But if it starts being considered a flesh trade, it will head down that road.

    I don’t see it as a public health hazard since most of the public doesn’t even play the game. Adding public to it is designed to elevate it so the body politic can get control of it. As someone who played football in the 70s, I am having a difficult time believing players didn’t know the risks. Head injuries aside, you can have really bad knee and shoulder injuries among the injuries one can sustain. The NFL should not have suppressed information but to think players didn’t know they could be damaged for life is a stretch. I already have had one knee replacement due to football and will be having another and I would play it again tomorrow if I was capable. I loved it. Society cannot remove all risk from life but that seems to be what is trying to be done. I mean CDC says over a quarter of a million people get injured in bathroom accidents each year and approximately 9000 die. Do we now need to ban showering and bathing because so many people get hurt and die? This to me would be a bigger public health issue than football but it isn’t going to garner the attention as slamming the NFL would.

    CDC says over a quarter of a million people get injured in bathroom accidents each year and approximately 9000 die. Do we now need to ban showering and bathing because so many people get hurt and die?

    That’s a poor analogy, because having a bathroom and using it to bathe are fairly essential human functions. The sanitary risks of not having a bathroom and/or not bathing are obviously much greater than the risks of using a bathroom. And as we’ve learned about how bathrooms can be dangerous, we’ve tried to make them safer (by adding handrails, non-slip tub surfaces, etc.).

    Playing football, on the other hand, is not an essential human function, the risks of not playing it are clearly less than the risks of playing it, and it’s starting to look like there’s no way to make it brain-safe. If that’s the case — and again, that’s still a big if — then yeah, it *is* a public health hazard, especially for the many thousands (millions?) of children who play it.

    The point of my analogy was that even something as common as bathing is dangerous. It is a situation we do not expect to be injured. Playing football you know going in you can be hurt and you accept the risk that you can be injured. Even Pop Warner kids know you can be injured playing football but they still want to play. We cannot remove all risk from life though try we may. It is voluntary to drive your car on a vacation, which is not an essential human function, for instance since you aren’t going to work and how many people, including children, die on the roadways on holiday weekends performing this voluntary act? Should we now ban that? Where is the line drawn and why? Should we ban skydiving since people die every year from accidents doing that? Who gets to determine what is or what isn’t allowed?

    It is voluntary to drive your car on a vacation, which is not an essential human function…

    Actually, transportation and recreation are indeed essential human functions.

    You’re engaged in a straw-man argument. Nobody is claiming that all risk can be eliminated from life. But some people are claiming that a non-essential pursuit that causes chronic brain disease is something that we, as a society, may need to think twice about — especially if it involves children, who have neither the intellectual nor emotional capacity to “know what they’re getting into.”

    You can recreate in your own yard Paul. Don’t have to travel to the beach or mountains or wherever. Kids get thrown in the car and they don’t know the risks of driving either. I really think under further scrutiny the arguments about football become weak.

    I highly recommend Tim Green’s book “The Dark Side of the Game: My Life in the NFL”. He talks about the injuries, the risks and the reason most players play; because of the excitement, the glamor of being a professional athlete and the money. They’re willing to risk it knowing that that kind of pounding takes its toll on the body. Players know the dangers, but the point of “League of Denial” is that the NFL attempted to cover up/minimize/distance itself from the damage done. “Long term brain damamge? Not our fault. Just look at this study from some guy with an off shore MD and no background in neuroscience!” It all comes down to money and responsibility.

    It all comes down to money and responsibility.

    You can’t take responsibility for yourself or know what you’re getting into if accurate information is being suppressed.

    Until very, very recently, most players haven’t known that playing football carried a strong risk of chronic brain disease, and most parents didn’t know their children were at risk of developing chronic brain disease. That’s a lot different than a busted up knee or a balky hip.

    Until there’s transparency — which we still don’t fully have, but we’re getting there — nobody truly knows the risks. All this “They know the risks” stuff is just macho posturing.

    I watched it…and was very very interested. Mike Webster was one of my dad’s favorite players. Also my little brother is currently recovering from a suspected concussion and has effectively seen his 8th grade football season end prematurely, so it touched a little close to home in that sense.
    There was not a watershed moment for me, per se, but as the report went on, it became increasingly clear that the shift from sports league to multi-billion dollar corporation is complete…. with no lack of back-room deals, double talk and bribery.
    From a business standpoint, I understand why ESPN wouldn’t run it on their network, but I would have loved to see the WWL run it and see what happens. Be prepared to see the NFL fire a few warning shots across the bow as people digest the program.
    And Robby, the NFL put in writing that multiple concussions are not a risk as long as each one was dealt with correctly at the time. That is not the same as “players know what they’re getting into.”

    From a business standpoint, I understand why ESPN wouldn’t run it on their network…

    It was never slated to appear on ESPN; the plan was always for it to appear on PBS.

    What ESPN did was remove its logo/branding/imprimatur/etc. from the program. That’s all.

    Point taken… So, more accurately then, I can understand why a network that DOES have skin in the NFL game would be keeping their distance, as it were.

    I think ESPN is getting a little more stick than it deserves. After all, it’s running link of the book the documentary was based on, Outside the Lines has covered the CTE issue in the past, and continues to, and the Fainaru brothers, among other ESPN contributors, still appeared in the documentary.

    Yeah, it’s a bit chickenshit, but the whole thing was overblown. But it probably gave the documentary more publicity than otherwise, so yay?

    Oh, I think it’s earned every bit of the grief it’s taking.

    ESPN can’t force its contributors to back out of the documentary – it’s far too late for that. Nor can it pretend that the issue doesn’t exist, not if they want to continue to have any sports journalists work for them.

    Removing its name and influence from the program was all they could feasibly do to downplay it. Which they did, at the request of an organization which had already covered up inconvenient medical evidence in the past.

    If you listen to the interview with the League of Denial authors (linked in today’s lede), you’ll see that the radio interviewer basically invited the authors to trash ESPN. Instead, they said ESPN has been great to work with, gave them lots of resources, etc. Obviously, these are authors who have no problem speaking truth to power (that’s the whole point of League of Denial), but they had nothing but good things to say about ESPN’s role in their work.

    I’m sure people will say I’m biased, since I write for ESPN. But I’m neither defending nor condemning ESPN here — I’m simply reporting what the authors had to say.

    I care about it, but I didn’t watch it yet. I still care about playoff baseball even when my ballclub isn’t in it. It’s sitting on the DVR for later viewing.

    It’s called time-shifted viewing, old man. [Kidding!] Seriously, though, I want to give the doc the time and attention it deserves, which I just can’t do until maybe next week at this point. Thus, it’s a-waiting on the box for me to watch later.

    I’m kind of selfishly afraid, though, that it’s going to push the needle on the “can football be salvaged?” meter decisively toward the “no” side. I have the sneaking fear that, once we know the full story, contact football may not be morally defensible to spectate, or to permit children of any age to play. There’s a little part of me that just doesn’t want to know. And I’m not even that much of a gridiron fan anymore! In this, I’ve turned into my dad, who grew up listening to boxing on the radio after WWII and still loved to watch fights on cable, but would never let us kids watch with him, because he felt that the sport’s brutality made it morally indefensible. He just couldn’t break his own habit.

    I don’t get y he this guy hates on everything new. I know he’s old but seriously who cares if nike changed the uniforms they look nice. If ur so against new uniforms just say it instead of criticizing every little thing. I come here to laugh at what he has to say knowing it won’t be good. This guy likes the crappiest stuff and just because he watched football back in the 30’s he thinks everything should look like that.

    Now apart from a few unpleasantnesses (Great Depression, Dust Bowl), the USA Thirties were terrific. Well, aesthetically, at least. Architecture, graphics, apparel, movies, books. The New York World’s Fair! WPA posters! Fred Astaire! And — yes — sports uniforms!

    Also don’t forget zeppelin rides! New Jersey to Frankfurt in just 43 hours! Luxurious AND fast!

    It’s not hating because it’s new. It’s hating because of poor color combinations, poor contrast, awkward font choices or integrating black for black’s sake (BFBS) into a uniform with an already solid design. All things that are unnecessary and unprofessional from a design standpoint. Rather than coming here “to laugh at what he has to say knowing it won’t be good,” maybe you should pay better attention to what’s being said. You might learn something if you open your mind.

    As a lifetime Nutmegger I recognize Trinity’s squash exploits, but losing “women’s college hoops” to Tennessee does sorta sting.

    As a caucasian, I’d like to remind folks from other time zones or latitudes that not everybody who’s white in CT plays squash against the grandkids their grandfathers went to a prestige college with. Some of us don’t even play squash! But I can see where the stereotype comes from.

    Paul you should be embarrassed with the way you’re cheerleading the REDSKINS name change. Bunch of left wing loony white guilt appeasers.

    And what are you doing to support your side other than bitching about how your side is losing steam and face to a growing population that includes several right-wing people who have accepted and acknowledged that it might be a good idea to at least discuss this idea?

    Discuss. Otherwise, I await your weakly-veiled threat and comment that I should shut up.

    In fact there is not a single poll that shows majority support for the REDSKINS name change. The majority want the name to stay. It’s the liberal media that prop up these annoying 6% prick libs that want the name to change.

    You make a claim like that and then don’t produce the evidence?

    “He murdered him because I said so!”

    Yeah, doesn’t hold up.

    There was not a majority in favor of ending slavery when Lincoln gave the emancipation proclimation either. Not even close.

    Because we should not ever value the opinions of the minority and only rule by tyranny of the majority right?

    If the majority of the people vote to tax just you at 100%, then it’s fair right?

    If the majority of the people vote to tax just you at 100%, then it’s fair right?

    Generally I understand what you’re saying. But if 51% of 300 million people could come to an agreement on taxing one person at 100%, there must be reason. That dude must’ve done something wrong.

    Please explain why the Redskins should keep their name. Tell us why its a good name for a professional football team, and why changing it would be a bad idea.

    I’m interested in your POV.



    It’s the name that was chosen. It’s a name that offends a paltry minority and we should not change just because a few nutbags find it offensive

    I don’t see the irish up in arms over notre dame. And irish people far outnumber native americans.

    I can’t speak for Andrew, but here is my take on it:

    I think changing the Native American imagery in sports is a very slippery slope. I think the image of the “Redskin” is in good taste, but I do agree that the likes of Chief Whaoo should be retired.

    Getting back to the “slippery slope” part. People are offended by the Native American imagery because of the horrid past we have with the Native Americans, and when some see those images on helmets or in logos, they are reminded of that past. OK, so what about “hurricanes”, “cyclones”, or “tornadoes”? Thousands of people die each year from those natural disasters. What if you knew someone that was killed in Katrina, and you live in the Carolinas and are a hockey fan? You have to see your pro team called the Hurricanes all the time. Don’t you think that person, that was affected deeply by a hurricane, be slightly taken back by being reminded of that hurricane every time they watch hockey?

    Dozens of people in Wisconsin are killed by deer related car accidents per year. Their pro basketball team are the “Bucks”. Say your parent died in a deer related accident, don’t you think they wouldn’t want to be reminded of that. But there it is. On the basketball court, ready to jog that memory.

    OK, I get it. These are not even close to what we did to the Native Americans. You got me there. But do you kind of see where I am coming from?

    Get rid of the cartoon-y images. Absolutely. But it is my opinion that Native American names and imagery should be kept.

    Leaving aside the fact that “Cylones,” “Hurricanes,” and the like are neither ethnic slurs nor examples of cultural misappropriation (and are therefore rather poor analogies), the problem with the “slippery slope” argument is that it can be used as an all-purpose rationale to oppose any change to anything.

    “Where does it stop?” Good question. But here’s a better one: Where does it START?

    Ahem… link.

    Secondly, the only person who can raise flags towards bucks and hurricanes are those who are offended. But that’s the problem – you’re imposing false offences to validate your claim. That, therefore, would make your claim invalid since no one has stepped forward and demanded that the Carolina Hurricanes or the Milwaukee Bucks change their names.

    The world isn’t founded on hypotheticals. It’s founded on realism, hence the term “reality”. And the reality of the situation is that some people ARE offended by the name and imagery. And with that, we loop back to the top where you can’t talk someone out of being offended. Let the cycle continue.

    Why does it always have to be political? I’m a conservative guy, and I think the name should change because, you know, it’s a racist term. Why must EVERYTHING in this country nowadays have to be influenced by whether you cheer for Ds or Rs?

    I’ve been making that point for quite a while now. And I’m sorry to say that one side of this debate has a strong tendency to use the controversy as a proxy for larger “liberals vs. conservatives” arguments, while the other side tends to stick to the issue of the team name. I think we both know which side is which.

    You just pitted the two sides against each other in stating that your side isn’t worried about pitting the two sides against one another.

    Over at the Chris Creamer boards the new Charlotte Hornets colour scheme’s been leaked – purple, teal, silver, black and Carolina blue, although the latter is designated as “pinstripe only”. The purple & teal aren’t the exact shade as the old Hornets, but it’s close enough!

    Purple, teal, silver, black, AND carolina blue? It’s a freakin 90’s reunion over there. Unfortunately for Hornets fans, 3 of those colors shouldn’t have been invited.

    Eh, that’s who the Hornets are. I’d rather a team stick their neck out and adopt something unusual as being their own, instead of going with the flavor of the month.

    Good job, Charlotte (if true).

    I can see the black just being used as an outline colour on the logos (it was an official secondary colour of the old Hornets, but wasn’t used in any way on the uniforms). Silver I guess will be a highlight colour. Carolina blue was expected, but it’s nice that it’s being minimized.

    As a Hornets/Pelicans fan of 20+ years, I’m pretty damned happy with the colours.


    Not bad, compared to his past efforts at PR. Hits all the talking points, humanizes his POV and hits a conciliatory tone.

    It’s a bit, shall we say, awkward of Snyder to use the word “heritage” so much to defend a Southern institution against charges of racial insensitivity. South of the Mason-Dixon, “heritage” is the word used by white folks who want to preserve some element of white supremacy it is no longer polite to refer to overtly.

    The use of “heritage,” “pride,” “tradition,” “legacy,” is what really stands out to me.

    My question to people who want to keep the name; if all of those things are so strong, so important and so integral to your identity, why would changing the name of this pillar of strength diminish any of them?

    The apologist argument is, “Why so offended? It’s just a name.” Well, it’s just a name, so what’s wrong with changing it?

    I remember in past years its come up that Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford wears the teams old black alternate socks. Its been a question as to where he’s gotten them. It appears though that the Blackhawks have been using the alternate socks in practice to distinguish between different lines. Players wearing red practice jerseys wear the regular red socks, though in white, white etc.



    Sending this via mobile so I didn’t see comments today but this was posted to Washingtons football Facebook page. I’m a fan of the team but I have no strong opinion about keeping the name, just wanted to share the letter from Dan Snyder


    BTW: Next to John Facenda, I love the guys’s voice that narrates “Frontline” the best!!

    I had that same thought while watching League of Denial. The Frontline guy would be great doing the narration for NFL Films!

    The “Frontline guy” has a name. It’s Will Lyman.

    Add him to the likes of Jim Cutler, Ernie Anderson and Don LaFontaine (“in a world where . . .”) and perhaps we have the beginning of a Voiceover Hall of Fame.

    NFL is already a corporate name. …but granted, seems less commercial sounding than “Barclay’s Premiere League”

    Paul – Can you please respond in a post tomorrow to this garbage open letter from Dan Snyder? link

    KSK gets so much right.

    “On that inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were Native Americans. The name was never a label. It was, and continues to be, a badge of honor…”

    KSK’s response:

    Also, if saying “redskins” isn’t so racist in your mind, why doesn’t this sentence read, “On the inaugural Redskins team, four players and our Head Coach were redskins.”

    I think the white dot on the O’s bird’s cap is the artist’s crappy attempt at drawing an cap air hole.

    I’ve always used the Charlie Brown method to remember my combinations. To this day I remember my freshman year high school lock combination in 1981. CLEMENTE, DOUG FLYNN (I was a Mets fan), BENCH

    Question: Why the hell are we debating the ‘Skins nickname after 80 years?

    Answer: link

    Short answer: In an earlier generation, the racial barrier had to be broken in professional baseball for it to shatter in America’s national consciousness. But today, no other American sport attracts the kind of attention the nation gives the NFL–and now, the NFL is becoming a place where Americans look for their values to be reflected back at them.

    Brandon Marshall wont be allowed on the field tomorrow night with the green shoes he planned on wearing to promote Mental Health Awareness Week.


    As a New York Jets fan I say it’s time to let Nike go full blast an Redesign the home and road Jets uniform for next year and redesigned their helmet. I for one love the way Nike redesigned the Seattle Seahawks uniform and I had let them go in that direction and even let them go into the direction of the Oregon ducks style cause it’s time plus more jersey sales

    The premise is football is so horrible we need to maybe stop youth football. This despite a Mayo Clinic study published in April shows that players trough high school have no more brain injury than someone that sings in the glee club. Meaning that this study is showing that most of the fear over youth football is just that, fear and it is unfounded fear. Should we make football safe as possible? Sure if it doesn’t hurt the integrity of the game. If you play at the pro level are there more risks? I would say yes but by that time you are an adult and are making your own choice. After all, what we do with out bodies is our choice is it not? However, projecting what has happened to NFL players to youth players is unfounded by the Mayo Clinic study. Guess that is why no one has bothered to report on this study.

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