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2016 Purp Walk

Hello there. Welcome to the 2016 edition of Uni Watch’s Purple Amnesty Day — or as I now like to call it, the Purp Walk. Today is the site’s anniversary, which by longstanding tradition is the one day of the year when I grudgingly acknowledge the world’s most accursed color.

Some quick background: People sometimes say I have “purplephobia.” But as I always explain to such people, that’s not the case, because “phobia” means fear. I don’t fear purple; I loathe purple. If anything, purple should fear me.

What makes me hate purple so much? Short answer: a near-bottomless reservoir of good taste. Longer answer (which I also gave in last week’s installment of Question Time): I actually think purple in nature is quite nice ”” violets, plums, eggplants. But purple as a human-imposed design element has always struck me as tasteless and tacky. It’s the diva of colors, the Celine Dion of colors ”” loud, abrasive, never content to do just enough when it can do way too much.

And I’m not alone. As a culture, or even as a species, we seem to understand purple’s tackiness. Not a single U.S. state uses purple as one of its official colors, and neither does any sovereign country (at least according to this listing). It’s no accident that we rarely see a purple house or a purple car. Now if we could just eradicate purple clothing, accessories, and yoga mats too.

But do I think teams like the Vikings, Rockies, and LSU should stop wearing purple? Honestly, no ”” they chose their colors and now they’re stuck with them that’s part of who they are. And so today Uni Watch grits its collective teeth and salutes this most loathsome of hues.

Purple Amnesty Day has three components:

1. As always, this is the one day of the year when I’ll accept Uni Watch membership card orders with purple-inclusive designs. So if you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to order a card with a Ravens, Kings, or Lakers motif, now’s your chance. As of 3am Eastern tonight (to allow a full day’s worth of ordering opportunity for folks on the west coast), the door will slam shut and you’ll have to wait until next year’s Purp Walk.

2. For the second consecutive year, we’re marking the Purp Walk with a one-day T-shirt offering. This one, like last year’s, was designed by my Teespring partner, Bryan Molloy. Check it out (click to enlarge):

This shirt is not part of the T-Shirt Club program and does not have to be purchased in order to qualify for “collect ’em all” status. It’s available in a variety of formats (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, hoodie, etc.). You can get it here until 3am Eastern, and then, thankfully, it will disappear forever.

3. Obviously, the site looks slightly different today, and so does my Twitter page. I find this more than a little distressing (imagine your eyeballs being gouged with salt-encrusted razor blades), but I’m trying to tell myself that it’s therapeutic or something like that. Assuming I don’t slit my wrists in desperation at some point today, everything will revert back to normal tomorrow. And not a moment too soon.

(My continued thanks to membership card designer Scott M.X. Turner, who came up with the term “Purp Walk” last year.)

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And while we’re at it…: Purple Amnesty Day always takes place on the site’s anniversary, but this year feels a little special because it’s the 10th anniversary — not too shabby.

Let’s shift into FAQ mode here:

I’m confused. How can this be the 10th anniversary? Didn’t we just celebrate Uni Watch’s 15th anniversary a few years ago?

That was the anniversary of the very first Uni Watch column appearing in The Village Voice — the true birth of Uni Watch. The anniversary we’re celebrating today is the anniversary of this here website, whose first entry was posted on May 17, 2006 — 10 years ago today.

Wait, you mean Uni Watch existed in other forms before this website?

Yes. It began as a column for The Village Voice on May 26, 1999. In the fall of 2003 the column moved to, and in the summer of 2004 it moved to The daily blog — i.e., this website — was designed to supplement the ESPN column.

I thought thought the blog came first and then ESPN picked you up because you’d developed a following.

Yeah, a lot of people think that. It’s an understandable mistake to make, but that’s not how things took place.

So wait, you said the first Uni Watch column in the Voice was on May 26, 1999 — so that anniversary is coming right up, too.

Yes, next Thursday will be the 17th anniversary of the first column.

It’s weird to have these two anniversaries so close to each other. Why didn’t you just wait nine more days and launch the blog on May 26, 2006, so they’d be synched up?

In retrospect, yes, that would have been a much smarter move. But ten years ago I was just eager to get the blog started and wasn’t really thinking about the confusing anniversary situation. (I also never thought either the blog or the column would last this long.)

Why not split the difference between the two dates and just call May 22 “Uni Watch Day,” sort of like the way Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays got combined into Presidents Day?

A fun idea, but I’m way too much of a literalist to do that. I’ve attached all sorts of emotional importance to the actual anniversary dates, so I can’t move away from them now.

Are you going to make T-shirts, stickers, and patches for the site’s 10th anniversary, like you did for the column’s 15th?

No. I consider the 1999 launch of the column to be Uni Watch’s “real” anniversary, and I don’t want to overdo it on the merch.

That said, however, I’m extremely pleased that the site has managed to have a 10-year run (and counting) of near-daily content, which feels like no small accomplishment. And it’s definitely not something I’ve accomplished on my own — I’ve had a lot of help. I’d like to thank some of the people who’ve made a decade of uniform blogging possible:

•  John Ekdahl was the one who first approached me early in 2006 and suggested doing a daily blog. He ended up building the site and remains its webmaster. It’s no exaggeration to say that none of this would have been possible without him.

•  Phil Hecken was a steady Uni Watch reader, Ticker contributor, and commenter who I hired in November of 2008 as the latest in a series of weekend editors. He quickly introduced a bunch of new features, built his own audience, and basically transformed the weekends into their own little scene on the site. Over the years, his role on the site has grown, and I now consider him to be my deputy editor. He’s also become an incredibly loyal and trusted friend, and a tremendous ally in the War Against Bullshitâ„¢. Getting to know him has been one of the best things about doing this website.

•  Brinke Guthrie was another steady reader and Ticker contributor, with a penchant for sending in links to cool uni-related listings on eBay. Around 2010 I asked if he’d be interested in gathering those eBay links into a column, and that’s how his weekly “Collector’s Corner” feature was born. Brinke also runs the Uni Watch Facebook page and would probably do lots of other stuff if I could stop being so uptight and just turn him loose (he’s always suggesting stuff). He’s a great guy, incredibly upbeat and good-natured, and super-loyal and dependable.

•  I think I met Scott M.X. Turner when I was planning the first Uni Watch party back in March of 2006 (two months before the blog launched). He generously offered to create a T-shirt design for the event, which I then got him to repurpose as the first logo for the blog. In the decade since then, he’s created all of our magnifying glass-themed logos (along with several other graphics), designed over 1,700 membership cards, and become a close friend.

• Back in the fall of 2013, I decided to outsource the Ticker for two days a week (a tough decision, because I’m generally not a good delegator). One of the two assistants I hired at that time, Mike Chamernik, is still part of the Uni Watch team today, and it’s no stretch to say that bringing him on board was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Mike is incredibly hard-working, diligent, and a great guy. He has good journalism chops and will likely outgrow Uni Watch and move on at some point, but I selfishly hope that day is still far in the future, because I’ve really come to depend on him.

•  I’m fortunate enough to have had assistance from several other people over the years, including Vince Grzegorek, Bryan Redemske, Garrett McGrath, and the newest member of our team, Alex Hider. I’m grateful to all of them.

•  Two Novembers ago I got an email from some guy at some T-shirt company I’d never heard of, offering to design a Uni Watch shirt for me. A flurry of emails and phone calls later, Bryan Molloy and I had created the framework for the Uni Watch T-Shirt Club, which has been a really fun and successful project. Can’t believe how lucky I am that Bryan and all his creative skills just dropped into my lap like that.

•  Several readers have become friends over the years, but a few have gone above and beyond with side projects that have enhanced the site and made my job more fun. Robert Marshall’s Stirrups Club, Elena Elms’s annual uni-themed holiday cookies, and the pseudonymous Wafflebored’s amazing DIY projects all fall into this category (as do several other examples that I don’t have room for here). My thanks to one and all.

•  Last but certainly not least, the larger Uni Watch community has been an amazing resource — alerting me to breaking uni news, helping to solve uni mysteries, responding when I’ve asked for opinions on this or that, filling in the many gaps in my mental database of uni knowledge, even sending me gifts, and more. I’m incredibly privileged to have such an engaged readership. Thanks for making these 10 years such a fun ride, people.

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And as long as we’re celebrating…: We’re going to have a Uni Watch party next Wednesday, May 25, 7pm, at the Fourth Avenue Pub in Brooklyn (note that this is a new venue). They have a spacious backyard, so that’s where we’ll gather. They don’t have food — unless you count popcorn, which is free — but there’s very good pizza directly across the street and plenty of other food nearby.

This isn’t an anniversary party per se. But if anyone wants to say, “Happy 10th anniversary for the blog” or “Happy 17th anniversary for the column,” I’ll happily accept those well-wishes.

The real reason for the gathering is that founder Chris Creamer is going to be in town and will be on hand as a special guest. Think of it as a uniform website poobahs’ summit meeting. I’ve also encouraged Chris to invite his own readership to join us, so the crowd may expand beyond the usual suspects.

See you there, yes? Yes!

And as long as you’re marking your calendar, on the evening of May 26 — that’s the night after the party (and the column’s 17th anniversary) — I’ll be a featured guest at Talk Show, a live event featuring interviews with people who have unusual jobs (like, say, uniform reporter). It’s fun and free. You should come!

•  •  •  •  •

Click to enlarge

We the people consumers: What with the anniversary and the party and all, I had hoped to stick to positive messages today. But the 76ers have made that impossible.

In case you somehow missed the news yesterday, the Sixers had already announced that they’ll be wearing a StubHub advertisement on their jerseys when the 2017-18 season begins about a year and a half from now. As that news spread yesterday, the team issued two nauseating videos that have to be seen to be disbelieved.

Unfortunately, neither video can be embedded (or at least I couldn’t find the embed codes), so you’ll have to click over to the Sixers’ site to see them. The first one shows Betsy Ross taking a break from her flag-sewing duties to sew the StubHub patch on a Sixers jersey and then happily frolicking with Ben Franklin, because hey, there’s nothing that gets two historical figures all giddy and gleeful like corporate advertising. You can see that video here.

That’s pretty bad, but it’s nothing compared to the second video, which is a masterpiece of bad taste, bad judgment, and bad civics rolled into one. Here’s the deal: The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia — a good museum that I’ve visited, although probably not since about 2005 — has a room called Signers’ Hall, which features 42 life-sized bronze statues of the Founding Fathers as they gathered to sign and ratify the Constitution in 1787. The 76ers — get this — put StubHub-patched jerseys on those statues (including the one on George Washington in the screen shot shown above, which you probably thought was a Photoshop job, but it’s not) and then shot a video in which the Founding Fathers, according to the team’s description, “sign off on the new StubHub jersey patch.” You can watch this utter disgrace here.

Obviously, the Sixers’ behavior here is indefensible. It’s such a giant leap toward a full realization of Idiocracy that it seems like a self-parody. But I’m also very disappointed in the National Constitution Center, whose administrators should know better than to turn American history into a plaything to advance corporate marketing interests. The NCC is a private nonprofit museum, not a government facility (no connection to the National Archives or the Smithsonian), so there are no issues here regarding the use of taxpayer funds or anything like that, but the whole thing still reflects a huge lapse in judgment for a facility that considers itself to have a historical and educational mission. I sent them a strongly worded letter; if you’d like to do the same, you can reach them here.

You know, we all realized the spread of advertising to NBA uniforms would be pretty awful — no surprise there. But I confess it hadn’t occurred to me until now that we’d also have to deal with advertising for the advertisements. If the other 29 teams pursue this angle as annoyingly as the Sixers already have, it’s going to be a very, very long year and a half.

Update, 11:30am Eastern: As you may have discovered already, the second video appears to have been disabled. Don’t know if what I wrote here had anything to do with it, but it’s interesting that they took the coward’s way out — simply deleting the video — instead of issuing some sort of statement. I’ll try to find out more.

(My thanks to Dan Wohl and Michael Paolucci for letting me know about the videos.)

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Click to enlarge

Collector’s Corner
By Brinke Guthrie

Starting off this week with a 1969 Jets PR shot of wideout Don Maynard and Coach Weeb Ewbank. Always loved these posed photos. They seem so serious. What do you suppose they’re talking about? “That crazy Namath, I heard him say we’re going to win the Super Bowl this year.” Here’s another one, showing Bob Lilly zooming through the air. They just don’t do these anymore.

Okay, here’s the rest of this week’s picks:

•  This early pin (“American Football League”) for the Miami Dolphins has more navy blue than aqua. And this pin for the Eagles is definitely late 1960s not 1970s, as you can tell from the striping on the NFL shield.

•  Clearly, if you’re a Boston Bruins Booster, you eat at the the Ground Round — and you get a free Frisbee!

•  Love the helmet profile used on this late-1970s NFL folder.

•  Speaking of helmets, this 1970s 49ers helmet plaque (like the helmet worn by Paul’s favorite player, Ken Willard) is in terrific shape.

•  Check out the artwork on this 1960s Yankees pennant! Pretty involved, considering these things usually have just the logo and name.

•  This 1970s Bills belt buckle looks like it weighs a pretty good amount, no?

•  Here’s a children’s-sized 1960s Packers varsity jacket from McDelmas.

•  California Angels fans were in a “Heavenly Daze” in the 1960s with this window decal.

• Staying with Southern California baseball, this 6″ blow-up Dodgers “crazyball” is still in its 1960s package.

•  And now we move up the coast to Northern California with this 1970s Giants Bullpen Buggy, still mint on the card. Got one just like it right here!

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Mike Chamernik

Baseball News: Last night, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus argued balls and strikes and got ejected. He removed his hoodie and left it on home plate for his final salvo (from Rick Buckman). … You know those “Play Ball” patches players wore over the weekend? Marlins OF Marcel Ozuna still had his on his jersey last night (from Tyler Kepner). … The Aberdeen IronBirds will wear a patch to honor two local police deputies killed in the line of duty (from Phil). … The Nats are preparing for their first trip to New York since smokeless tobacco was banned from sports facilities (from Tommy Turner). … A high school baseball team, Columbus North in Indiana, has seven uniforms, including retro White Sox and tequila sunrise options (from Dan Netser). … Two notable uni matchups in Arizona high school baseball title games: Apache Junction and Joy Christian went black-vs.-black and San Luis and Alhambra each wore dark green vests (from Raymie Humbert). … Pat Costello has some great MLB pillowcases from 1997. Here’s the reverse side. I actually have the same pillowcases, and a matching blanket, too! … Here’s how the Red Sox and Cubs uniforms have evolved over the last century. … The Syracuse Chiefs will put photos of 100 of their fans’ dogs on their jerseys for a Bark in the Park game in August (from Phil). … The Mexican League All-Star Game caps look like last year’s MLB ASG caps (from @cesarcu52). … MLB rescinded its ban on personalized bat knob decals, so Bryce Harper’s “Make Baseball Fun Again” decal is kosher. But trademarked characters are still off-limits, so Yasmani Grandal is asking for trouble with his Yazmanian Devil.

Football News: Only one player, former QB Scott Mitchell, has worn No. 19 with the Ravens, who have unofficially retired the number for the Baltimore Colts’ Johnny Unitas. Given the shortage of available WR numbers, Naval Academy graduate and current rookie Keenan Reynolds could be considered worthy of the number (from Andrew Cosentino). … The new CFL unis were 18 months in the making. The process included multiple rounds of designs, prototypes, and feedback (from Phil). … A Yahoo writer argues that ads will be coming to NFL jerseys ”” eventually (from Phil). … We’ve seen similar collections before, but here’s another good round-up of old NFL letterheads. … A big-time Ryan Leaf fan was spotted. That’s a customized Chargers jersey and a cap of Leaf’s alma mater, Washington State. … A new form of advertising: The Arena League put percentage signs on every 15 yard-line to advertise Geico’s “Save 15% or more on car insurance” slogan. My guess is that they purposely made it an non-matching green to make it more noticeable (from Dustin Semore). … Jonathan Sluss found a knock-off Seahawks jersey in Spain. “The jerseys behind didn’t look particularly like any actual team, but the Seahawks look is pretty unmistakable,” he says. … Minnesota plans to have helmet stickers, featuring tiny gold bricks, this year (from Phil).

Hockey News: Many people sent this in: The Lightning are once again instituting a dress code for fans that prohibits opposing team gear in certain portions of the Amalie Arena in the conference finals. A Pittsburgh writer makes the point that the NHL is being hypocritical: “In short, the NHL makes money off you purchasing their officially licensed merchandise. Know where you can’t wear that officially licensed merchandise later on this week? Inside certain places at an actual NHL game.” … A Yahoo writer says that the NHL might adopt uniform ad strategies from the NBA (from Phil).

NBA News: Warriors fans wore flickering light-up wristbands at Game 1 of the conference finals last night. … Speaking of the Warriors, Andre Iguodala’s jersey was missing the gold championship tab last night. … Though Stephen Curry’s signature Under Armour shoe, the Curry Two, is selling extremely well, it isn’t a popular fashion shoe. People mainly use it to play hoops in, not with street clothes (from Jason Hillyer).

Soccer News: Sevilla revealed its 2016-17 home kit. The club will also wear it for the Europa League final tomorrow (from Derek Noll). … Several soccer teams take team photos with the players wearing suits instead of their uniforms.

Grab Bag: Sports industry analyst Matt Powell provided some insight into the sneaker world. He says that retro shoes are popular, that Nike’s Flyknits are the next big thing, and that the athletic shoe business will remain strong for the forseeable future (from Tommy Turner). … The British airline easyJet is developing shoes (cleverly called Sneakairs) that give directions via embedded GPS sensors (from Phil). … Five finalists have been chosen for the new Milwaukee flag design (from Justin D. O’Brien). … Kyle Busch is switching from No. 18 to No. 75 for the All-Star Race this weekend to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of his sponsor, M&Ms. “All-Star Race number changing is not unheard of, as Jimmie Johnson switched from No. 48 to No. 5 as part of a promotion, and Mark Martin switched from No. 5 to No. 25 as a really great throwback,” writes David Firestone. “Also, in 1998, Ricky Craven switched from No. 25 to No. 50 to commemorate NASCAR’s 50th Anniversary.” … New NCAA golf polos for a bunch of men’s and women’s teams (from Patrick Donohue). … A new form of logo creep: Cocktail bars are adding their logos to ice cubes, lemon rinds, and more (from Tommy Turner).

Comments (143)

    I have had my own personal vendetta, which has been influenced by 2 factors – the local public high school of last resort SE side of Chicago proper) wore purple and gold, and the major rival fraternity to my own wore purple and black. I even sought out a Prince image from a recent concert where the lihting was bright yellow rather than purple for my week-long Facebook cover photo.

    -Happy Anniversary Paul. I didn’t realize I’d been reading this particular iteration of Uni-Watch since nesrly the beginning. I hope to make the meet-up next week.

    -I’m always fascinated by your dislike of purple in design, as I personally love it (and in fact would love a purple car).

    -Those 76ers videos are sickinging. They make yesterday’s “little Timmy will want the jersey with the ad-patch” press release look like a million dollars.

    I’ll latch on to this and echo those sentiments. Happy 10th. Your writing and attention to minutiae are awesome. Pencil sharpeners. Brannock devices. Wiring panels. Just awesome.

    “Though Stephen Curry’s signature Under Armour shoe, the Curry Two, is selling extremely well, it isn’t a popular fashion shoe. People mainly use it to play hoops in, not with street clothes.”


    Huh. Imagine that.

    I think many, if not all, of the Tigers were still wearing the Play Ball sticker/patch during last night’s game.

    They were on the road when it was worn last weekend, and it was stated that those road teams would get the chance to promote that program at home.

    That’s weird. Last weekend, on Friday the 13th, the Marlins had the Play Ball patch on their road grays, but the home Nationals did not have the patch. They were wearing their alternate blues, which did not have the patch.



    Never mind. I think I understand what is being said now. It’s not that they didn’t wear the patch on the road. It’s that the road teams will also wear them at home. Got it now.

    Proofreading: “but I’m trying to tell myself that it’s a therapeutic or something like that” (I’m sure all the purple is to blame.)

    It seems like I’ve been relying on this blog for uni news for more than ten years. Happy Anniversary!

    Man, looking at that Don Maynard pic, it just makes me want to fix the current Jets uniform so much more.

    congratulations on the milestone…now do you want to get in an argument with me for old time’s sake??

    nice touch.. but now it looks like i’ve already clicked on every link

    I didn’t think it would be possible to be more embarrassed by the Sixers than I already was, but wow. I thought what I read yesterday was a disgrace…but holy moly. And it’s a Moses Malone jersey in the Betsy Ross video too, who they massively botched in honoring during the season.

    So many teams pair Gold with Purple (because it is awesome. JMU! JMU!). I wonder what the second, third, etc. most popular pairings are.

    Black is one I suppose.

    Teal? Okay, popular in the ’90s…
    I always found Clemson’s use of purple along w/ orange a little jarring. I’d presumed it was navy upon first viewing them several years ago. And maybe it’s just the shade, b/c the Phoenix Suns never bothered me.
    I guess we also saw the Milwaukee Bucks & Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in purple & green back in the day, too.

    Paul, Don’t know if you noticed this but this will eventually be an issue if it’s in the first video ever done regarding jersey advertising, but there is some sort of patch on Ben Franklin’s left arm, and it’s blurred out, which is annoying as hell. So now, will we see Sixer highlights from 2016-19 with photoshopped patches and blurred out patches because it’s not StubHub as a sponsor but some other third party ticket broker?

    This whole thing sucks, and that is just another reason.


    I noticed this too and thought it was more than a little ironic that they had to blur out what seems to be some other advertising in their own advert. Anyone know what that patch is?

    Does StubHub have a hated rival? Beat them at their own game by stitching hated-rival’s patch over the official one. Stick it to the man!

    I’ve tried searching for images of that mascot, but my Google-fu has failed me. It doesn’t help that the only official mascot the Sixers list is Franlkin the Dog.

    The way those mascots “danced” around was incredibly disturbing. Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare Fuel right there.

    Amusingly, we don’t even see the patch on the jersey until “Ben” has it in his hand, and we don’t get a good view of it until the whole skit is over and the video cuts to the promotional shot.

    That whole thing is stupid.

    Frank, I noticed the blur too. I sent the link to Paul before I noticed it upon further viewing. I wonder what the deal is with it?

    Thanks for the LSU call-out, and happy anniversary. Your site is the first thing I read every morning. I hope the day goes by quickly for you so that you can get the purple off your site. Believe, I feel the same way about pink and camo.

    I had those MLB pillow cases (and matching sheets too, I think)! I wonder if they’re still at my parents house.

    It was really cool because it was one of the first alternate NBA jerseys, and Grandmama was really popular back then.

    I know I’ll probably be the only one to do this but I’m going to defend the Sixers here. They are trying to be positive about it making the link between the Founding Fathers and them being the “Founding Advertisement.” They also posted a picture of Betsy Ross sewing the advertisement on. To me just the Betsy Ross thing would be enough, the video is overkill. In terms of the actual uniform though I think the Sixers got lucky. Stubhub’s logo can’t be done in a square so the actually patch is smaller then it could be. Also, I didn’t think they would have it in the team color and while I love the Sixers uniform and think the Ad’s are terrible, their lucky. The patch is simple, smaller then it could be, and the team color. Call me crazy but I think they lucked out

    They are trying to be positive about it making the link between the Founding Fathers and them being the “Founding Advertisement.”

    Well, yes, of course they’re “trying to be positive.” What, you expected them to try to be negative?

    Giving them credit for the mere act of self-promotion seems like the lowest of bars to set. There are ways to self-promote without shitting all over American history.

    I didn’t expect them to be negative but I didn’t think a promotion to this extent would happen. At the same time though the Sixers saw the opportunity to connect the cities history to this “historic” event. You can’t fault a team for trying to be interactive within their city. You can fault the NCC for allowing it though, which I do.

    You can’t fault a team for trying to be interactive within their city.

    We can’t fault them for having incredibly poor taste and shitting all over American history to advance a corporate advertising contract? I beg to differ. Not only *can* we fault them, it’s actually IMPORTANT that we fault them and call them to account.

    You yourself say that the NCC shouldn’t have allowed them to shoot the video, which means you recognize that the video was in poor taste. Yet you think the Sixers are somehow exempt from criticism, simply because they’re “trying”? That’s just a variation on the notion that all business practices are, by definition, self-justifyingly valid. That position has never held water, and it never will. In business practices, as in most parts of our society, there are standards of acceptable behavior, and behavior that falls outside of those should be condemned.

    “You can’t fault a team for trying to be interactive within their city.”

    No disrespect to you, Declan, but allow me to say, yes, I can.

    There are ways to do so without whoring yourself out to the highest bidder.

    This whole issue makes me ill.


    “…Yet you think the Sixers are somehow exempt from criticism, simply because they’re “trying”?…”

    Try harder!

    Couldn’t agree more. But there are better ways to critique the over-mythologization than by using a bunch of museum statues to advance a corporate advertising agenda.

    That the patches are in team colors is not “luck” – those patches are in team colors, not the advertiser’s official brand colors. That means that someone in the negotiation asked for the ads to be in team colors, and the other party agreed. Whichever way that discussion went, it was a deliberate choice, not a happy accident of advertiser branding lining up with team colors.

    As for the event, I’m borderline offended by the use of statues of Founders as mannequins. I mean, aside from the general crassness of such a thing. Sure, Ben Franklin was a do-anything-for-a-buck kind of guy, more than a bit of a grifter, and he was a proud Philadelphian. So maybe Ben would have worn a local team’s jersey at an event if you paid him. But George Washington? No way. First off, while he was also a cash-grasping jobber of the first order, he had his limits. Land speculation and crop improvements, he was all over those as the sorts of moneymaking schemes he thought it was gentlemanly to pursue. But the one thing he would never permit himself to be seen doing was trading on his personal reputation for profit. Washington was famous for being willing to playact at roles and dress for parts, so if he owned a sports team, or wanted to own a sports team, absolutely he would don a jersey. But never someone else’s team’s jersey, and never for money, and almost certainly never for a team from anywhere other than Virginia. Philadelphia? Guy hated Philadelphia. Gotta remember that in the political climate of the Revolution and the early republic, Philadelphia’s social upper crust were the Eagles fans of their day: Just about every American who wasn’t one of them, loathed them, and with good reason.

    “…in the political climate of the Revolution and the early republic, Philadelphia’s social upper crust were the Eagles fans of their day: Just about every American who wasn’t one of them, loathed them, and with good reason.”


    So, the more things change, the more they stay the same, then?

    Defending the indefensible tackiness of bad marketing?
    Why bother?

    This ham-fisted attempt to promote another revenue stream is offensive in it’s banality, actually insults without even comprehending why it is doing so, and establishes a new low in product placement.
    (The Sixers shilling all over the flag – that’s the spirit.)

    This is the NBA speaking to it’s market in the language of stupid. Wanting to merge consumers tastes and attitudes about ‘Merica with merchandising schemes poorly executed speaks volumes about how the Owners and their managers (Silver) view the product they put on the floor as nothing more than something to hang ads on.

    On another note, Happy PurpAm day and Happy 10th Anniversary to Uni-Watch and 15 years of typing for a living to Mr. Lukas.

    A good day to be in the Uni-verse indeed.

    I don’t like the ad patches, but what the Sixers are doing is hardly “indefensible”.

    Like all NBA franchises, the Philadelphia 76ers are a business, and businesses exist to make money.

    By adding advertising to their jerseys, they have found a way to make additional revenue in a manner that really, at the end of the day, doesn’t hurt anybody.

    In other words, you think any and all business practices are inherently self-justifying.

    There’s a word for that. The word is “bullshit.”

    You’re basically saying, “Hey, it’s just business.” But that’s bullshit — it assumes that there are no moral, ethical, or social standards for business practices. “It’s just business” may be an *explanation* for certain business practices, but it is not an all-purpose EXCUSE for the more questionable of those practices. That’s a big difference.

    “They are trying to be positive about it making the link between the Founding Fathers and them being the ‘Founding Advertisement.'”

    Nice spin.

    You mention that Finland has a secondary color of purple, but nowhere on the wikipedia page you linked to is there an occurrence of the word “purple.” The page says its secondary colors are red and gold.

    Sorry, i wouldn’t call those national flags. Dominica seems to be the only one with purple, and that’s the color of the bird

    That wiki page originally listed Finland as having purple among its official colors. They must have updated/revised the page after I prepared today’s post. Will adjust text now.

    According to the edit history for that page, the purple reference was removed on November 12, 2015, and the page itself hasn’t been edited in 30 days. Curious…

    Only thing I can think of off the top of my head is St. Urho’s Day – celebrated in March for Finnish-Americans & Finnish-Canadians in areas of Minnesota, Northwestern Ontario and elsewhere.

    St. Urho’s Day uses purple and green for their colours.

    Other than the Jokerit jerseys of the 1990’s with purple and teal, I can’t think of any other Finnish reference for purple. Know at least a couple people of Finnish heritage; if I remember I’ll ask them next time I see them.

    The Sixers celebrating is shoving this advertising down our throat. The NBA wanted to ease us into this. They had strategy meetings about PR and how to get the public to accept this. The Sixers probably weren’t paying attention and went all Leeroy Jenkins on us. If you could organize a boycott of all jersey sponsors, I would definitely be in on that.

    If you could organize a boycott of all jersey sponsors, I would definitely be in on that.

    Advertisers, not sponsors. But yeah.

    Please sign me up as well! Is there anything we can do to prevent these ads?!?

    Not a single U.S. state uses purple as one of its official colors, and only one country on Earth does so (that’s Finland, and they only use purple as a secondary color).

    Not quite true. I can’t speak to Finland’s alleged purplicity, but the Caribbean nation of Dominica is the only sovereign state in the world that uses purple on its flag: link It’s not a primary color on the flag, but it’s used in the central symbol of the ensign, a distinctive indigenous parrot. Nicaragua has a tiny rainbow in the seal on its flag, but technically a rainbow has violet, not purple.

    Also, the “purple” famously worn by Roman aristocrats was probably not purple by modern standards at all. Tyrian purple was likely either more of a slightly blue-tinted brick red or a slightly pinkish amethyst. The rare natural dye that produced the ancient color is itself a lovely deep, plummy purple, but cloth dyed with it using approximations of ancient techniques seems mostly to produce a rich, dark red.

    One of the reasons for purple enmity on these pages is its instability as a dye. Put it in the wash and you takes yer chances.

    There is a proposal to make purple the official color of Minnesota. There was a guy who lived here that liked that color.

    The flag of the Iroguois Confederacy is also a loud purple. If the definition we’re going with is “sovereign,” that should count as well.

    But the Iroquois Confederacy does not exist today, as far as I know. In the United States, several of the former constituent tribes of the Confederacy still have sovereign tribal lands and governments, but not an overarching Iroquois polity. Things seem to be similar in Canada. So the (beautiful) Iroquois flag is not the flag of a sovereign nation, but rather the flag of a non-sovereign people. (That is, a nation, but not a nation-state.) So more like the Basque, Kurdish, or Cornish flags.

    FWIW, the Iroquois be be the only stateless nation with a purple flag.

    Happy Anniversary Paul. Uni-Watch has been daily reading for me for what feels like well more than 10 years. Keep up the great work!

    Boo! Ads are bad! Boo!

    But hey, buy my overpriced t-shirts that I shill in nearly every column which are intentionally priced way above what they could be (everyone knows Teespring shirts can be much lower) just to make me $ even though you are advertising my site when wearing them.

    Boo! Ads are bad! Boo!

    This would be a great project: Uni-Watch parting gifts!

    Of course, there would be the pin the stirrup on the player activity board. And who could forget the play at home board game version of Monday Morning Uni-Watch. I personally love it when contestants get NNOB or NOB, a set of matching cards. I think it’s boring when they give away BFBS; a Uni-Watch glossary of acronyms, but the book version of 5+1 is great. The rarest of all is of course the classic tome on lower leg hosiery history from the Windy City: pajamists and punctuation be damned a rpm story.

    You need to move to city with more victorian housing stock. We have a number of purple houses. It was a popular color at the time apparently

    I recently scheduled a trip to Denver this summer, to do some hiking, drink some beer, and see a Rockies game. Because I’m an idiot, I grabbed a Rockies t-shirt on eBay to wear to the game. There were several color options but I settled on a godawful purple one because, really, when you’re buying a Rockies shirt you might as well embrace the ugly.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Three breweries with my highest recommendation: Station 26, Platt Park and Fermaentra.

    Good recommendations! It’s so hard to limit the brewery recommendations to just three, though! My two cents: Dry Dock is consistently excellent. It’s one the few things that can entice me to venture into suburban Aurora from Denver proper. And Call to Arms is my favorite brewery that’s opened in the last year or so.

    I join in DenverGregg’s well wishes, Rob. I hope you have a great trip, and I’d be happy to make additional recommendations on breweries, restaurants, and hiking trails if you’re looking for input on trip ideas. Be sure to wear that purple Rockies shirt with pride when you hit Coors Field!

    Bonus recommendations for the high country: Dillon Dam Brewing in Dillon and Ska Brewing in Durango.

    I recently scheduled a trip to Denver this summer, to do some hiking, drink some beer, and see a Rockies game. Because I’m an idiot, I grabbed a Rockies t-shirt on eBay to wear to the game. There were several color options but I settled on a godawful purple one because, really, when you’re buying a Rockies shirt you might as well embrace the ugly.

    The early Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, the MLB Colorado Rockies and the Minnesota Vikings send their regards.


    It’s a Californy thing. The Seals called their teal/aqua/turquoise jerseys “Pacific Blue”…


    @Jet: And don’t forget the early Utah Jazz.

    @Winter: It’s definitely Forum Blue, which is why you can wait until tomorrow to order it. I double-checked with Paul ;)

    Here is one response from a great local Pittsburgh print shop in regards to the Tampa Bay rule.


    “People sometimes say I have ‘purplephobia.’ But as I always explain to such people, that’s not the case, because ‘phobia’ means fear. I don’t fear purple; I loathe purple.”

    A phobia is not only a fear of something, but it can also be a strong aversion to or dislike of something. To wit:





    Yep, sounds like a phobia to me! ;-)

    Mild annoyance in the smokeless tobacco article: The article seems to intimate that the New York City City Council (which is redundant, but the way they phrase it in the article) passed an ordinance that makes it illegal to dip at a sporting event. But then Jonathan Papelbon says this:

    “I guess my thought on it is if you want to ban something that’s completely legal, you might as well ban sugar and all the other fattening foods they sell in the ballpark, too.”

    Well, it’s not completely legal if they pass an ordinance against it. Yes, it may be legal in other places where the ordinance doesn’t apply, the same way parking is legal in places where city parking ordinances don’t apply. But in some places, they do, and in those places, it’s illegal.

    Things that were legal become illegal all the time. So his quote just seems weird and off to me.

    This is, sadly, a standard fallacy — to call something “banned” (and then try to spin a rational argument off of that mistaken term, as Papelbpon is doing) when it is actually being REGULATED, not banned.

    All sorts of legal products are regulated. Smokeless tobacco is one of them.

    Also, having worked a healthy share of arena/indoor football games in my life, I can tell you the different-colored green on the percentage sign isn’t done on purpose. In fact, I’m a little surprised they didn’t just tape it on there with green tape, as they do with the advertising at a lot of places. Maybe they taped it down with loops of tape from the back.

    I don’t suspect that’s actual turf from the looks of it. Actual turf is really flippin’ expensive, and most arena football teams barely make it financially. I’m sure whatever solution they found, they found it cheaply and that explains the different-colored green better than anything else.

    As a designer, I tend to avoid the most purplest of purples – Royal Purple – because most inks and systems don’t really have much chance of reproducing it well. Getting a good purple requires specific spot colors and that increases cost. I recently acquired an Epson P7000 commercial edition, which is notable for adding a violet ink to its repertoire to expand its gamut. I have to say it does render violet trending colors much better than my previous printers, at the cost of some black dynamic range since it replaces the light light black.

    All that said, Purple has many connotations as a hue, mostly associated with royalty and expense because the pigments needed to make purple garments were quite rare, hence the term royal purple in the first place. Economic factors may have been a choice in keeping purple out of many flags and uniforms in the past. But royal purple is not the only purple out there, I think you’ll find that lavenders are quite popular. The cost of purple(ish) dyes has come down precipitously in the twentieth century. I think in most cases purple does have that diva quality, but when used in a restrained manner it can act as a perfectly fine accent or even main color. You could say the same things about yellow, as a super saturated and quite obnoxious color. The most purest of hues tend to be in your face, and purple’s not afraid about being loud.

    It may be more difficult to find places where purple works, but when it does work, it works quite well. This is true of all colors, to be frank, but reproducing those natural plum and violet tones is quite difficult and that surely plays into their limited uses.

    There are still some cars out there that dare to be purple, though – You can buy a Dodge Charger or Challenger in Plum Crazy which looks quite striking in both sun and shadow.

    Not a huge purple guy myself, but I rather like this year’s Purple Amnesty Day shirt.

    Anyway, if you think purple isn’t a common color for houses, maybe you haven’t been to Cambridge, MA enough. Or maybe even Provincetown.

    Happy Anniversary! I think I found the blog shortly after it started and its part of my daily information download. It’s great that there is a community that enjoys this stuff as much as I do. I really appreciate all the work that Paul, Phil and all the other contributors put into the site. THANK YOU!

    Looks like the NCC video has been pulled. When I try to view it on the Sixers website it says “This video is not available.”

    Congrats on 10 years! I’m sure it’s not the same as the feeling as having written it for 10 years, but the fact that this has been destination reading for me for 10 years is kinda hard for me to wrap my head around!

    While not an official color, New Hampshire’s state bird is the purple finch, its state flower is the purple lilac, and purple is featured heavily in the the state’s official tartan:


    On the other hand, designating purple the state color failed miserably in 2011:


    I found it simultaneously amusing and horrifying that I had to sit through a 30-second Bud Light advertisement before I could watch the Sixers’ advertisement for a Stub Hub advertisement.

    I thought we get a free vacation after sitting through a timeshare presentation…

    I feel like if I’m paying $25 for a laminated business card, I should be able to get it in purple any day of the year. But Happy Purple Amnesty Day!

    I first got into the NFL back in the day, when I first saw the Purple People Eater Vikings and their helmet logo. Which for years afterwards I didn’t know it was a horn.

    Little did I know where it would lead.

    (Of course,there’s Mary Tyler Moore washing her Mustang wearing the Tarkenton jersey. Purple redemption.)

    Ok I have to say it (cause it is still early and I am punchy doing my Algebra homework…yes at my age).

    “War against Bullshit”

    Whats the formula for figuring out that stat?

    I’m certainly against bullshit; the problem is confining it to the sports realm.

    One of the main reasons I enjoy UNI-WATCH is the anti-purple stance. I’ve never liked purple and think it looks especially awful in uniforms. It looks awful in other areas of life too. Ever see a purple car? Ugh. Even if it’s a Hemi Cuda painted ‘Plum Crazy’ I’m like, you couldn’t pick a better color for an otherwise cool car? How about someone who paints a room purple? Have they lost their mind? There is a reason why fast food joints never pick purple as their color… it’s not an appetizing color. Okay, there may have been a time in the 1980’s when Taco Bell dabbled with a splash of purple (among other colors) but it was the 80’s and we’re talking Tacos here. Actually, come to think of it, the Taco Bell down the street from me has a purple and white sign. – Damn, theory destroyed by the lure of delicious Tacos.

    I agree that purple needs to go at Taco Bell. #BringBackTheBrown (the brown logo, that is)

    Actually the rest of their upgrades look really nice. If only they had kept the old logo with the new buildings.

    I would like to see purple in more places, though. I’m totally on board with all the Minnesota pro teams sharing the Vikes’ colors.

    Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Paul!

    I’ve been reading this blog since inception, purple has its place in the uni-verse. That shirt is beautiful. Purple is a loud color to be careful with no doubt such as if pink was for some odd reason to be used in uniforms. Purple is necessary for a few teams. But I’m amused and entertained at your disdain of the hue.

    Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of UniWatch. Or is it the 11th Season?!? In all seriousness, I remember reading Uni-Watch on Slate all those years ago and I’m glad the daily format has had staying power. And many thanks to Paul and the UniWatch team for turning me on to a lot of cool things that aren’t uni related as well. Keep up the good work!

    while it’s not a national colour, per se, purple is fairly popular as an accent colour for teams representing scotland in international competition. the rugby team, in particular, has used it rather frequently.

    back in the day: link

    and more recently (this was the 7s shirt): link

    My understanding is that purple is meant to represent either the thistle flower, Scotland’s national symbol, or the heather that covers Scottish hillsides.

    Btw Paul I’m pretty sure this is the only site I’ve checked daily for a decade. Keep it up!

    That article about Curry’s sneakers possibly outselling everyone but MJ – but being used on the court instead of fashion on the streets was enlightening. And the really funny part of it is that with all Nike’s hype talk about faster, lighter, magic fabric and materials, Under Armour is the “Performance Brand.” But a little disappointing that after strongly going for the hardcore basketball kid with a “shoe to play basketball in” he will be moving towards street fashion.


    With it being purple amnesty day, it brought something to mind. I’m colorblind, and can’t really see purple as purple (among other things). Quite the inconvenience as I attended Kansas State. Purple appears to me as a shade of blue — so I can’t completely understand the aversion.

    Have you looked into the affects colorblindness can have on the sports fan and/or does this interest you? I’d be happy to provide insight/perspective.

    Colorblindness as it relates to the uni-verse is definitely an interesting topic. Just look at the first Color Rash game from last fall!

    If you’d like to write an entry on this topic, Dan, I’d be happy to consider it for publication. Email me privately and we can discuss further. Thanks.

    I have a soft spot for purple. In undergrad, my faculty’s “thing” was to dye ourselves purple for special occasions like homecoming games. In 1985 40 of us got kicked out of a Blue Jays game at Exhibition Stadium for getting purple all over the seats. I spent a lot of the 1980s dyed purple.

    It looked something like this (this is not me, I did all this before cameras were invented)


    Happy anniversary to the blog!

    how much revenue is that little patch going to cost the advertisers? and do the atlanta hawks get the same fee that the sixers get? i would think premium teams could charge more than other teams.

    just curious – is this info available anywhere?

    PS i am against it and it looks like shit.

    If you read the news coverage of the Sixers’ patch, and of the NBA’s ad program in general, you will find that the answers to these questions are readily available.

    Hey clown,

    3 yr deal a $5mil/yr

    “We’ve established what they are now we are just haggling over price.”

    Congrats on 10 years of this blog! It feels like I have been coming to it since the start, and I remember thinking I was the only person when I was working in the business who cared what players wore, or if somebody had some weird thing hanging off their shirt, hat, pants, whatever. I don’t always agree with everything on here, but I always love the attention to detail given here and well-reasoned opinions. Thanks!

    Happy Anniversary! I have been a reader since your Village Voice days and I love visiting this site every day. Congrats!

    I can’t help but wonder if there will be any kick back at Ausmus for not having a jersey on underneath his hoodie.

    I was just scanning through comments wondering if anybody else had noticed or thought about that too. Kind of surprised that it wasn’t mentioned in the main column.

    Congrats on the 10! This is my one must read site. I enjoy the departures too where you give us trip reports and tell us all the cool places you found so maybe one day we might also visit. Appreciate all the work that goes into this blog.

    Also, while I also despise purple, I did order the shirt. Walking the purp walk. Will be the only purple shirt I have.

    Happy Anniversary! I’m not sure how many years I’ve been visiting here (and very occasionally commenting), but I’m at the point where I don’t want to think about a weekday morning without Uni Watch! :)

    That said, Ausmus showed poor form for not wearing a jersey under his hoodie.

    Ahhh. I remember when I found Uni Watch. I was so excited there were others like me. An article on espn directed me here. Now it’s the first thing I read daily. Thank you and congratulations.Here’s to many more.

    If only for having the Calgary Stampeders get rid of those italicized numbers, I like thr new kits.

    I really really hope this is a joke…I used to say I was proud I worked for the BMets at one point. link

    While purple is far from my favorite color, I am glad that some teams employ it, because I’d much rather see each league’s teams employ a diverse array of colors rather than everybody wearing navy, black, or red.

    And let’s face it, if the Lakers or Vikings were to switch from purple it would be a net loss for the Uni-verse, no matter what your opinion of the hue itself.

    I don’t like brown as a uniform color, either, but I do wish the Padres would return to it.

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