Photo by Peter Diana, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; click to enlarge
Notice anything unusual about this photo of Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant from last Sunday’s game against the Vikings? Here, let’s take a closer look:
That’s right — Bryant was wearing a nose ring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before on an NFL player. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it on any athlete, at least not during competition. (Of course, several athletes have worn nose hoops on their own time. The most obvious example is Dennis Rodman, but I’ll always have a soft spot for former tennis star Jennifer Capriati’s mug shot from when she got caught shoplifting in 1994, a very endearing cry for help.)
As for Bryant, some quick Googling reveals that he got his nose pierced during the spring, and he appears to have been wearing the hoop pretty much full-time since then. You can see him wearing it in this video clip from late May, in this photo from a preseason game against the Falcons, and in this shot from the Steelers’ season opener against the Browns. He wears it during pregame warm-ups, too.
The funny thing is that Bryant was wearing a Breathe Right strip, which is designed to maximize respiratory efficiency, but also had the hoop, which seems like it would impede that efficiency at least a little bit — wouldn’t it?
Update: Reader Michael Golec has just informed me that Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara wears a septum ring and a nose stud:
He wore those same two piercings while playing college ball at Tennessee (click to enlarge):
So that makes at least two NFL players who are currently wearing nose bling. Any others out there?
(Big thanks to eagle-eyed reader Chris Weber, who spotted the Bryant photo.)
Towel tactics: What’s weirder than a player with a nose ring? How about this: Ohio safety Javon Hagan likes to steal opponents’ waistband towels during the game. He literally yanks the towels out of their pants! Here he is doing to Kansas wide receiver Quan Hampton last Saturday — and bragging about it on his own Twitter feed:
I'm A Thief In The Night pic.twitter.com/QRbSqHgdUn
— Javon Hagan (@Von_Legacy) September 17, 2017
This wasn’t a new thing for Hagan. He also stole a towel from Troy wide receiver Deondre Douglas during a bowl game last winter:
— Bill Duplakt (@BDuplakt) December 24, 2016
Bizarre. Seems more like a weird compulsion than any sort of gamesmanship tactic. Also seems like something that would get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct if the officials noticed, right?
(I learned about this one from this Cleveland.com news roundup, which was brought to my attention by reader Jason Hillyer.)
— Mariners (@Mariners) September 19, 2017
False alarrrm There was a bit of excitement late in the day yesterday when the Mariners posted the tweet shown above, indicating that they were wearing Talk Like a Pirate Day jerseys for last night’s game against the Rangers. Turns out it was just a gag, as they ended up wearing their regular home whites.
Too bad. It’s a very minor league-style idea, and I mean that in a good way. It’s fun, playful, irreverent, and pretty harmless from a design standpoint, since most fans could take a quick glance at the jersey and not even realize that they’d changed the spelling.
Even better, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about the copycat factor (you know, the way a league tends to ruin any good idea by turning into a league-wide thing that ends up feeling forced and calculated instead of fun and spontaneous), because most MLB teams don’t have pirate-friendly names. From where I sit, the only ones that would work are these:
I threw the Pirates in there because it didn’t seem right to leave them out.
They should all do it next season! Or at least the Mariners should do it, since they teased it this year. Kevin Martinez, if you’re reading this, make it happen!
Raffle results: The first-prize winner of our Whalers raffle is Justin Pierce, and the three second-prize winners are David Kelly, Ryan Harrington, and D. Renzoni. Congrats to them, and thanks to all who entered. More raffles coming soon.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: Yankees P CC Sabathia was wearing no-show socks on the mound last night (from Chris Morris). … The Angels warmed up in Anaheim Ducks crossover caps and jerseys last night on “Ducks Night.” The team also changed its Twitter avatar to a Ducks/Angels hybrid logo (from AJ). … Speaking of hockey night at the ballpark, the Giants gave away a co-branded San Jose Sharks/Giants winter hat last night (from Moe Khan). … A group of 45 men — all of them dressed like Tom Selleck’s character from the TV show Magnum, P.I. — were kicked out of the Tigers game at Comerica Park on Saturday (from J. Max Weintraub). … The Memphis Redbirds’ batting helmets have a mix of 3D logos and traditional flat decals (from Erik Spoonmore). … Phillies P Hector Neris is superstitious and has been wearing the same rosin-stained cap all season long (from Blake Fox).
NFL News: The Rams will be wearing mono-yellow, along with yellow helmet horns, tomorrow night against the Niners (thanks Phil). … The Steelers began using their now-familiar rounded NOB font in 1997. But they used a traditional block font for the ’97 preseason and the first regular season game (from @dougkeklak). … Among the items from the old Georgia Dome that are up for auction is this NFL workforce conduct notice about sexual orientation from the Falcons’ locker room (from Douglas Ford). … Whoops. Somehow, the Texans’ wordmark was added to this Atlanta Falcons toy (from Bean). … Minnesotans can get lost in a Vikings-themed corn maze this fall (from Tyler Mason). … Spotted in New England: a Patriots Lays chip truck that has both Patriot Pat and Flying Elvis (from Kevin Vautour).
College Football News: Virginia Tech will wear stars-and-stripes decals on Saturday for Military Appreciation Day (from Andrew Cosentino). … Western Kentucky will be going white-on-white-on-white this weekend (from Kyle Neaves). … Rice will once again wear helmet logos honoring the victims of Hurricane Harvey on Saturday. They wore that same helmet mark last weekend against Houston (from Aaron Corbett). … UNLV will be wearing silver lids with red decals this weekend at Ohio State (from @CouvillierMax). … James Madison has added a memorial decal for former university president Ron Carrier, who died on Monday (from Andrew Rader). … Colorado State is teasing what appears to be a new mono-white alternate uniform. The full unveiling will be tomorrow at 11am Eastern.
Hockey News: This has flown under the radar a bit, but the Devils will be wearing red gloves along with their new jerseys this season (from Wade Heidt). … The Kings and Canucks are playing preseason games in China this week. Kristopher Sharpe found this photo of the Kings’ mascot wearing a sweater with Chinese lettering. Could the Kings wear something similar when they take the ice? … New captaincy assignments for the Predators. … ICYMI from the Baseball Section: The Los Angeles Angels warmed up in Ducks crossover caps and jerseys last night on “Ducks Night” and Angel Stadium. The team also changed its Twitter avatar to a Ducks/Angels hybrid logo (from AJ). Also: The San Francisco Giants gave away a co-branded Sharks/Giants winter hat last night at AT&T Park (from Moe Khan). … Speaking of Sharks crossover giveaways, they’ll be giving out Golden State Warriors/Sharks jerseys in January and Sharks/Oakland A’s T-shirts in November (from William R. Smittle). … A brewery in Florida has made a new beer honoring the Lightning’s 25th anniversary. … This blog covers the uni history of the Flames (from Bryan Palmer). … Apparently, in Switzerland’s National League, each team’s top scorer wears a special jersey and helmet with flames (from Doc Serph). … New logo for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League (from María Canales). … Ed Hughes thinks the carpeting at Gaylord National Harbor Airport outside of DC looks a bit like the Golden Knights’ alternate logo. … John Muir was watching last night’s Avs/Knights preseason game on TV and has this report: “Avalanche broadcaster Peter McNab had an idea to improve player marketing in the NHL by having players wear customized helmets. His rationale is based on goalies being the only players with personalized or customized equipment, making them easily recognizable. He claims there’s no rule preventing regular skaters from personalizing their helmets. Back when McNab played, most players didn’t wear helmets and it helped fans recognize their favorite players.”
Basketball News: New floor design for Providence College. They’ve also swapped their primary and secondary logos (from Ryan McNeely). … Here’s a photo gallery of Cavs uniforms through the years (from Robert Hayes).
Soccer News: Here’s the logo for the 2019 Women’s World Cup (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … A young Juventus fan was pranked on his birthday when he was forced to unwrap a jersey for hated Inter Milan on camera (thanks Brinke). … Manchester City was forced to change kits before a match last week because their alternate jerseys clashed with the referees’ shirts. In that same game, City’s keeper wore protective headgear because he had suffered a head injury in a previous match (from Timothy O’Malley). … Everton and Sunderland will not have their usual jersey advertisers tonight. Instead, they will wear the logo of the Bradley Lowery Foundation. Lowery was a young soccer fan who recently died from neuroblastoma (from Mark Coale).
Grab Bag: This story isn’t about uniforms, rather lack of uniforms: Apparently, boys at public schools in Chicago were required to swim in the nude until as late as 1980 (from John Gogarty). … Someone was wearing a Beatles “Fab 4” baseball jersey at a Paul McCartney concert in Brooklyn last night (from Andrew Fletcher). … Sports teams aren’t the only ones who get confused about the difference between anniversaries and ordinals: Wheel of Fortune has just begun its 35th season. But a press release on the show’s website refers to as both the “35th season” and the “35th anniversary season,” the latter of which is wrong (from Max Wagner).