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Should Police Officers Be Wearing Team Logos?

Interesting news out of Houston, where police chief Art Acevedo has given his officers permission to wear black Rockets caps like the one shown at right for the rest of the team’s playoff run.

Something similar took place last October, when Acevedo allowed officers to wear Astros caps toward the end of the World Series, which the ’Stros eventually won. In addition, some of the city’s mounted officers rode on Astros-branded horses.

Houston isn’t the only city to mix sports logos and law enforcement. In Green Bay, police officers have worn the Packers logo on their badges.

I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, I don’t think municipal officers should ever be promoting a for-profit business. Like, if a city was famous for a particular restaurant, it would be completely inappropriate for cops to wear the logo of that restaurant. They’re enforcing the law, not serving as the local tourism bureau.

In addition, police officers do really important work; they carry and sometimes use firearms. I worry that the logo of something like a sports team could cheapen their status.

On the other hand, I’ve been saying for years that sports teams aren’t just business entities — they’re also civic entities, part of the shared fabric of local experience. So when viewed in that context, having police officers signaling their support for the home team seems like a good way to strengthen civic bonds and improve community relations.

Despite my misgivings, I think something like an Astros or Rockets cap is probably okay. But putting a team logo on a badge — the most literal symbol of a police officer’s authority — seems way out of bounds. That shouldn’t happen.

Also: While sports teams may be civic entities, sportswear manufacturers are not. There’s no reason for ’47 Brand (or New Era, or whomever) to be getting free advertising out of this. So the cops in Houston should use a Sharpie to black out that maker’s mark — or, better yet, use a seam ripper to eliminate it altogether. Yeah, I know — I’m not holding my breath on that one.

(My thanks to @spadilly for letting me know about the Rockets caps.)

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No, that’s not Roman numeral VI: At first glance it appears that Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernández had a helmet logo malfunction during last night’s game against the Diamondbacks. But reader Billy Ballas, who was watching game, says Hernández actually turned the logo upside-down intentionally, to create a rally helmet. He wore his regular helmet, with a properly oriented logo (and a C-flap) when he came up to hit.

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Cap update: The folks at Ebbets Field Flannels tell me that the Uni Watch cap is now in stock and that the web page where it can be ordered should be ready by the end of today. I’ll tweet the link when it’s ready (if you don’t already follow me on Twitter, you can do so here), and of course I’ll have it here on the blog tomorrow.

Some of you have asked if this cap will be eligible to be part of EFF’s “triple play” offer of three caps for $99. Unfortunately, the answer is no, because it would create various logistical headaches for EFF. Sorry about that.

Our “alternate” cap, with the white front panel, is on track to be available in late June. And our purple cap for Purple Amnesty Day will be available for exactly 24 hours next Thursday, May 17 — one week from today. As you know, that’s also the only day of the year that I accept orders for purple-inclusive membership cards, so all your Ravens, Lakers, and LSU fans should get ready!

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: While the use of Native American mascots is on the decline here in the U.S., it has maintained a surprisingly large foothold among European sports teams (NYT link). Fascinating reading. … The student senate at Cal State Long Beach, whose teams are called the 49ers, is debating a resolution that would urge the school to retire its Prospector Pete mascot character because California gold prospectors slaughtered Native Americans (from Chris Cruz). … The Potawatomi casino in Milwaukee has an ad on the outfield wall at Miller Park, but that ad was covered up for yesterday’s game against the Indians. Why? The casino routinely does this as a protest when Cleveland and Atlanta come to town. This has apparently been going on at least since 2009, but I didn’t realize it until now (from @waynerboardman).

Baseball News: Here’s an old shot of Deion Sanders, during his time with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, wearing a Braves cap on the sidelines (from Pro Football Journal). … Twenty-three of the 30 MLB teams are hosting LGBT pride nights this season. … Mets 3B coach Glenn Sherlock wore a cap instead of a helmet for yesterday’s game against the Reds (good spot by @KPagan34). … Here’s the logo for the Dodgers Alumni Game (i.e., an old-timers game), which will take place on Saturday (from Chris Cruz). … Here’s a good video clip of MLB players wearing the wrong jersey, cap, or helmet. … Yesterday’s Ticker mentioned that Yankees 3B Miguel Andújar was using former Yanks 2B Starlin Castro’s bat. Turns out Andújar’s been using Castro’s bats since last year (from @brianspeaksnow). … Citrus war: The A’s and Astros went yellow vs. orange yesterday. … Softball players at Florida wear flowers in their hair (from Paul Friedmann).

Pro Football News: We’ve seen this before, but Broncos OL Dave Widell had a very interesting FNOB. … Speaking of old Broncos NOBs, check out this sideways period. … Cross-listed from the baseball section: Here’s an old shot of Falcons CB Deion Sanders wearing an Atlanta Braves cap on the sidelines (from Pro Football Journal). … Here’s an old shot of a Browns player with one of his numerals torn off of his jersey. … Here are the uni numbers for Washington’s rookie class (from Griffin Smith). … Pro football teams in Austria have just a few ads on their uniforms. That’s the Graz Giants and the Danube Dragons (from Bryan Beban). … Two New Jersey high schools — Salem and Gloucester Catholic — play in the same conference, are both called the Rams, and both poached the L.A. Rams’ logo (from Mike Driscoll).

College Football News: Former UGA LB Roquan Smith’s stolen jerseys have been recovered. … This is weird: TV numbers usually appear on the shoulders or sleeves, but there’s a video game that shows Rice with TV numbers on the shoulders and sleeves.

Hockey News: The new NAHL team will be called the Maryland Black Bears — not exactly a surprise, since the ownership group that was granted a franchise is called Black Bear Sports Group. They’ve also unveiled their team logo (from Andrew Greenwood).

Basketball News: “I popped into the Arizona state capitol in Phoenix recently and they had a little exhibit on the Phoenix Suns,” says Adam Vitcavage. “A lot of school-aged children were being ushered in right after me, but I managed to get some photos as quickly as possible.” … Thirty Nike EYBL teams have added orange patches to oppose gun violence.

Soccer News: New kit sponsor advertiser for Boca Juniors (from Josh Hinton). … Looks like Man U’s new away kit will be pink (from Ed Zelaski). … New uniforms for Crystal Palace. … Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in Spain, so Barcelona’s players wore their mothers’ names on their pregame shirts. … A day after Man City released their 2018-19 home kit, they wore it against Brighton yesterday. “While it’s not uncommon for a team to wear the upcoming season’s kit on the last game of the current season, I can’t recall a team doing it the second-to-last game, as was the case here,” says Josh Hinton. … You’re heard of teams wearing an anniversary patch? The Lakeland Tropics’ new uniform celebrates the 70th anniversary of their jersey advertiser (from John Flory). … New home shirt for new Scottish Championship team Ayr United (from our own Jamie Rathjen). … Real Sociedad’s captain is retiring, so they’re putting his face on their jersey crest this weekend (from Derek Noll).

Grab Bag: The Rajasthan Royals — that’s an Indian cricket team — will wear pink jerseys for cancer awareness on May 11. … Minneapolis police officers are changing shirt colors, from white to blue. … Speaking of police uniforms, has released its list of the best-dressed law enforcement units. Check out what the South Dakota highway patrol wears! … A Bollywood movie star has been served with a legal notice for auctioning the naval uniform he wore in a movie. In selling the uniform he was deemed to have “played with the sentiments of armed forces personnel and widows” of fallen soldiers. … New logo for Best Buy. … Oooh, check out this awesome “ribbon map” of the Mississippi River. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: New helmets for the Swiss Guard. … Yesterday was “typography appreciation day” for BYU’s creative design team, one member of which — assistant creative director Jacob Gibb — wore a Uni Watch T-Shirt Club tee (from Greg Welch). … New logo for the teams at St. Mary’s Colgan Catholic Schools in Kansas (from Scott Nuzum). … Tyler George, who helped teach me to curl back in 2010 and was part of Team USA’s gold medal-winning squad at the recent Winter Olympics, is retiring from the sport. Way to go out on top, Tyler.

Comments (89)

    Along the same lines of today’s topic, I get annoyed when Hospital nurseries use blankets and other accessories around rivalry games or championships. Can’t a newborn just be a newborn without having to have branding and “team loyalty” thrown at them?

    I think they typically ask the parents if they want the special blanket. And I think the notion of team loyalty isn’t a bad thing, it often represents a special bond between generations, be it attending the same university, or rooting for the local pro team. Some of the most fond memories I have with my father, and family in general, is gathering for big games. It is less forcing team loyalty on a baby, and more “welcome to the family” as it is part of the family’s tradition to gather and support the team.

    South Dakota Highway Patrol, not just “high patrol” (though they may check for that too!). Not a fan of that look.

    What? That’s a beautiful, authoritative uniform! It’s also not what South Dakota Patrol officers actually wear on duty. That style of jacket is almost ubiquitous among state patrol departments nationwide as a dress uniform. On duty, this is what you’ll see if you make the mistake of believing that you can drive over 80 with out-of-state plates in the Mount Rushmore State:


    Never driven in SoDak with Sconnie tags. But it’s widely understood that if you have out-of-state plates, it’s wise to stay within <10mph of the speed limit on SD highways. I've heard many stories of people getting pulled over going 10mph above the limit while SD-tagged cars zoom by them, unmolested by the local troopers.

    It’s the maroon I have issues with. Familial thing that goes back to my dad’s childhood in the dust bowl. The sweaters given out to those who couldn’t afford any other clothes were maroon.

    Re: Manchester City, that is weird because I’m pretty sure the PL has a strict last-game-of-the-season rule for wearing next season’s kit (i.e., there’s no “last home game” cop-out).

    But Everton did last weekend too, so I guess they could have gotten permission.

    Unless they can’t wear the sky blue at Southampton, but that doesn’t make sense. The Saints are red/white striped at home.

    Doesn’t appear that either team has changed against the other in the recent past.

    Plus, City’s second kit is maroon, which they couldn’t wear against Southampton.

    Yeah, I was thinking about it. Maybe, and this is purely speculation, since the midweek games are make-up for FA Cup rescheduling, the PL condsidered it part of Matchweek 38.

    Because, as a die-hard City fan, we shouldn’t have any issues wearing the home kit at Southampton. And worse case scenario, we have a dark green third kit.

    The rule is as follows:

    On the occasion of a Club’s last home or away League Match in any Season a further Strip (i.e. not one registered by the Club in accordance with Rule M.17) may be worn provided that:

    M.21.1. at least seven days’ prior written notice of intention to do so is given to the Board (such notice to be accompanied by a sample of the Strip intended to be worn) and the opposing Club (such notice to be accompanied by a CAD drawing of the Strip intended to be worn); and

    M.21.2. the alternative Strip shall be subsequently registered as the Club’s home or alternative Strip for the following Season.

    So it can be a club’s last home match, if their last match of the season is away.

    City has a tradition of doing this. It’s at least the third time over the last five or six seasons that they’ve “previewed” the next season’s kit in the closing matches of the current season.

    Last game 2015-16 was that year’s third kit (Swansea)
    Last game 2016-17 was that year’s home kit (Watford)

    Don’t recall previous season’s kits in final game but as a City fan and uniform guy, I think I would remember. I know the past few seasons our kits haven’t been released until the summer

    In the ‘Skins watch section, the Brewers played the Indians not the Braves yesterday

    I remember walking through Pittsburgh International in 1996 during the week before the Super Bowl. Those were the days when USAir had their hub there, and they allowed their personnel the option of wearing Steeler sweatshirts. I liked seeing all of those sweatshirts as a reflection of the pride the city was feeling, and I think I’d have appreciated seeing Cowboys gear at DFW had I gone there.

    So I can live with police wearing local team accessories when they’re deep in the playoffs, as long as they’re immediately identifiable as police officers.

    My wife is a teacher in a Houston area school district. The district had “Go Astros” days during the playoffs last year, and had a “Go Rockets” day during the Houston-Jazz series. Teachers and staff are encouraged to wear gear supporting the team on these days. (They also have a “Go Texans Day” during the football season, which is different from “Go Texan Day”, which is held on the first Friday of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. On one, they dress up like cowboys. On the other, they dress in the colors of a lousy football team.) The feeling is that it’s a team building event, dressing in the colors of the local squad.

    I think that’s what’s motivating Acevedo: this is a big, diverse and in many ways divided city. The Astros, Rockets, and Texans (and the Dynamo, sort of) are about the only things giving us a sense of community.

    I completely agree that that’s what’s motivating Acevedo. And I agree that the motivation is a benign one. The question — and I think it’s a tricky question to answer, with lots of nuances — is whether it’s appropriate or proper, irrespective of the motivation.

    The lede intersects with the Grab Bag: Minnesota’s State Patrol has excellent uniforms and car livery, definitely in the same quality league as the South Dakota patrol uniform, and the Minnesota department adopted its distinctive maroon and gold color scheme in 1934 to honor the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team’s national championship that year.

    On badges, badge collecting is a common thing among the law enforcement community. I have no problem with badges that include sports team or special event logos, provided they’re collector’s items or only worn during special duty like the day of a championship parade or during Super Bowl week or whatever. But with rare exceptions, private logos of any kind do not belong on a standard-issue badge.

    Did the Potawatomi make any statements about covering their ad for Braves/Indians ads? I get the philosophy behind the protest but it is less clear that people would understand, or even notice. I don’t watch a lot of Brewers games, and I wouldn’t know whose ads are on the Miller Park wall. So it wouldn’t immediately register that the conspicuous gap in advertising is the space where the Potawatomi Casino ad usually hangs. I would just see a blank space on the wall but I wouldn’t know why or even think to research it. I think it’s great that they’re speaking up for their beliefs, even if it costs them money. But it is a very subtle protest and I would think that most people wouldn’t even realize a protest is even going on.

    Maybe they’re not doing it as an attention-getting thing. Maybe it’s just “We’re quietly boycotting this because we prefer not to be associated with it” (just as countless people do every day with their various purchasing decisions).

    What the hell good is invoking a moral imperative if there’s no “LOOK AT ME” component attached?

    I’ll go on record as saying that I hope every advertiser on every wall in every ballpark protests every visiting team by covering their ads.

    I swear, if at least a couple of fans of this new NAHL team don’t dress up as Dwight with signs that say “What kind of bear is best?”…

    Given that sports team are unifying forces within a community, which bring together various people who may have nothing in common and come from different cultures, I fully support police, or any other local agency, showing support for the home team. This is especially true as the forces that seek to divide us seem to be working harder than ever to do so. If a police officer wearing the home team cap while on patrol helps connect him/her to the community and makes them more relatable to the folks they are trying to protect, then that is great thing.

    If a cop wearing an ordinary civilian cap rather than his uniform headgear makes a cop even 1% harder for a member of the public to identify as an officer of the law, then that is a terrible thing that no conceivable other social benefit could outweigh. Police uniforms matter – the uniform contributes to public order and protects the safety of the officers who wear it. In a crowd, few can see what a cop is wearing below the neck, so an officer’s headgear being different from the civilians around him or her matters greatly. A cop wearing an ordinary team cap might as well not be there at all.

    I certainly agree with that, as far as the function of the uniform goes (be it safety or otherwise) police, public works, etc should not divert from those standards if it would be a determent to their job.
    I think the debate here is whether it is appropriate for a city employee to be wearing team gear as an endorsement of said team. That I think is a resounding yes.

    If the issue is “police officer wearing the home team cap while on patrol,” then I’m a hard “no.” That’s never appropriate. Ever. Under any conceivable circumstances. A police officer’s uniform, while on duty, is a big f’ing deal. There’s a good reason why it’s generally illegal for civilians to wear an actual police uniform. And it’s the same reason why it’s a terrible idea for uniformed cops to wear non-uniform gear while on duty.

    A public employee other than a cop? Probably fine. A cop not on duty? Probably fine. A cop on duty but in a rare special circumstance, like she’s been called on stage during the trophy presentation after the championship game and handed a team cap? OK. Beyond that, cops should wear their uniform caps because it matters that civilians can identify them as officers of the law rather than random, team-cheering passersby.

    RS, I often see videos of police not wearing hats. So certainly in that situation, they aren’t replacing a known uniform element that would help someone identify them as a cop (be it in a crowd, or whatever). I’m guessing your point is that if a cop typically isn’t wearing a team cap, then when someone sees them in the cap it would cause potential confusion while on duty, and could lead to all sorts of dangerous situations? I can certainly buy that.
    So I would agree, only in situations where it wouldn’t cause any possible confusion, etc, would it then be appropriate.

    Tyler George is pretty young to be retiring from competitive curling forever. Likely will be a comeback down the road? Based on the Facebook post and from his quotes in this linked article, would not be surprised that there could be a comeback in the future.


    Following the Maryland Black Bears link, I went down the rabbit hole of looking at the rest of the NAHL team logos. I suppose it’s not odd that the Philadelphia team is nicknamed Rebels – the American colonists rebelled against the British Crown, after all – but to have a stripe link so obviously patterned on the cross in the CSA battle flag strikes me as, well, if not odd at least subtly inappropriate.

    Hat Manufacturer Cover Up: By the same logic, should police/sheriff departments cover up the car manufacturer on their patrol cars?

    Also, the marks on their shoes, identifying marks on their guns, the (more than likely) Motorola logo on their 2-way radios. They had better not wear their personal Oakley sunglasses on duty either. Hopefully the Goodyear logos on their tires aren’t that visible.

    The fact that we can’t achieve a complete absence of logos doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for as few logos as possible. In the case of the cap, it’s easy to achieve. Black it out or seam-rip it. Also very easy to achieve on squad cars: When ordering or requisitioning the cars, simply specify that the maker’s nameplate be omitted.

    The underlying point is that police departments should not be providing free advertising for commercial ventures — not only because it’s inappropriate, but because it invites corruption.

    Unless you disagree with that underlying point (in which case I look forward to hearing your arguments as to why), we should strive to have the police displaying as few maker’s marks as possible, even if we can’t achieve a 100% reduction.

    I am not as picky about it as you are. I would not vouch for a paid advertisement for sure (at least not in THAT particular public arena). However, I think the logo on the hat falls into the category of what I listed…which doesn’t bother me.

    (Would not let me reply to your comment directly)

    I agree that public agencies hiding company logo is a good preventative measure for corruption. But outside of that, I don’t think it is inappropriate for a police department to display a logo on the car because that logo is not an advertiser. I don’t think it’s wrong for the police departments to provide free advertisements for products that help them do their jobs effectively. The same way I don’t hide the logo on my computer or landline phone at work.

    On the opposite end, hiding some logos, and not others, could be viewed as paid advertisements.

    I don’t think it is inappropriate for a police department to display a logo on the car because that logo is not an advertiser. I don’t think it’s wrong for the police departments to provide free advertisements for products that help them do their jobs effectively.

    Strongly disagree. Police use should not be viewed as an endorsement. Once it is viewed as such, it opens the door to corruption. Company A gives police chief a kickback in return for switching from Company B vehicles to Company A. Nope.

    As long as private entities do business with public agencies, corruption will always be a concern. The underlying cause of this is not the logo, which is why I don’t have a problem with it. Company A could still give the chief a kickback in return for switching from Company B, even if the logos are removed.

    The logo increases the chance for corruption, because the exposure of the logo has value.

    More to the point, police departments have tremendous power and authority. They should not be using that power to put their thumb on the scale of the commercial marketplace. Maker’s marks should be removed from the police realm to whatever extent is reasonably possible (a standard that definitely includes cap logos and car nameplates).

    Logo or not, the government will always have their thumb on the scale of the commercial marketplace. They buy huge fleets of cars, hire certain companies to do road repair work, hire certain companies to build buildings. Some of these decisions on who to hire can directly affect which companies are able to survive.

    Cars have distinguishable shapes. Whether a car has a logo or not, most people can tell you which company it comes from.

    At what point is a business also a civic entity? In the example we are using, and I know this is anecdotal evidence, I have only ever seen one police department use non-american cars.

    Logo or not, the government will always have their thumb on the scale of the commercial marketplace.

    You’re missing the point. I’ve already acknowledged upthread that it’s impossible to eliminate the civic/commercial overlap. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to *reduce* that overlap as much as possible when it’s reasonably easy to do so. Removing embroidered logos from caps and nameplates from cars falls into the “reasonably easy” category.

    Instead of playing gotcha, think about what the goal is. The goal is to have civic institutions that, to the greatest extent possible, remain in the civic realm and do not encourage (or become part of) the spread of corporate/commercial culture. Is it possible to achieve that goal 100%? No. But can we institute standards to reduce the corporate footprint in our civic institutions? Yes.

    “The goal is to have civic institutions that, to the greatest extent possible, remain in the civic realm and do not encourage (or become part of) the spread of corporate/commercial culture” (I can’t Italicize)

    Paul, I think this is where you and I disagree. I don’t think the goal is for civic institutions to be removed from corporate/commercial culture. I don’t think it’s wrong for civic institution to promote businesses in their municipalities. I also don’t think gov’t resources should be used to remove logos from everything.

    Then we do indeed have very different ideas about the proper role of civic institutions relative to commercial interests in a functioning democracy.

    Let’s leave it at that. Since our cornerstone premises don’t align, there isn’t much to discuss.

    Agree to disagree.

    Side note: This conversation has lead me to use the mobile site for the first time in a while. I like the improvements.

    Are you against maker’s marks on all cars, or do you just think it is inappropriate for government vehicles to include the standard maker’s mark on them?
    Once you brought this up it forced me to look around my desk and notice the maker’s marks on so many products, and how ubiquitous it has become. I think there can be a place for maker’s marks on products, but in a subtle manner, like a product tag, not the big honking logos.
    I wonder if it started to become more common place as status symbol brands became a thing, people WANTED everyone to see the maker’s mark, which then opened the door for all sorts of companies to plaster logos all over their products.

    Are you against maker’s marks on all cars, or do you just think it is inappropriate for government vehicles to include the standard maker’s mark on them?

    Only talking about municipal vehicles.

    Personally, I’d prefer that my own car not have a nameplate, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me. (A visible maker’s mark on a cap or T-shirt, however, is very much a dealbreaker for me.)

    The op-ed piece regarding my alma mater, CSU Long Beach, does not mention the 49er nickname references the year the school was established, 1949. Additionally, the school’s baseball team, arguably the best known of Long Beach State’s sports teams (apologies to the men’s volleyball team, which just won the NCAA title) has for years used the moniker Dirtbags.

    It is absolutely true that LBSU was founded in 1949. It’s also true that the school’s crest contains an axe and shovel (link) and that the mascot is a prospector. I’m not arguing for/against getting rid of Prospector Pete, but I think it’s hard to argue that there’s no correlation between the Gold Rush and the name 49ers. A name can have multiple meanings and sources.

    I find objecting to the name 49ers stretching the point. The same logic could be applied to the Columbus Blue Jackets as well, since those Union uniforms are also associated with things like Wounded Knee, Little Big Horn, etc. Or with the Texas Rangers (in re: Comanche Wars), or heck, even the Texans if you want to really push it.


    Holy Cross which is dropping the Knight Logo and Mascot after administrators said

    “the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades. This imagery stands in contrast to our stated values.”


    Next of course will be Wyoming, Oklahoma State, and Mew Mexico State being asked to retire their “Pistol Pete” logos because he has a gun.

    We’ve begun down the slippery slope.

    UF’s softball team wears the sunflower on Saturdays in remembrance of a young fan who passed away of cancer. Sunflowers were her favorite flower. Once a year they also wear yellow hats with sunflowers on it and the opponent usually plays along.


    The UF softball entry reminded me of the old Cowsills song:

    Also, to me, the ribbon map of the Mississippi was like a precursor to the trip tics of the 60s/70s:


    On the Deion photo, I’d be curious to know if that was HIS Braves cap, that is, the one he got as a member of the Braves? Was he on the Braves at the time?

    The video game TV numbers mistake happens for Virginia Tech’s orange alternates as well in that game, which is particularly bad because of the shoulder stripes.

    I want to present a plausible scenario that makes me feel like the whole badge with team logo thing is of issue: We hear about athletes having run-ins with the law all the time. Roberto Osuna, the Toronto Blue Jays’ closer, was just arrested earlier this week on domestic violence charges.

    Let’s say something like this would happen such that an officer wearing a team logo would have to be the arresting officer in an incident involving a player. At worst, wouldn’t those optics look bad? At best, couldn’t there be accusations of a conflict of interest?

    While I do believe that teams have a duty to have a civic representation, I feel like the law should be above all. And this seems to bring that into hazy territory.

    Another scenario would be if you are a Bears fan in Green Bay wearing a Bears hat, and you got pulled over or arrested for something fairly minor. You might feel that you were being singled out due to your sporting allegiance.

    Yeah, but Bears fans should be pulled over on general principle, such as crimes against quarterbacking and supporting general incompetence.

    /I keed, I keed

    I just realized I had my “at worst” and “at best” flipped. Faux pas on my part; my bad.

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Purple Amnesty Day cap. Any chance you could give us a teaser about what the 2018 version of the t-shirt will look like and who designed it?

    While looking at the NAHL website, I saw something that was interesting, at least to me. There are three different teams in the league from Minnesota, and a fourth for sure that used to be located in Minnesota. The Austin Bruins are in Austin, the Brookings Blizzard used to be the Alexandria Blizzard, but there are two other teams, both going with the state name. The Minnesota Magicians and the Minnesota Wilderness. It seems odd to have them both go with the State name. As a hockey fan from this state, I have no idea where either of them play off the top of my head. It seems like being a Junior team, they should go with their city names. Anyway, just a random observation that struck me as rather odd.

    I think you raise good points all around, Paul, on cops/sports logos. While I agree that sports teams have civic value, I disagree that uniformed civil servants should be allowed to incorporate the logos into any part of their garb.

    What happens when that that team essentially extorts that city for billions for a new stadium? Or when half of the city’s population is priced out of a ticket at a game? These teams have value as civic entities but unfortunately act only in the interest of private greed.

    Finally have a second to note about main topic.

    Cross-promotion has made tons of money for many people, but it gets carried way too far. While the official corn chip of third division soccer is pretty innocuous on its face, the messaging that there’s always one more thing you can do to support the team is pernicious, as is the idea that your choice of which toilet plunger to purchase must have broader ramifications.

    Worse than that are the “issue” campaigns where an NGO is the beneficiary of the branding. NGOs also participate in cross-promotion, much of which takes on political aspects such that promoting cause X implies (sometimes quite harshly) opposition to cause A.

    I’ve often mentioned that I don’t believe government entities should ever be involved in purchasing or selling advertising. They also should avoid cross-promotion. No one should be able to imply that they are endorsed by government.

    As to makers’ marks on police equipment, if an item is for sale to the public and the category of items customarily includes visible makers’ marks (flashlights, sunglasses, computers, motorcycles, etc.), they seem ok. If something is just sold to LE (like the Ford Police Interceptor truck), then the makers’ mark is unseemly.

    When I saw that a logo was presented for a minor league hockey team called the Black Bears, I was expecting the usual snarling cartoon bear with a hockey stick. I was pleasantly surprised to see what they came up with, although it could use some tweaking. Either remove the pine trees from behind the bear, or make them a different color, because as a distance the black trees just blend into the black bear. The logo looks good as an “official” logo, but I think I would prefer to just see the bear by itself as a jersey logo.


    With a name like Crystal Palace I’ve always imagined the coolest uniforms in my head. Then when I see what they actually wear year after year, I am thoroughly disappointed.

    “… I don’t think municipal officers should ever be promoting a for-profit business.”

    The police department for the town of Speedway, IN has the IMS symbol on their shoulder patches and the speedway’s Pagoda on their badges; they are not merely private security for the facility:



    The town seal:


    Re: the NAHL.

    There is another league with the same name, but in French. The Ligue Nord-Americain de Hockey (LNAH) is in Quebec, and is a tough-guy league. That league had, at one time 3.2 fights per game and employed such tough guys as Link Gaetz and Donald Brashear.

    Will the new NAHL do the same?

    Whoops. I should read more. Tier II junior. Still, at the end of the season, fights are common. I once witnessed a California team at the North American championship go full-on Syracuse Bulldogs in their final pool match.

    Suspensions and expulsions were pending, last I heard.

    LNAH teams have more adds on their uniforms than any other hockey league in North America. Looks like a team the would play in Europe (until one steps on the ice with them and realize the style of play in that league).


    The city of Irving had a Cowboys helmet on their sleeve patch when they played at Texas Stadium. I would think they don’t now though. But not sure as I rarely go east of Fort Worth anymore.

    I don’t have a reason to question the professionalism and independence of big city police departments.

    But the point that a poster raised about what happens when they investigate a player (like Osuna) is a good one. If a police officer feels that he or she has to take off their hat while investigating an alleged crime, maybe they shouldn’t be wearing the hat at all.

    This feels even more true to me for small town police departments in college towns. There’s already such a shady-close relationship between small town police departments, boosters and college athletic departments, I’d be really uncomfortable if this spread to those sorts of police departments.

    I very much agree with your take on police departments’ use of sports logos. Specifically regarding the Green Bay police department, the use on a badge seems pretty egregious. However, does the Packers’ unique ownership structure and relationship to the city impact your opinion at all? The Packers are legally a not-for-profit corporation (though obviously everyone working for the Packers is paid very well). The official city logo for Green Bay incorporates the Packers “G” as well, so that is actually a part of the city’s official branding. I am not defending the use on a badge, I’m playing devil’s advocate a bit and find interesting how Green Bay’s civic identity is so tied up with a professional sports organization, for better and worse.

    No municipality, or its officers, should be so innately tied to a sports team that it can’t have a distinct identity. I mean, come on.

    (Also: Cities do not have “branding.” They are not selling anything and they are not “storytelling.” They have seals, which serve to designate their official authority. Let’s please not use corporate-speak when discussing civic institutions.)

    Paul, while agree with you that pro sports logos are inappropriate on police uniforms at any time, I’m not sure that I agree that cities do not engage in “branding”.

    Cities and states as well quite often will have “Chamber of Commerce” type offices that promote the area as a good place to live, visit, and/or do business in. This is without a doubt a form of branding. Many cities will also have logos commissioned that are not the same as the more formal seals and are designed to promote the area.

    Probably the most famous example of this is the “I (heart) NY” logo…see its history in the link below:


    I want to reiterate that I agree with you, the use of a sports logo on a badge is silly, as is tying civic institutions so closely to business interests, and maybe “branding” was the wrong word to use and a bit of a loaded term. But the fact remains that the city of Green Bay does have and use logos that incorporate the Packers’ “G” into it, and is part of the official civic identity. The home page for the city (the .gov page, and not just a separate tourist website) has such a logo front and center. I did a quick search and I cannot tell if that logo is the official city seal or not, but it is clearly used in an official capacity. So (again, devil’s advocate) if the city identifies itself using that logo, is it a stretch for their public institutions to also do so, including the police department? Especially when considering the Packers’ unique history and status as a not-for-profit organization?

    Like Daniel I am a little surprised by your assertion that cities or any governmental body is not involved in “branding.” I live in Minneapolis and we just held the super bowl here. The city spent a ton on time and resources in branding in an attempt to sell itself as a tourist and business destination to the big wigs that came for the game. I am not saying this is a good or bad use of public resources, or the way things should be, but it clearly is an activity that cities, states and even national governments participate in.

    Re: Uni Watch Caps
    I see there’s an option for “adjustable”. Are we talking adjustable as in snapback or velcro strap, or more of the flex-fit where it’s fitted but stretchy?

    And if it’s the later, will there ever be a choice for the former? I have a larger head size that makes it difficult to find fitted caps in my sizes, so I stick with adjustable.

    Cops do a serious job and need to maintain the most professional, police-like appearance at all times. Not to sound like anti-fun, but I would be opposed to cops wearing a hat for team while on duty .

    Sorry I’m a day late I missed Uni-Watch yesterday.
    I’m a retired Police Officer who spent most of my 25 years in uniform.
    I do not support on duty law enforcement wearing anything but their standard duty issued uniform. Without sounding dramatic, the uniform is sacred. It’s what separates you from our fellow citizens. It should not be cheapened or dressed down with sports apparel. The agency I worked for would never do something like they’re doing in Houston.
    On a side note I was in a Monmouth County New Jersey town yesterday and saw a Pink Police car. I could believe my eyes. I suspect it was some type of breast cancer awareness thing but it looked ridiculous. Really? We can’t just raise some money or help somebody with cancer? Now we paint our police cars pink? Ugh…

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