The Story Behind the ‘Mistaken for MAGA’ Article

As you may recall, last month I asked if any of you had stopped wearing your favorite red team ballcaps because you didn’t want them to be mistaken for “Make America Great Again” caps. I’ve now written an article about this phenomenon for the New York Times “Styles” section. It was faaaascinating to work on. You can check it out here.

The article has generated a lot of responses and questions, so I want to address some of that today. Let’s shift into virtual-FAQ mode:

You always say you only care about what the players wear, not what fans wear. So why did you do an article about fans and their caps?

It’s true that I focus on what the players wear from a Uni Watch perspective. But this wasn’t a Uni Watch story, or even a sports story (although it has some sports-related aspects, obviously). It’s more of a story about an interesting and surprising social phenomenon, and that’s right in my wheelhouse.

How did you get the idea for this story?

My friend and neighbor Sridhar, who’s from Cincinnati, emailed to tell me that a bunch of his friends from the midwest had stopped wearing their Reds, Cardinals, and Chiefs caps because they didn’t want to be mistaken for MAGA (he was almost apologetic about telling me, because he knows I don’t usually write about what fans wear). That phenomenon had never occurred to me, and I thought it was interesting, so I asked you folks about it here on the blog. I was surprised by the number of responses, so I put out a similar call on Twitter and got literally hundreds of emails in response.

That’s when I decided it was worth pursuing as an article. The Times “Styles” section was the first place I pitched it to, and they said yes. (If they had turned it down, the next places I planned to pitch were The Wall Street Journal [this topic would have been good for their daily “a-hed” piece — the same section for which I did the pepperoni article earlier this year] and Sports Illustrated.)

Isn’t this just a case of confirmation bias? You decided there must be people who feel this way, and then you went and found a few of them to prove your pre-existing notion?

On the contrary, I was very, very surprised by this whole phenomenon, and I continue to be surprised by the number of people it encompasses. Like I said, the whole thing had never even occurred to me, probably due to some combination of the following factors:

• I haven’t bought a cap (well, except for two Uni Watch caps) in several years.

• I have never owned a red cap of any kind (not because I hate red or anything like that — it just hasn’t come up).

• We don’t have any red-capped teams here in NYC.

• NYC is generally anti-Trump, so there aren’t many MAGA hats.

• I work at home, so I don’t circulate around people and see what they’re wearing as much as people who commute and work in offices.

• My professional life involves looking at a lot of red team caps.

So when Sridhar told me about his friends who’d stopped wearing their red caps, I was really surprised. When I asked about the phenomenon on Uni Watch and on Twitter, I was even more surprised by the volume of responses. And while I was working on the story, I sometimes mentioned to friends, “I’m working on this story about people who’ve stopped wearing their favorite red caps because…” and then my friends would finish the sentence for me: “Oh, because of the MAGA thing?” That surprised me too. And since the article has been published, even more people have told me, “Oh, yeah, I leave my red hats in the closet now.” By now I probably shouldn’t be surprised anymore — but I still am! I honestly had no idea and didn’t see any of this coming.

In short: If I had any confirmation bias, it was the other way around. Like, “This isn’t really a thing, is it?” But it is.

Isn’t this just a fringe phenomenon, and you’re making it seem bigger than it is by writing about it in The New York Times?

To be clear, nobody’s claiming that a majority of fans have put aside their red hats. But the volume of responses I’ve received from all areas of the country suggest that it’s not just a fringe trope either. Moreover, the article includes a quote from a retail manager who said his distributors have told him that red caps are problematic now. I could have quoted several other industry sources who told me the same thing. An additional industry source contacted me after the article came out to confirm the same point. It’s clearly more than just something on the fringes. Again, nobody is more surprised by this than I am.

Team caps are high-profile and have the MLB logo on the back. MAGA hats are slouchy and strapback. Anyone can tell the difference!

Not everyone out there is as attuned to the nuances of cap culture as you and I are. Also, not every team cap is an authentic New Era 5950. There are plenty of team caps from other licensees, slouchy team caps, strapback/snapback team caps, fashion team caps, and so on.

Anyone who can’t read the difference between a team logo and the words “Make America Great Again” must be an idiot.

One of the people I interviewed for this story was a self-described “visibly queer woman” from Wisconsin. I ended up not being able to quote her in the article because she wouldn’t give me permission to use her name due to fears of harassment and possible employer reprisal (and the Times wouldn’t allow me to quote her anonymously), but she had some interesting things to say about differentiating between red hats:

We’re not so stupid that we can’t tell the difference, or can’t read a logo. But from a distance, or from the back or the side, sometimes it’s hard to tell right away. And that’s what it usually is — a flicker, a moment, until you know for sure.

But that uncertainty is uncomfortable, and, depending on where you are and who you’re with, can be very, very scary. Because I know someone dedicated enough to Trumpism to purchase and wear a MAGA hat sees my rights as less than theirs, which they are able to do because they don’t see me as as much of an American, as much of a human being, as they are. It creates a momentary fight-or-flight reaction. Do I have to move to the other side of the bar? Do I have to leave the bar?

When I get close enough to read the red hat, I either leave (MAGA hat) or breathe a sigh of relief and ask them how they feel about the upcoming football season (Nebraska hat).

This article doesn’t seem very balanced. You quoted way more anti-Trump people than pro-Trump people.

Well, it’s an article about a social phenomenon that happens to be anti-Trump, so of course it has more anti-Trump (or at least anti-MAGA) voices. Think of it this way: If you were reading an article about a Trump campaign rally, would you expect to see many pro-Elizabeth Warren people quoted in it? If you read an article about left-handed people, would you expect to see many right-handed people quoted in it? If you read an article about even numbers, would you expect it have much discussion of odd numbers?

And so on. Some topics, simply by virtue of their nature, don’t invite equal coverage of both sides. But that doesn’t mean that an article with an unbalanced number of voices is inherently unfair. I happen to think this article is a very fair examination of the phenomenon.

(Also: I wanted to quote someone from the Trump campaign, so they could weigh in on all of this, but they didn’t respond to my request for comment.)

Anyone who lets a politician decide which hat to wear is an idiot.

That’s certainly one point of view. And I quoted someone in the article who said precisely that.

It’s sad that things have come to this.

You’ll get no argument from me on that point.

The article says that New Era, ’47, and Lids never got back to you when you contacted them. Why do you think that is?

It wasn’t surprising. Requesting comment from them was basic due diligence on my part (I contacted each of them multiple times), but I didn’t really expect them to respond. It’s a no-win topic for them — no matter what they said, they’d run the risk of pissing off somebody or appearing to take sides. Safer to just stay silent, so that’s what they did. (I appreciated that Dick’s Sporting Goods did get back to me, although only to say, “No comment.”)

There are two spots in the article where you refer to “a reporter.” Was that you, or someone else?

That was me. It’s standard Times protocol for reporters to refer to themselves in the third person for news articles. Since this piece was for the “Styles” section, which is less rigid, I probably could have gotten away with a few first-person references, but this is a politically charged topic, so I wanted to remove myself from the text as much as possible and just be an observer and a conduit.

How long did the article take you?

It was a few days of laying the groundwork (i.e., putting out the queries on Uni Watch and Twitter, creating a pitch letter, etc.), and then a little more than a week of active work — sifting through the hundreds of emails I had received, deciding which people to follow up with, doing phone interviews, shaping the story.

There were two more days of follow-up work as part the editing process. I got one last quote on Friday night, just a few hours before the story went live on the web. The print version had already gone to press by that point, so the web and print versions are different. (The print version also has a factual error in one of the photo captions. I didn’t see the photos or captions until the piece went live on the web, so I was able to get them to fix the caption on the web version but it was too late for the print version. Grrrrr.)

———

I think that’s it. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask in today’s comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

• • • • •

• • • • •

Assorted reminders: In case you missed it on Friday, I had some big announcements:

• First, as you can see at right, we have a new uni-versary item — a Uni Watch 20th-anniversary commemorative dinner plate (because 20 years is traditionally the “China anniversary”) — and I don’t mind saying it looks pretty damn cool. We’re now taking pre-orders. Full details here.

• Second, the results of our Bengals-redesign challenge are now available for your enjoyment.

• And last but not least, my free agency will soon come to an end, because next month I’ll be signing on as a staff writer for Sports Illustrated. Full details here.

• • • • •

• • • • •

One last Bouton/Ball Four item: For those who were asking (or just wondering), audio recordings of the tribute to Jim Bouton and Ball Four that I participated in last week are now available.

The audio is in two parts. The first part has Fangraphs baseball writer Jay Jaffe, Bouton biographer Mitch Nathanson, and then my segment begins at the 36:10 mark.

The second part has Field of Schmes author Neil deMause and Forbes sportswriter Nick Diunte.

Enjoy!

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: Marlins P Jordan Yamamoto, who is from Hawaii, had the Hawaiian phrase “Kū Kia’i Mauna” written on his hat yesterday. The phrase is support of those protesting against the building of a telescope on Mauna Kea. Yamamoto had something else written on the opposite side of his hat, but I can’t tell what it is (from Jakob Fox). … The Reds wore 1961 throwbacks yesterday. Several players went bare-armed, including 3B Eugenio Suarez and OF Yasiel Puig. … The Astros and Rangers both wore blue yesterday (from multiple readers). … SportsLogos.net posted pictures of all the caps worn by each of the new Hall of Fame inductees (from Nicklaus Wallmeyer). … The Battle Creek (Mich.) Bombers, a team in the collegiate summer Northwoods League, wore 1995 throwbacks to a minor-league team that used to play in the city, the Michigan Battle Cats (from Kary Klismet). … Several players in the Korea Baseball Organization’s all-star game appeared wearing either costumes or less-obvious uniform variations (from Jeremy Brahm). … Louis Orangeo, one of the people quoted in Paul’s “Mistaken for MAGA” article, plays on a co-ed New Jersey softball team called Trump Train. They have pro-Trump jerseys with Trump-themed NOBs (others not shown include “Build the Wall,” “Covfefe,” and “Little Rocket Man”). “When we wear these jerseys in public, we get nothing but love and compliments on them,” he says. “Maybe folks find them too ridiculous to take seriously.”

Football News: Arkansas freshman TE Hudson Henry is apparently wearing “Hud. Henry” as an NOB. Sean Patton tells us that the NOB distinguishes Henry from his brothers Hayden, who is a linebacker on the team, and Hunter, who plays for the Chargers. … Kevin Clark found a Bears-themed vending machine at, of all places, the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. … JetBlue Airways has a plane with a Jets-themed livery which has not been updated with the new logo (from Kevin Corcoran).

Hockey News: Reader Chris Blackstone‘s brother found this Oilers jersey at a thrift store. Judging by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association tag on the inside and the stripe pattern at the bottom, which the NHL Oilers did not use, Chris thinks it belonged to the WHL’s early-’80s Kamloops Jr. Oilers, who were the only major junior team to use the Oilers name. … The “military appreciation” alternate has spread to college club teams — in this case, Georgia’s.

Basketball News: It looks like Maryland’s uniforms have been updated to be less state-flag themed (from M.J. Kurs-Lasky). … New court for Incarnate Word (from Zach Faust).

Soccer News: Teams releasing new kits or shirts include English League Two’s Salford City, League One’s Portsmouth (both from Josh Hinton), Turkish team Trabzonspor’s second kit with an elaborate video (from Josh Hartle), and Swiss team FC Zürich. Portsmouth’s pictures tell us, if we didn’t know already, that the English Football League’s NOB/number treatment in support of the mental health charity Mind is apparently back for a second season. … Adidas has created a bizarre-looking warm-up shirt for this season that you can already see on Italian team Juventus and Dutch team Feyenoord (also from Josh Hinton). … Astros/Rangers wasn’t the only blue-vs.-blue matchup of the day: Scottish teams St. Johnstone (white shorts) and Ross County did the same. … English club Lewes pride themselves on paying their men’s and women’s teams equally — though the men’s team is in the seventh tier and the women in the second — and both teams have been wearing “Equality FC” patches in the NOB position and on the sleeve during preseason. … Scottish team Motherwell said that their new advertiser is the same bookmaker that “advertises” for Huddersfield, so their shirts also won’t have ads this season. While this campaign obviously comports with a goal of Uni Watch’s, I still think it can’t be taken as anything other than self-serving for the bookmaker, especially after the Huddersfield stunt.

Grab Bag: NASCAR driver Alex Bowman did not have a usable car for yesterday’s race after his primary and backup cars both crashed, so teammate Jimmie Johnson’s backup was converted into a third car for Bowman (from Ryan Crimson). … Two more motorsports items from David Firestone: NASCAR team Richard Childress Racing has a new T-shirt showing its variations of No. 3 over the years; the number has not been used by another team since 1975. … The title advertiser of Formula One team Haas F1 is an English energy drink manufacturer of questionable existence that claimed it “sacked the team for poor performance” about 10 days ago, but its logo still appeared on the Haas cars at last week’s British Grand Prix. … Rob Yasinsac attended the recent Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts and spotted someone wearing a 2019 Purp Walk shirt during the Feelies’ set. … “We’ve spent the last week watching a lot of Apollo 11 programming,” says John Muir. “This reenacted POV shot from the PBS documentary 8 Days showed a mission task list for the lunar surface on the sleeve Neil Armstrong’s space suit. The first thing my wife said was that it looked like a quarterback’s play-calling wristband.”

142 comments to The Story Behind the ‘Mistaken for MAGA’ Article

  • John | July 22, 2019 at 8:03 am |

    A few years ago, This actually happened to my 3 year old at the time who was wearing a red hat and a family member (giddly) asked me if my son was wearing a MAGA hat…crazy

  • David | July 22, 2019 at 8:13 am |

    The red Red Sox caps of the 70s were my favorite, but mine has been hung up in the basement for some time. For me, a baseball cap is a fun little signifier of baseball fandom, and the red ones have gotten mixed in with a whole other message, so just aren’t as fun.

    • AJ Kane | July 22, 2019 at 9:45 am |

      I also really love the Red Sox hats from the ’70s (and I still wish the Sox would reintroduce them as a Sunday alt), but I have found myself not wearing it as much in the last couple years. It was never a conscious choice, but I imagine that’s probably why.

  • Joel Keller | July 22, 2019 at 8:16 am |

    It’s too bad that quote from the “visibly queer woman” couldn’t be in the article because it would have nicely rounded out what was already a great story, and answered the main question I’m sure most readers had about the whole phenomenon.

  • Joshua Thompson | July 22, 2019 at 8:18 am |

    What a waste of an article. I hope you do better at SI of supporting this country no matter who is in charge. If you can’t wear a hat because it’s red and you are scared of what people might say then you are weak individual.
    Support police, the military and the President of the United States please.

    • Justin | July 22, 2019 at 8:27 am |

      First of all, what does the police or the military have to do with the article?

      Secondly, who’s being weak and scared? I’m certainly not scared of wearing a red hat, but I am concerned what a red hat might mean to a person who’s been the victim of hate or fear or racism by some individuals in the MAGA community..

      It’s not weakness to be empathetic. This country could use a hell of a lot more empathy, if you ask me.

    • Christopher Falvey | July 22, 2019 at 8:35 am |

      The article is about one particular phenomenon. I’d bet there are opposite phenomena out there like wearing rainbow colors when you don’t want to be mistaken for being associated with the LGBTQ community (and I don’t mean that in a bigoted way, some people have believes that run counter to that community’s beliefs.)

      However, the point is this is a thing that exists. It is not taking any sides per se.

    • Confused Patriot | July 22, 2019 at 9:00 am |

      I love that many of the people who say it is unpatriotic to criticize the President are the same people who relentlessly criticized the last president. Seems that to them if you are with them you can say whatever you like, if you are against them, bully your opposition with false patriotism. Not necessarily saying this applies to you, Joshua, but it certainly applies to many out there.

    • Memal | July 22, 2019 at 9:35 am |

      Please explain how an article about hats is unsupportive of this country? The president is literally NOT the be all to end all of this country.

      Like the confused patriot said, I know several proud MAGA hat wearers who had no problem criticizing the last president but think it’s sacrilege to say anything negative about President Trump. Maybe the hats should say something about ending hypocrisy, because from in my lifetime America has always been great.

      • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 9:37 am |

        Please explain how an article about hats is unsupportive of this country? The president is literally NOT the be all to end all of this country.

        Moreover, the article does not criticize the president. It just examines an interesting and surprising social phenomenon. The *phenomenon* is anti-Trump, but the article isn’t.

        • RS Rogers | July 22, 2019 at 3:15 pm |

          There is, by my reading, exactly one sentence in the article that expresses an opinion in Paul’s voice, and that sentence praises the Trump campaign. (Lightly, and highly conditionally, but still.) So what this exchange boils down to is,

          Paul: The MAGA hat is a success.

          Critics: How dare you attack the president!

          I think that I am safe in assuming that 0% of the people accusing Paul of anti-Trump bias in his reporting actually read the Times article.

    • AJ Kane | July 22, 2019 at 9:47 am |

      This criticism just doesn’t make sense. Please use some critical thinking skills.

    • RSB | July 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm |

      “Support … and the President of the United States please.”

      I have never, ever understood this line of thinking. The idea of uncritical worship is one of church, not state, when we separated ages ago.

      Furthermore, it’s not a citizen’s job to support and constantly respect the President. It’s the President’s job to work his tail off to constantly prove he’s earned and deserves our support and respect. Seeing it as your duty to support and respect without question is 100% the opposite of democracy.

  • Chris A. O'ell | July 22, 2019 at 8:18 am |

    I used to wear a red Washington Capitals hat to work. One day during a meeting a coworker jokingly pointed out that I was wearing a MAGA hat. About 20 coworkers turned around to take a look to see if I was all at once. As well as being a little funny, and it got some chuckles once they saw it was a Caps hat, it was unnerving because I hadnt considered that anyone would mistake my Caps hat for a MAGA hat. The Capitals were in the midst of their 2018 run to the Stanley Cup at the time so I didnt STOP wearing the red one until they won the Cup and then I bought a grey CHAMPS hat and wore that instead. I also own both a red Nats hat and a blue Nats hat and needless to say I choose the Blue one. I live in a town where I see old guys wearing MAGA hats ALL the time. I dont want the association and so I avoid wearing the red cap for now.

  • Mark Graban | July 22, 2019 at 8:18 am |

    I’m a WSJ subscriber and I really enjoyed the pepperoni piece. I didn’t realize you were the author, Paul!

  • Justin | July 22, 2019 at 8:19 am |

    I was the guy in the photo!

    It was pretty crazy to go from e-mailing Paul, to Paul calling me to do a follow-up / more in depth interview (and also saying it would be for the NYT)…to the NYT Photo Editor e-mailing me and asking if they could take my photo, and then having a two hour photo session last Sunday at my house.

    (For the record, I think the photo they choose was the weirdest one of all the ones taken.)

    It’s sad that it’s come to this. But what I said to Paul, what I’ve said to people online since the article was released, that I’m just trying to be an empathic guy to those who view THOSE hats as a sign of racism, hated, fear, or whatever.

    It takes zero-effort on my part to NOT wear a red hat. As the article says, I have HUNDREDS of hats to choose from (not just red ones!) – and if not wearing a red hat means I don’t contribute to someone being afraid, then that’s the least I can do.

    Just trying to be mindful. Thoughtful. Empathetic.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 8:27 am |

      I didn’t see any of the other photos, but I thought the one they used was a bit odd, frankly!

      • Justin | July 22, 2019 at 8:28 am |

        I have this awesome, bright “atomic orange” couch. I think Eve, the photographer, really wanted to use it somehow…that said, there was weirder photos of me on the couch, so at least they used the “good” one, haha!

        • SNL | July 22, 2019 at 11:56 am |

          the photo of you lying on your back like that screams “SASSY!”

  • Wade Heidt | July 22, 2019 at 8:23 am |

    Re: the Oilers jersey in the Hockey Ticker. Thinking it might just be a retail jersey in the 1980s that was not authentic to the design of the real jersey.

    It is not a Kamloops Junior Oilers jersey. Kamloops Junior Oilers existed 1981 to 1984. The logo featured the city name underneath the word Oilers and had the same striping as NHL Oilers:

    https://www.classicauctions.net/ItemImages/000101/101632a_lg.jpeg

    https://www.classicauctions.net/lot-101632.aspx

    • mike 2 | July 22, 2019 at 12:18 pm |

      I think that’s exactly right. From back in the day when every sporting goods store had a heat press and a box of letters and crests and they’d put anything on anything

    • Chris Blackstone | July 22, 2019 at 2:33 pm |

      Original poster here, after talking with my brother, we think it IS a retail version. Even at Wal-Mart now, you can get jerseys that are off from what they are.

      Maybe back then they thought ‘close enough’.

  • Adam T | July 22, 2019 at 8:24 am |

    While this is an interesting topic regarding hats, and involving sports hats, I have to say I feel like including the comments from the “visibly queer woman” was a bit unnecessary and seemed like more of a political push than just information. She acknowledged that she immediately judges a person for wearing hat because she assumes they judge her or believes her “rights are less than theirs.” She’s scared of anyone wearing a MAGA hat, and breathes a sigh of relief if someone isn’t pro-Trump? Talk about a bias. To assume that just because someone is pro-Trump (likely just republican) they must also agree with everything he says/does is the reason our country is so massively divided. This is obviously a whole separate topic that doesn’t need attention here, but I’m sure you have dozens, if not hundreds, of responses from people, and you chose to put that one into this post. I was under the impression this was all about people deciding not to wear their red hats, not about how some people buy into all the ”deplorables” bullshit

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 8:26 am |

      You can assess her statement however you like, Adam. I was simply using her quote as a way of explaining that, for some people, it’s not always immediately obvious if a red cap is or isn’t a MAGA cap. That’s all.

    • David | July 22, 2019 at 9:36 am |

      “To assume that just because someone is pro-Trump (likely just republican) they must also agree with everything he says/does is the reason our country is so massively divided.”

      I really think this missed the point, and I hear it a lot. The discomfort isn’t from a mistaken belief that you sign on the man’s every utterance, it’s that certain words and actions were not dealbreakers. Not just for a vote, which is nearly always a compromise of some sort, but for the kind of enthusiasm that wearing supportive merchandise entails.

    • Al D | July 22, 2019 at 10:07 pm |

      Well said, Adam.

  • BurghFan | July 22, 2019 at 8:27 am |

    “I still think it can’t be taken as anything other than self-serving for the bookmaker”

    All advertising is self-serving, for the advertiser and whomever the advertiser is paying to place the ad. If this particular campaign means I have to look at fewer ads while watching a match, that’s a good thing.

    • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 9:05 am |

      In soccer, it has come to the point where I really don’t care if the bookies make more off a sponsor-less kit. The fact is, two previously ad-clad clubs are going ad-free, and it is being done intentionally to draw awareness to the excessive kit ad problem. Personally, I think it is insignificant (and nothing against Jamie, who does a great job handling soccer here at UW and with myself and Ed on Twitter) whether the bookie makes more off the publicity stunts surrounding the ad-free kits; I still consider that a “win”.

    • Jamie Rathjen | July 22, 2019 at 9:08 am |

      Consider that this particular bookmaker has a habit of ridiculous publicity stunts and that Motherwell said they’re receiving more money for this than they did with their previous ads.

      I agree, Uni Watch readers will say “less ads is a good thing” but I genuinely have a hard time believing this is an earnest campaign for ad-free shirts and not just another publicity stunt that happens to involve ad-free shirts. We probably won’t know until next season.

      • Jamie Rathjen | July 22, 2019 at 9:10 am |

        But, as Josh says, obviously from a visual perspective it’s a good move in the short-term.

        • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 9:17 am |

          True, but I would rather a sponsor receive more money for an ad free kit, or pay the club extra to purchase an ad free kit, than to have the traditional sponsorship announcement and placement on the kit.

      • Padday | July 22, 2019 at 10:54 am |

        It’s really stretching it to grant that said betting company have any interest in the sanctity of sports aesthetics considering the complete contempt they’ve shown for such concepts in the past:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2007/sep/28/rugbyunion.rugbyworldcup20077

        And whatever impulse I may have to forgive them on the basis that at least the end result is ad free jerseys is massively drowned out by my basic revulsion at the creeping saturation of the betting industry into every facet of the game. This so-called campaign isn’t a backlash against that, it’s an escalation of the betting industry arms race.

    • Benjamin Cox | July 22, 2019 at 10:11 am |

      I’m with you on this. If that’s what they want to spend their money on, great! Teams are going to have sponsors, it’s more or less a necessity for them to make a profit or even come close to breaking even, and if those sponsors are OK with their logo being plastered somewhere other than the uniforms, all the better. Even if this is just a publicity stunt, I hope it finds success and encourages other sponsors to consider the idea. I bet these non-logo jerseys sell better than the old ones too – the white Huddersfield Town unis actually look great to me.

  • Ron | July 22, 2019 at 8:36 am |

    I have a friend who owns a comic book store, and he got hats made in several colors with his embroidered logo on them. All of them sold quickly except for the red ones. I mentioned this phenomenon to him as a possible reason, and he said a couple other folks said the same thing.

  • John M | July 22, 2019 at 8:37 am |

    FWIW I wore a red Ebbets Seattle Rainiers cap Sunday. Not even thinking of the MAGA angle. It’s a full red with no logos or makers marks. Did not receive any comments at all. And I was in a downtown area with many people around.

  • Obbs | July 22, 2019 at 8:39 am |

    The dirty fingernail holding the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association tag gave me the same reaction as nails on a chalkboard. Gaak!

  • Rod swaled | July 22, 2019 at 8:52 am |

    If you are so stupid that they can’t or don’t see the difference between a MAGA hat and any other red cap with letters on it ,they need to go back to school to learn how to read

    • Christopher Falvey | July 22, 2019 at 9:09 am |

      Depends on how far you take it, Rod. None of us study every detail of everything everyone around us is wearing. That is impossible. We see vague details and make quick judgments to ourselves. That is the human condition.

      What we do with those snap judgments- which we all have- is what defines our character. But don’t fool yourself that every person isn’t constantly making snap judgments all the time. We encounter hundreds of random people over certain periods of time.

      Again, this is just a phenomenon.

      Same would apply to- like I mentioned above- wearing rainbow, a pink hat, lots of things.

    • RS Rogers | July 22, 2019 at 10:20 am |

      One could argue that anyone who’s so stupid that they can’t tell the difference between a human being in a forest and a deer should go back to school. Or one can accept that people can and do make mistakes, and wear the orange vest or hat when one walks in the woods during deer season.

      • JD | July 22, 2019 at 3:22 pm |

        the people in the woods generally don’t mistake a person for a deer. They mistake a camouflaged person in the woods as clear shot at a deer. not the same, but still stupid.

        • RS Rogers | July 22, 2019 at 5:12 pm |

          Point is, it sort of doesn’t matter whether other people’s perceptions are sound or not. They’re gonna have them, and it’s not irrational to consider the possible perceptions of other people when making choices about how one presents oneself to them.

  • Johnny | July 22, 2019 at 9:10 am |

    I’m glad the Judge John Hodgman podcast got a mention, I had written that in! I wonder how many others mentioned it.

    Great read, Paul. Just yesterday I looked at my all-red Brooklyn Bushwicks hat with a big white B and wished I felt comfortable wearing it in public again.

  • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 9:15 am |

    I don’t, and I’m sure many others also don’t, want this turning into a massive political discussion of “Trump vs. Hillary” or “Republicans vs. Democrats”. However, when assessing this phenomenon, I feel it necessary to explain my side of the aisle as a preface. I am a Christian conservative pro-Trump 16yo who is heavily invested into politics. In fact, I will be working on the campaign trail for the Kentucky Republican nominee for AG. I only bring this up to illustrate that I am invested in this and know much about politics, and I have daily political-based interactions, with those who are both pro-Trump and anti-Trump. If anyone is interested in my political opinions, or a further discussion about politics, feel free to reach out to me via twitter (@jshhntn10) or email (jshhntn10@gmail.com). As I have told Paul previously, I am a Univ. Of Kentucky and Chicago Cubs fan (college sports and MLB are the top two sports rep’d by caps in Kentucky). Our rivals, Univ. Of Louisville, STL Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds, all wear red, so my wardrobe does not contain much red. The only red hat I own is a red MAGA hat. That being said, if a democrat candidate had a blue hat that achieved the popularity that the MAGA hat has, I would be unaffected. I have never really cared what others, especially those who I do not know, think about my hats or my clothing, or the teams I support (as most of my clothing is sports-related). I disagree with anyone who believes that a red hat shouldn’t be worn on the premise that it might be confused with a MAGA hat. However, I realize this story is controversial/popular and will gain Paul more national recognition, and hopefully, some extra cash, as he deserves it!

    • Derek | July 22, 2019 at 10:41 am |

      As a fellow Kentucky and Cubs fan, I feel it is worth acknowledging that a Democratic candidate’s hypothetical blue hat would not be likely to be associated with public cries for you to be locked up, deported, or otherwise punished based on your inherent physical traits. You would have no reason to fear for your safety from the wearer of such a hat. This is a false comparison.

      • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm |

        Derek, we could get into a discussion about the merits of both democrats and republicans and who is offended or upset, but I’m willing to bet that, based on policies employed from both sides, then somebody would fear for their safety, etc. from wearing a Democrat’s hat. It is not a false comparison; I know many who are very fearful of democrats winning the upcoming election, and many who are very fearful of republicans winning the upcoming election (due to safety, censorship, controversy, lack of security, as well as the reasons you have listed). I am not advocating that one side is inherently better; I am merely stating that both sides create controversy and fear amongst their opponents.

        • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm |

          I think this thread has gone far enough. Let’s please move on. Thanks.

  • Wade Heidt | July 22, 2019 at 9:21 am |

    I have many different baseball-style hats I wear. Many different colours. Wear red ones without thinking about it, including a couple of all red ones. My all red hat does not get mistaken for a MAGA hat. I guess that is because it says Canada on it.

    • MplsMike | July 23, 2019 at 10:53 pm |

      #winning

  • Bud | July 22, 2019 at 9:23 am |

    “But that uncertainty is uncomfortable, and, depending on where you are and who you’re with, can be very, very scary. Because I know someone dedicated enough to Trumpism to purchase and wear a MAGA hat sees my rights as less than theirs, which they are able to do because they don’t see me as as much of an American, as much of a human being, as they are. It creates a momentary fight-or-flight reaction.”

    *sigh*

    • Le Cracquere | July 22, 2019 at 5:49 pm |

      A small number of people are silly enough that it’s pointless to be solicitous of their feelings, fears, or situational judgments. If a red Cardinals, Nationals, or Falcons cap sends such a person scurrying to the other end of a bar, one must consider it a FEATURE of the cap, rather than a bug.

  • Peter | July 22, 2019 at 9:24 am |

    All this about red caps, and not one mention about gangs.
    So does a *”visibly queer woman” see a “visibly (insert minority)” wearing all red or all blue and then associate them a gang?

    *This reminds of the George Carlin bit “they happen to be…”

    • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 9:39 am |

      Interesting point … I wonder if raiders fans or NFL fans in general are impacted by the use of raiders memorabilia as gang apparel … follow-up story, Paul ;)

      • Pedro N | July 22, 2019 at 12:05 pm |

        Yes Josh, I’m a Raider fan, and unfortunately I feel the looks I get when wearing my merchandise. I take inventory of where I’m going to be and who might be there when deciding to wear my Raider hat or not. So if I’m going somewhere where a Josh Hinton may be I probably will go another route. Tall Mexican guy with a Raider hat…..not good for me in that scenario. It would take a lot for me to turn the other cheek if I’m told to go back where I came from, Torrance, California btw.

        • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 12:30 pm |

          Pedro, logical fallacies aside, I appreciate your response. The fact of the matter is that we are discussing the premise that it is a fair argument for one to have second thoughts about wearing red ball caps due to incorrect assumptions and associations. I can understand and appreciate what those who disagree with me might feel. But to insinuate that the same principle about wearing silver and black raiders apparel does not apply, even though It is widely known that it also can lead, or has in the past led, to incorrect assumptions and associations, and then bringing up political arguments that are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, is idiotic and unnecessary.

          Additionally, I never once directed any of my original statements At you, Pedro. I directed them in response to an above comment and to Paul, b/c this phenomenon is similar to the one he just wrote about. I never have and never will look at anyone differently simply b/c they wear raiders clothing.

          To insinuate that I would look at you differently simply because you are a “tall Mexican” is inherently misguided. I believe that everyone is a child of God created in His perfect image, regardless of ethnicity, I do not judge based off what skin color somebody is. The fact that you and I have never met, but you automatically assume that I am inherently racist b/c I merely responded to a comment that brought this up, parallels all that is wrong with this country. One day, perhaps at a UW gathering, or somewhere else, I do hope to meet you and have this kind of discussion; I believe that the only way a society can thrive is through discourse and discussions like this. Even though we may disagree, we don’t have to hate each other or be enemies.

          Also, just to clear this up, my support of our President is because I agree with his policy and what he has done while in office. I never once defended his statement about sending people back to where “they came from” — I disagree with the premise that if one you is unhappy about something, then one must leave. i think the president made a mistake and knows it; when analyzing his tweeting and messaging, it is obvious when he knows he messed up; he changes the direction of the argument (which he did when he went from “go back where you came from” to “if you are unhappy then leave”). His tweets also said (I’m paraphrasing here) to go back, fix other governments that are suffering more then ours, then return to the nation and fix ours. That last part isn’t reported often but it’s true.

          And this final thought goes hand in hand with the article written by Paul: even though I would not have voted for President Obama, I supported him and wanted him to succeed. Why? B/c he was the POTUS! I may not have liked him or his policies but I wanted it To work so the country would be better off. I just wish that the other side of the aisle would do the same when there is a President they disagree with…

        • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 12:51 pm |

          Pedro, logical fallacies aside, I appreciate your response. However, insinuating that it is wrong for questions to merely be asked about raiders gear that parallel the questions asked in the lede today is simply incorrect.

          It is widely known that Raiders gear has been associated with gangs. That is a fact. It’s part of the reason your team isn’t in LA right now. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/oakland-raiders-los-angeles-relocation-gang-culture-concerns-021116%3famp=true
          Now, it is known that red sports caps are associated with MAGA hats. Help me understand how it is wrong to merely respond to a comment that recognizes similarity like this may exist.

          On to the political part. First of all, I simply do not understand how any of your final thoughts relate to the raiders gear phenomenon. It is irrelevant to the discussion at hand; I think you were merely trying to libel and slander me or insinuate that I cannot speak on this issue due to my beliefs. I hope I am wrong about that, Pedro.

          I do not know you well, Pedro; I don’t think we have ever met. I believe that everyone is a child of God and is made in His image; thus, I never look at one’s ethnicity when evaluating them. I would not look at you differently simply because you are a “tall Mexican”.

          Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, I have never told you to “go back where you came from”. I never knew where you came from, but I would never tell anyone to go to California if they didn’t have to. (Kidding, of course.) regardless, I do not prescribe to the theory that disliking something is grounds for removal; I am inherently opposed to that.

          however, simply assuming that, since I am a conservative who supports the President, I am innately racist and bigoted, exemplifies what is wrong with this nation. If you want to have a civil discussion about politics, without blatantly slandering me (“so if I’m going somewhere where a Josh Hinton May be, I probably will go another route”) or my beliefs, please feel free to email me or DM me on Twitter. I would actually love to hear from you; I love discussions and political dialogue.

        • Pedro N | July 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm |

          Thanks for the offer for further discussion, but respectfully I will decline. I don’t discuss politics with anyone, much less someone I don’t know, it tends to be a fruitless endeavor. FYI much (but not all) of my comment was tongue-in-cheek, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which parts.

        • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 1:33 pm |

          Gotcha. It’s hard (for me, at least) to tell how much is 100% serious through writing/texting, so I didn’t know. In any case, I can respect not wanting to discuss politics with anybody.

  • John F. | July 22, 2019 at 9:48 am |

    As a New Yorker, I was also surprised by the phenomenon. I live on Staten Island where Trump carried 57% of the vote and I rarely see a MAGA hat (I see more MAGA hats worn by tourists in midtown Manhattan). I do not know of anyone who stopped wearing a red hat because of Trump but know a few African Americans who stopped wearing red so they would not be confused as a Bloods member.

  • Jim Vona | July 22, 2019 at 9:58 am |

    I feel this has more to do with people making snap judgements and inncorrect assumptions. For this reason, I don’t wear a red hat while riding my bike in the roadway. A driver can’t see what any red hat says from behind, so better safe than sorry. Much like a political yard sign, the political left would like to see less red hats in public, especially in the upcoming 2020 election year. By attaching a somewhat “fake racist moral outrage” over the slogan, they are responsible for instilling fear into people who otherwise would like to simply wear a Cincinatti Reds cap, or similar.

  • Zack | July 22, 2019 at 10:13 am |

    I used to work at Lids in MN from late 2017 to this year and it didn’t seem like being mistaken for wearing a MAGA hat stopped anybody from buying similarly styled red hats. In fact, a few people would bought blank red hats with a similar style and would get things like “Make Kanye 2007 Again” on them to make it seem like a MAGA hat.

    • trevor | July 22, 2019 at 12:39 pm |

      “Make Kanye 2007 Again” made me laugh.

  • RS Rogers | July 22, 2019 at 10:15 am |

    On the one hand, I really do think the whole thing is ree-diculous. On the other hand, the mistaken-hat thing is a real phenomenon. I’ve personally been confronted by people who misread my sports cap as a political statement. But much more frequently, I’ve been confronted (in this case, more in friendly terms) by people who mistake a royal-blue Brewers cap for a Cubs cap. True, there’s no confusing a Brewers ball-in-glove cap for a Cubs red-C cap – from the front! But the front of a cap is only visible to an observer from one-quarter of the possible viewing angles. As a result, I have mostly stopped wearing my several royal-blue Brewers bonnets in favor of my navy-blue Crew caps. Not consciously or deliberately, but when I decide to switch out the cap hanging on the coat rack by the door, I find that I’m just more likely to dig another navy cap out of the closet than a royal cap.

    Couple of other observations:

    1) A common joke in journalism, and one that is usually true, is that you can precisely mark the moment when a trend is over (or the date it is discovered never to have actually been a thing at all) by the date on which the New York Times publishes a story about that trend in the Style section. The info Paul cites from distributors suggests that his is the rare NYT Style trend story covering something that is both true and ongoing. Kudos!

    2) Although I would never not wear a red cap for fear of MAGA misidentification, I did pick up this Biloxi Shuckers blue BS cap as an anti-MAGA cap. (I wanted a Shuckers cap anyway since they’re a Brewers affiliate.) It’s blue, not red, and it says “BS,” which accurately communicates my opinion of all things Trumpian, so I do wear the cap when the context touches on political. Like at campaign events, or when the president is in town, or sometimes when voting.

    3. I encountered several pro-Trump ballcaps at a big event I attended this weekend, and all of them were varying shades of blue with red lettering. Makes me wonder about what goes into choosing either a red MAGA hat or a blue TRUMP hat over the other.

  • Robert | July 22, 2019 at 10:44 am |

    It’s interesting to refer to a Reds baseball team fan as well as the fan’s visit to Cincinnati, Ohio. MAGA hats are welcome in such a conservative town. Please note that the recent confrontation involving MAGA hat wearing high school young men and Native American protesters in Washington, DC. The students were from a Cincinnati, Ohio area high school.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 10:47 am |

      Whatever else one may be able to say about Cincinnati, I don’t think a few kids from one high school class can be used to represent the entire city.

    • Justin | July 22, 2019 at 11:02 am |

      Truthfully, I could have brought my red Reds cap to Cincy and it wouldn’t have been a problem. While the entire ballpark was filled with red hats (both Reds and Indians), I still opted to leave my hat at home in Orlando (I also wanted to have an excuse to wear my specialty made pillbox Reds cap!)

      Ultimately, I feel empathetic towards those individuals and groups who see a red hat as a sign of hate and oppression. Those feelings don’t have city or state limits. So, while there will probably never be an issue wearing a red Reds cap in Cincinnati, I still don’t want to contribute to someone else’s potential pain and worry, even in a town who’s ball team wears red caps.

      Is that silly? Is that being over-protective? Over-sensitive? Too empathetic? Too safe? Too whatever? Yes, yes, yes…

      Like I’ve said before, it takes zero-effort for me to pick one of the other hundred hats I own. Zero-effort! All for the sake of, MAYBE, not contributing to someone’s fear of a red hat. Even in Cincinnati.

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 10:49 am |

    The phenomenon is real. It’s all about silencing the voice of the Trump supporters and dimminishing the popularity of Trump. It’s basically a form of voter suppression, and it seems to be working by once again playing the race card.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 10:52 am |

      Actually, someone choosing not to wear a Cincinnati Reds cap (or whatever) does not silence or suppress anything except the Cincinnati Reds cap.

      Let’s please refrain from over-the-top inflammatory rhetoric. Thanks.

      • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 11:54 am |

        You are correct. But if there’s “one less visable red cap” from any team or company being worn in public it could be considered “mission accompolished” simply by association with the red MAGA hat, since the perception is elevated that red hats are possibly MAGA hats. After all, you see the cap before you see the logo, right?
        Yes, it’s a matter of choice, but “the end result” is still the same… less red hats being seen in any public place out of possible fear of wearing them. Isn’t that what this whole story is about? Even this artical shows the Cincinatti cap at the top of the page. Thank’s for printing my recent comments, they were only ment to offer another perspective, not offend.

        • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm |

          if there’s “one less visable red cap” from any team or company being worn in public it could be considered “mission accompolished” simply by association with the red MAGA hat, since the perception is elevated that red hats are possibly MAGA hats.

          That is (a) really a stretch, and (b) not even in the same world as “silencing Trump supporters” or voter suppression, as you originally claimed.

          What you’re really referring to here is the social phenomenon known as shunning, which is almost as old as human history itself. It is essentially the social equivalent of a boycott. Both are rooted in freedom of association. Suggesting that there’s something pernicious in someone boycotting his own red hat is genuinely absurd. If it does happen to have a certain political impact (which, again, I think is a stretch), that’s not pernicious either. It’s simply activism.

  • Robert | July 22, 2019 at 10:54 am |

    Fair enough, perhaps. Be sure to check out the Trump Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 1 and learn more about the town.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 10:58 am |

      I am aware of Cincinnati’s political history. I’m simply saying that holding up a single isolated example involving a few kids from a single high school is not a good way to substantiate an argument. That’s all.

  • Alex D | July 22, 2019 at 10:56 am |

    Although you didn’t request more information from me as a Cards fan for the article I appreciated reading it and thought it was well written, just as the Times usually has. Thank you for writing about something I thought of ever since the hats first got “Donned”

    • Alex D | July 22, 2019 at 10:57 am |

      Reading some of the comments you already have I’m sorry that so many trolls have appear to have come to roost. Back to Uni News

  • diggerjohn | July 22, 2019 at 11:05 am |

    I can’t wear my old Alma Mater cap in public, Stony Brook U. I have no political opinions on the matter (born Canadian), but it is tragic that people are so sensitive that I can’t wear my 15 year old Seawolves cap, because it happens to be red – the school colour.

    • Chris Weber | July 22, 2019 at 3:02 pm |

      Wear it anyway. You have the right. How others take it is their problem, not yours. -C.

  • Charles | July 22, 2019 at 11:17 am |

    This may be tangential, but I thought people might be interested. In the summer of 2016, I had a lookalike hat made that read “Make America Fart Again.” (At the time, a dumb joke seemed like an appropriate response to Trump. (And in some ways, it still does, but it rather chokes in one’s throat now.)) I got a number of double takes, both observed and verbal; maybe a handful of dirty looks (hard to read those); and a surprising number of people who just read it as a MAGA hat and took me as a fellow traveller. I live in Los Angeles, so I’m sure Trump supporters were happy and eager to meet someone who also seemed to like him. But it blew my mind when these people would stop and talk to me about it and STILL not notice the discrepancy. It was also interesting to discover the unexpected Trump supporters–the young Latino store clerk, the senior citizen Orthodox Jewish guy…
    And I did stop wearing the hat after the election. Have mixed feelings about wearing it again next year.

  • Jim Howicz | July 22, 2019 at 11:26 am |

    I’m having trouble understanding the churn about the red hat article. Paul’s a journalist. He was reporting on something that was happening in our country. It was (to quote a famous media outlet) a “fair and balanced” account of these people’s opinions. It’s how they feel. Paul did not say, “this is how they feel and they are right and the President is bad.” He also did not say they were right either. He left all of his personal bias out of the article and reported on a phenomenon. That’s what the media is supposed to do.

    • Jim Howicz | July 22, 2019 at 11:29 am |

      Also, I don’t have any red hats. If anyone wants to send me a ’71-’75 White Sox Cap, I’d be happy to wear it.

  • Alfred Cernuto | July 22, 2019 at 11:26 am |

    I like President Trump. But, I wouldn’t wear a MAGA hat in NYC because I’ve seen get assaulted for wearing that hat. Maybe I will start wearing a nice red cap instead.

    • John F. | July 22, 2019 at 7:28 pm |

      Just did a quick Google search — “MAGA Hat Assault New York City” — and the only NYC story involved a guy wearing a MAGA hat who assaulted a Mexican immigrant on the subway. There are lot of things you can do to get assaulted in New York but wearing a MAGA hat is nowhere near the top of that list.

  • jacket18 | July 22, 2019 at 11:29 am |

    Paul,

    In the NYT article, you say “[MAGA] Hats flew off the shelves in the store at the Trump Tower in Midtown as Republican supporters and Democrats alike vied to obtain the accessory of the summer.”

    I wasn’t aware of Democrats buying up MAGA Hats in 2016 (or ever). Was that really a thing? Genuinely curious what your source was on that.

    Also, big hat tip (pun intended) for the phrase “scarlet scarcity”. Well done!

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 11:36 am |

      My editor inserted that sentence. I can’t vouch for the sourcing.

      “Scarlet scarcity” is mine, however!

    • RS Rogers | July 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm |

      I can’t vouch for anything happening at Trump Tower. But I am aware of Democratic-leaning folks outside of New York who purchased MAGA hats during the Republican primary of 2015-16 as a souvenir of an obviously doomed campaign. At that time, if a MAGA hat had been available for free, I would have picked one up too for precisely the same reason.

    • Alex D | July 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm |

      There was a link that they put in for an article from 2015 about it being the “accessory of the summer” so I’m guessing it had to do with that.

  • HatRacked | July 22, 2019 at 11:42 am |

    When Paul asked for volunteers for his MAGA article I almost sent the following but since my hat is blue, I felt I didn’t qualify. After reading the comments today I wish I had.

    Here goes:

    About three years ago I bought the cap at the link below at TJ Maxx or Marshalls for $15.
    https://www.macys.com/shop/product/polo-ralph-lauren-mens-chino-flag-graphic-cap?ID=2468098

    It is light blue and has a US flag on the front and gave me a Nantucket/Hampton Islands kind of feel when I wore it. I really like the hat for the look and comfort. Then came the presidential election and the crazy MAGA hat phenomenon. You might call me a NancyBoy for not wearing that anymore but I dont want to be lumped in with THOSE PEOPLE.

    1 I did wear it once to neighborhood get together to watch the US Soccer team win the world cup last month.

    2 I dont vote even though I am registered so dont try to pin me down with an alliance to any political douchebag party.

  • Rick | July 22, 2019 at 11:46 am |

    I like the KC Chiefs. I think I don’t look good in red. I like blue. I look good in blue. I am a faux Chargers fan.

    • trevor | July 22, 2019 at 12:56 pm |

      I agree. My favorite team is a lower division soccer team in England called the Morecambe Shrimps. They are red and white. I have one red shirt, but also have one black, one purple, one blue and one green. I also have a black cap. I’m not a fan of red so I buy the alternate colors.

    • NickV | July 23, 2019 at 2:45 am |

      Lore has it that in 1960 Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt wanted the Dallas Texans (later KC Chiefs) colors to be light/baby Blue and Orange. Houston Oilers’ Bud Adams beat him to announcing light Blue, so Hunt chose Red/Yellow-Gold for his Texans, later the Chiefs.

  • Julie | July 22, 2019 at 11:51 am |

    I’ve found it entertaining to read the comments on twitter every time you shared your NYT article Paul. It seems like only the white male avatars were getting upset over it. Would be interesting to see the demographics of who would/wouldn’t wear a red hat these days.

    In terms of the MAGA hat and what it symbolizes and what Trump stands for, you could almost make the connection of a red MAGA hat being a modern day white hood, no? Food for thought.

    • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm |

      Inflamatory and “over the top” retoric? Thank’s for making my point Julie.

      • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm |

        I agree that the white hood comparison is out of line. Let’s please dial down the temperature, people. Thanks.

  • Phil P | July 22, 2019 at 12:22 pm |

    I look forward to reading the whole article, I can see things are more charged in here today than usual, and as someone who is anywhere between the left and far-left politically, I certainly have a lot of feelings on the hats and what I feel they say about the wearer. I’ll do my best to play nicely!

    My one comment is on the whole slogan behind that hat, which implies the country was not in a great state previously. Those who wear it feel patriotic. People now on the other side present criticism in their capacity as elected officials, and perhaps pointing out where our nation isn’t quite great at the moment. Opponents suggest they are not patriotic (you know the story). I just see a sense of hypocrisy behind that which I wish there could be more awareness of. Everyone wants to make this place better, of course there are different views on how to get to the state of “better” but I think we could all do with a little more understanding.

  • Clarybird | July 22, 2019 at 12:22 pm |

    If you look at the photo of the players from the Trump Train softball team, you’ll notice that the guys fly is open. Fitting.

    https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48338981057_e66a2344e2_k.jpg

  • Ricko | July 22, 2019 at 12:25 pm |

    Probably worth noting regarding some of the Reds going bare-armed: Ted Kluszewski never wore that particular Reds uniform.

    He was traded to the Pirates following the 1957 season.

    Not complaining, just making an observation.

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm |

    I’m not really boycotting wearing a red hat “by choice” as much as for “personal safety”…especially riding a bike in the road where the perception or assumption could be “potential Trump supporter” from passing motorists. That’s the difference.
    I would never underestimate the “potential ulterior motives” of either political party using one thing over another under the guise of something other than what it really is.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm |

      Shouldn’t you be wearing a helmet?

      ;)

      • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 1:37 pm |

        Our state law does not require a helmet. It also doesnt require all new home construction to have solar panels. Thank’s for the idea about getting some MAGA bike helmets to sell. Even though I wouldn’t wear it, I’m sure there are some who would.

  • Richard Paloma | July 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm |

    Yep, had it happen to me last fall when wearing my Fresno State Bulldogs cap. The guy was a Trump supporter and said he was going to compliment me for wearing a MAGA hat until he saw what it was.

  • Paul Bielewicz | July 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm |

    Until I read the article, this idea never would have occurred to me. I live in upstate NY, and rarely see people wearing MAGA hats. HOWEVER, now that I’ve read the article and understand the phenomenon, I will probably be less likely to wear a red hat out in public.

  • Federko24 | July 22, 2019 at 12:37 pm |

    The problem isn’t a red hat. It’s that some people want to find anything to find fault with others as to what they wear, what car they drive, what they eat, where they work live etc. Trying to find anything that doesn’t meld with their beliefs

  • bill | July 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm |

    I have two ‘red hat’ associations, one an MLB team and the other college. The two MLB teams I root for have records that reflect their mismanagement and I choose not to wear either cap. I mostly wear the college cap. I’m not mothballing a hat I’ve worn for almost 30 years.

    I’m usually a contrarian when considering most public thought. It’s awfully clear that politicians and the media are interested in large scale persuasion, often for the worse. Simplified messaging feeding confirmation bias is quite effective. E.g. it drives lots of site clicks. That said, my experience in daily life says people get along pretty well. Things would be even better without the constant antagonism from politicians (from all sides) and the media. Anyone who thinks this is a recent phenomenon doesn’t pay attention, or can’t see past their bias. I’m not playing the game, and in this case, as a small part of that attitude, I continue to wear my college hat.

  • trevor | July 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm |

    As Deion Sanders once said, “If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.” If wearing a red hat makes you feel uncomfortable, then you’re not going to feel good.

  • Marcus from Baltimore | July 22, 2019 at 12:50 pm |

    I’ll read all the comments about the “RedHats” when I get off. Looks like a riveting and spirited convo.

    Just wanted to add a pic of the UM Terps Uni’s, from their website:

    https://umterps.com/index.aspx?path=mbball
    https://umterps.com/images/2019/7/12/Cowan020119_15.JPG?width=1128&height=635&mode=crop

    (Yes, I’m lazy with the href’ing today lol)

  • Mitchell Noland | July 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm |

    Wish you could have gotten some stats from Lids or 47 on sales of red hats, 2015 on…

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 1:07 pm |

      So do I.

  • Steve | July 22, 2019 at 1:07 pm |

    Idea for follow up article, Paul. I’ve pretty much stopped wearing red neck ties because they seem to be Trump’s favorite (worn too long as is often pointed out). Have red ties sales dropped? Who knows? I’ve got several in my closet that are currently out of the rotation.

  • Tom | July 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm |

    Paul. Your political bias is showing. This is a sports uniform blog, not a political blog, and today’s article seems thinly veiled as a uniform-centric piece, and more like a liberal essay. I’m certain that our common friend (Nick Johnson, Rest in Peace), would be shaking his head if he was still with us. Albeit liberal, he would have found this TDS ludicrous.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm |

      I’m sorry you feel that way, Tom. A few points:

      1) The article is not “thinly veiled” as a uniform piece at all. I fully acknowledged in today’s entry that it’s not really even a sports piece, much less a uniform piece. It’s just a closer look at something interesting that I worked on, so I decided to talk about it today (not unlike the dozens of other times I’ve used the blog to discuss non-uni-related things that interest me).

      2) The article does not have a political point of view. It is simply about an interesting and surprising social phenomenon. The *phenomenon* has a point of view, for sure, as many social phenomena do, but if you go back and read the article, you’ll find that I’m simply reporting on it.

      3) Using a dead friend to try to make a point is pretty abhorrent. Please don’t ever do that again on my website. Thanks.

    • Neeko | July 22, 2019 at 4:33 pm |

      Absolutely spot on Tom – PL will say this isn’t a political site but any regular reader knows how much he loves politics & where he stands.

      • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 4:40 pm |

        Actually, I’ve never said this site is anything but a place for me to talk about what’s on my mind. It’s mostly about uniforms, but “any regular reader,” as you put it, knows that the site routinely has non-uni content. This is not exactly a news flash.

        All of that said, the NYT article does not have a political point of view. It is about a social phenomenon that *does* have a point of view, for sure (and I realize that some people will inevitably be bothered by that, which I can’t do anything about), but the article itself is just straightforward reporting.

  • Brian | July 22, 2019 at 1:53 pm |

    The gamut of reactions in today’s comments kind of shows why the phenomenon in Paul’s outstanding NYT piece developed in the first place.

  • Daniel Tarrant | July 22, 2019 at 2:01 pm |

    I would never wear a red hat.

    But it’s because I wouldn’t want anybody to think I was an NC State fan.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 2:07 pm |

      I actually had a couple of people who told me something similar (about other red-capped colleges, not NC State) during my reporting. It was funny every time!

      • jacket18 | July 22, 2019 at 3:17 pm |

        I pretty much avoid wearing red *anything* being a Georgia Tech grad. That definitely informs any Atlanta United or Atlanta Braves apparel I buy.

  • Mark | July 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm |

    Not a big problem in Louisville where about half the people you see are wearing red University of Louisville Cardinal hats, with a smattering of Reds hats thrown in. MAGA doesn’t occur to people.

    • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm |

      Should be purple for LouCity ;)

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 2:15 pm |

    That’s why I never wore an OSU hat. I didn’t want anyone to think I voted for Obama outside Ohio.

  • Drew | July 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm |

    Well this comment section looks about how I expected.

    In any case, this topic has been on my mind for at least a couple of years now and I’m happy to have read your column on it, Paul. It was a factual, non-judgemental piece describing a real phenomenon. But I’m not surprised that a number of people wouldn’t see it that way.

    Good work, as usual. Cheers.

    • Josh Hinton | July 22, 2019 at 2:47 pm |

      Agreed.

  • Mark | July 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm |

    I wear a Boston Red Sox Hat in Red color with the Black letter B. I dont care who in God’s creation thinks what it is.
    I not going to change what I do because someone may start to get offended by just seeing red. Some people better start to grow up. Enough already.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 3:49 pm |

      You should definitely wear whatever you want, Mark — nobody’s business but yours. But just to clarify, nobody in the article said they were changing their hat habits because they were “offended” by anything. They just don’t want to be mistaken for something they’re not. That’s all.

      I’ve noticed this word — “offended” — coming up a lot in the response to the article. It is not really relevant to the discussion.

  • Brian | July 22, 2019 at 3:52 pm |

    I own a lot of hats, including a number of red hats, and while I’ve never really consciously thought about the connection, my eyes have made a beeline to every red cap I’ve seen being worn on the streets of NYC since I read the article.

    However, as someone said in one of the comments just before mine, I’ve stopped wearing my solid red tie. I work in government so the people I am interacting with on a daily basis are politicos, and the red tie attracts a whole lot of comments.

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 4:10 pm |

    Mark, I agree. I wouldn’t care either… if I was walking.

    Many drivers don’t like cyclists to begin with, so seeing one with a red cap could potentially trigger a drunk or angry Trump hater even more. There’s enough danger out there without having to worry about the hat as well. And while the visability issue would be one reason to actually wear a red hat for my own safety, I choose other bright colors instead because of the MAGA hat controversy.

  • Ethan Hopkin | July 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm |

    With all politics aside, I read this article while I wear my 2009 flag desecration Chicago Cubs hat, which you remember was the year they inverted the colors from the first year, so the hat is a nice bright red. I wore it today because I am wearing a red shirt. I don’t feel any bias to either direction because I am wearing this hat, and to be honest, it has never even entered my wildest notion that it could be mistaken for a MAGA hat. Part of it might be because I am a huge hat collector and I won’t judge a hat from several hundred feet away, but will instead elect to get very close and investigate every nook and cranny of the hat. I am also from Texas, and even though I live in a very very blue city, pro Trumpism is so large here I am numb to it. Lastly, it helps I don’t get political at all so I don’t really see the connection. I am not dismissing the story one bit, it has just never occurred to me as being a thing.

  • Spencer | July 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm |

    From time to time I drive Uber and lyft. I also wear a lot of different baseball hats (I have about a dozen in rotation)

    My Cincinnati Reds hat has been taken out of rotation because from the back passengers are unsure. I’ve gotten enough questions that I stopped wearing it while I’m driving Uber. I figure if that many people asked the question how many more silently wondered. As someone who is vehemently opposed to the president (and living in a very blue area) I’d prefer that people didn’t think that

  • Tim | July 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm |

    Because I wear red, I’m a MAGA Republican or a Blood Gang Member.
    Because I wear blue, I’m a Progressive Democrat or a Crip Gang Member.

    Because I wear purple I can’t make up my mind.

    In LA back in the 90’s Black Kings hats were used by one gang, black White Sox hats were used by another gang.

    Bottom line it’s all stupid and both sides are triggered way too easily by anything. We’re at a level of insanity not seen since the Civil War.

    • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 4:51 pm |

      A lot of it *is* stupid, but it all speaks to the emotional power of symbols, logos, colors, tribal affiliations, etc. — all of which is exactly the kind of stuff we discuss here on Uni Watch!

      • Tim | July 23, 2019 at 11:06 am |

        Oh I get it, Paul. We all (all of us) are triggered WAAAAY to easily.

    • ronnie dewitt | July 23, 2019 at 5:49 pm |

      100% agree

  • Jason T | July 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm |

    It is unfortunate a person might have to choose to not wear a hat that represents a team they support out of fear for being lumped in with some truly reprehensible, abhorrent people.

    The worse shame is we allow these folks to populate public office.

    Uni-Watch is supposed to be for those who “Get It”, but after reading a hand full of some of the comments, I’m not sure I’m surrounded by those who “Get” whats happening in our world socially.

    The rainbow imagery analogy is a fair one, My Dad has some bitchin ’70s ski gear, a nice down vest and a knit tooq that are navy blue with a cool rainbow stripe. Wearing that today has a different connotation than it would have decades ago .

    I wish all the Reds, Cardinals, Chiefs, Nebraska, Calgary Flames fans the best in their future red hat wearing endeavors.

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 5:10 pm |

    Probably the best way to “understand the phenonemon” is to actually get a red hat (other than a MAGA hat) and take a nice walk down a city sidewalk or go into a bar in a city like NYC. You will no doubt find out how real it is in very short order. Take your pic…Cincinatti Reds, Boston Red Sox, or Milwaukee Power tools.

    • Justin Peterson | July 22, 2019 at 5:19 pm |

      I was at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) here in Orlando yesterday. My wife and I grabbed a couple drinks and did some people watching.

      We sat there for 35, 40 minutes. THOUSANDS of folks walking around. Two red hats, one of which had rainbow Mickey ears attached to it.

      Is that a fair assessment? I don’t know. But I found it interesting.

    • John F. | July 22, 2019 at 7:50 pm |

      In NYC, a red Boston hat might get a worse reaction than a MAGA hat ; )

  • Jerry | July 22, 2019 at 6:06 pm |

    Sometimes, a cap is just a cap.

    • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 6:49 pm |

      Yes that’s true,.. Up until people start attaching their own meanings to it other than it’s original intent. The Cleveland Indians hat is one example,along with others. Remember the big bruhaha over the “arm chop” from the fans in the stadium years ago? Does that make all Cleveland Indians fans racist’s? OF COURSE NOT! And neither does the hat.

      • Paul Lukas | July 22, 2019 at 7:04 pm |

        Nobody said it did, Jim. Some people just prefer not to be mistaken for something they’re not. That’s the only point of the article.

        • NickV | July 23, 2019 at 2:52 am |

          On a Uni-Note, stumbled upon item that the Iowa Hawkeyes football team is going to wear a special alternate jersey against Penn State in their home game vs. Nittany Lions. Yellow/Gold jersey over Yellow/Gold pants with the horizontal “Wings” stripes very similar to the very unique Apex jerseys worn in 1995-1996. Also wearing Yellow/Gold facemask on Black helmets not previously worn.

          Not certain how to flag new items to you, and sorry if you already posted this and I missed it. I saw it on internet search for Iowa jerseys.

  • Jim | July 22, 2019 at 7:46 pm |

    Okay,I see what you mean. I was just making a similar comparison to the MAGA hat and the people at the NC Trump rally. I don’t want to be mistaken for something I’m not either, which is the main reason I don’t wear it. Sorry.

  • Steve D | July 22, 2019 at 10:07 pm |

    Haven’t seen many MAGA hats in the wild. But the phenomenon rings true to me. I play softball with a guy who had a red hat on a few months ago. Everybody made it their business to read it…it said MAKE OBAMA PRESIDENT AGAIN.

  • Dustin | July 22, 2019 at 11:45 pm |

    Paul, will you still be doing freelance articles like this when you start at SI?

    • Paul Lukas | July 23, 2019 at 5:44 am |

      My first priority will be SI, so I’ll be cutting back on freelance. Also, late summer and fall are my busy season for season previews (CFB, NFL, NHL, NBA, college hoops), so I’ll have my hands full for a bit anyway!

  • Larry | July 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm |

    I often wear a red hat with a white maple leaf on it, marked “Canada” on the strap on the back. Never really thought of being mistaken as a MAGA hat, and I live in super liberal Massachusetts. I just tossed the old one because it was gross after 12 years and many washings, but replaced it with a nice cotton maple leaf canada hat from Roots.