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Anonymous Sources Tell Why They Leaked Uniform Info

Over the years, I’ve been on the receiving end of many, many uni-related leaks. By “leaks,” I mean confidential or privileged information that was provided to me by well-placed sources. That’s how I recently got the story of the Bucs’ new uniforms and the story of what the Browns had in the works prior to their unveiling, along with lots of other big stories over the years.

During one semi-recent discussion with a leaker, the leaker said something like (I’m paraphrasing from memory here), “I’m not even sure why I’m telling you all of this. But it’s a big adrenaline rush!” By this time he and I had established a good rapport, so I felt comfortable saying, “Yeah, the psychology of leaking is pretty interesting. Maybe I should do a story on that at some point, to describe the situation from the leaker’s point of view.”

This is that story. I’ve written before about the psychology of leaking, but this story is different, because it’s straight from the sources’ mouths. I was interested in hearing what motivated these sources, why they chose to share sensitive information with me, and how they felt about the experience. So I contacted a bunch of people who had leaked info to me over the years and asked if they’d be willing to answer some questions, anonymously, for an article about leakers. Every single one of them said yes. So I emailed the same set of questions to all of them; about half of them responded. You’ll see their answers to my questions in a moment.

Some quick notes:

• To simplify matters, I’ve referred to the leakers simply as Source A, Source B, and so on. (The guy I mentioned above, whose quip prompted this story, is Source C.)

• To make it easier to follow a given source’s train of thought, I’ve color-coded each source’s responses to my questions. Source A’s responses are all in orange, Source B’s are all in blue, and so on. Unfortunately, due to the number of respondents, I was forced to use purple. (Apologies to our colorblind readers — hopefully you’ll still be able to follow along even if all the text looks the same color.)

• As you’ll see, some sources answered every question I posed to them; others skipped some of the questions. Some responses have been edited or condensed for clarity.

Ready? Here we go:

Question 1: How did you have access to the information you leaked to me? In other words, did you work for a team, or for a league, or for a retailer? Or maybe a friend of yours worked for a team/league/etc.?

Source A: I work for an arena where I am privy to certain discussions.

Source B: I was the licensed apparel and headwear buyer for a large chain of sporting goods stores.

Source C: I previously worked for the team and had received images from a friend who is a current staff member of the team.

Source D: I leaked a photo from a friend who works at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He had told me that it was one of several pictures that managers were sharing concerning [a particular product line].

Source E: I had done a focus group survey conducted by [a team, which showed a series of new uniform options]. I guess they got my name because I bought tickets online. It was completely random, and I had heard through social media that such surveys were being sent out. I was happy when I got one.

Source F: Worked as a team employee. A work colleague who “gets it” shared the info with me.


Question 2: What made you decide to offer that information to me? Please try to be as honest with yourself as you can. For example, did you do it because it made you feel important? Did you do it because you like attention? Did you do it because you’re a fan of Uni Watch and wanted to help me? Did you do it because you had a grudge against a team/league/outfitter and wanted to stick it to them? Any other reason(s)? Again, try to be as honest with yourself (and with me!) as possible.

Source A: I have been an avid Uni Watch reader and felt it was the least I could do as a sort of repayment for all of the enjoyment I get out of reading the daily postings and [Twitter] feed. To be honest, I want no part of any attention, but it did feel good to feel like I was playing a small part in helping the cause!

Source B: I did it because I’m infatuated with licensed apparel and goods. I grew up in the business — my family owned the weekly magazine/newspaper for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (you know, when people actually bought magazines), which then developed a mail-order business out of a spare bedroom in our house, which then grew to a 6,000-sqauare-foot store in Tampa selling only licensed goods. I liked leaking the information, as I liked to see online chatter about leaks from uniform geeks and fans alike, whether it was a positive or negative reaction. If it was an overwhelmingly positive reaction (which rarely happens nowadays), I would use that as customer feedback and scale up orders if I could. If the reaction was negative, I would then temper our sales expectations.

Also, I kinda got a bit of excitement seeing my leaked information get out there before someone else’s. I feel like so much regarding uniforms gets leaked via video games these days, so I wanted to beat it to the punch. Plus, leaking info would occasionally lead to learning of other information that I may not have had. For example, my Nike rep typically only shared info on stuff relative to my business, so sometimes he wouldn’t share information on teams that he knew I didn’t purchase.

Source C: I jotted this down one night shortly after we had our discussion about the potential for an article on this subject. This was how I felt at that point, so it is rather raw. It was late at night when thoughts were free-flowing through my head and I did my best to capture them:

I still cannot put my finger on any specific reasoning for the desire to be an informant. Perhaps it is a societal learned trait that drives us, in these instances.

Because it really almost feels like we are trying to sell pictures of Bigfoot to The National Enquirer. We hold some kind of belief that what we have is valuable. Probably because there has been an attached value placed on this information, especially in the last 25 years, or so. The industry has put these uniforms and unveilings on such a pedestal that anyone with that guarded information feels a sense of power. A sense of smugness, almost. That we have something over the “commoners.” It is not anything tangible, but rather something constructed in the corporate industries to drive ethos and market desires.

Once the rush wears off, there may be some remorse, or there may be a sense that an addict is chasing a rush and needs to deliver the next piece of hidden information.

Most of us presumably came from similar backgrounds and upbringings, in that we were (or still are) fans. Fanatics. We have a shared passion, with little to separate us other than presumed knowledge of the industry. In an arms race to showcase one’s knowledge, a major card that can be played is often that of inside information. Whether it be betting on games, the X’s and O’s of a playbook, knowing a coach, player, owner, front office personnel, or even just having the closest season tickets — all of this is a giant pissing contest in an attempt to pound our chest as the “biggest fan.”

Source D: The first time I shared that photo was about two days after I received it. I first posted it on a Facebook fan page, and people dismissed my posting, which was fine — I honestly didn’t care. But a couple days later the picture on Twitter, as a response to a teaser video that the [team in question] tweeted. I wasn’t expecting any reaction from the picture — I figured it would go unnoticed, as most of my tweets eventually are — and I certainly didn’t do it to spite anyone or any organization.

Source E: You are a uniform expert — you’ve turned an obsession into a vocation. I enjoy your work, and I thought you would definitely be interested — not to break a story or make news, but because you would really want to know about it.

Source F: Big fan of Uni Watch, but more importantly the person behind it [this source and I were already friends — PL], and wanted to help. Quite honestly, I thought you may have already have had that info. There was also a bit of sticking it to “the man.”


Question 3: Were you at all conflicted about sharing the information with me? Did you go back and forth in your own mind about whether you should do it? What were your biggest concerns or reservations?

Source A: I was a bit concerned. I had no clue how many people knew [what I was telling you], so it was a leap of faith for sure.

Source B: No reservations at all. If you were just some Joe Shmoe, then yeah, I’d probably have had some reservations, but you run Uni Watch — can’t get any more accredited than that.

Source C: Personally, I felt a great conflict in sharing any information with anyone. I weighed a lot of factors and wrestled with the decision for days. My concern was mostly about who might be impacted by my actions and what negative effects there might be. The fear that people could lose their jobs, their livelihoods, or just face professional repercussions were weighed in my mind. Once I realistically weighed the risks of the circumstance, I felt much more at ease and decided to move forward.

Source D: The only conflict I had after the picture went viral was that I did not want my friend who sent me the picture to know how it quickly caught on fire. I didn’t want to break that trust, because he just sent me the picture to show it to me, not to expose anything. There was no malicious or even breaking news intention behind my posting of the photo. I honestly thought people probably would already have seen it.

Source E: I wasn’t conflicted. Yes, I signed an NDA, but I’ve worked with those before and know what they are intended to do. I wasn’t going to profit off this info and neither were you. [Actually, I think I could fairly be said to have profited off the info, since I got a scoop out of it. — PL] I wouldn’t have just shared that info with just anyone. I didn’t have any concerns, especially since I was in literally the last focus group (last group of sessions, last day of sessions, last session of the day) and a bit of info had already leaked out.

Source F: No reservations about the initial share. But I did have a bit of nervousness that the storm the info set off would somehow get back to me or my employer’s IP address and how that might affect my job status.


Question 4: When I looked at the information you provided and asked you various questions about it, did you feel that those questions were fair and reasonable?

Source B: Of course.

Source C: Absolutely. And I expected to be vetted and the information to be challenged. But at the end of the day, I knew what I was sitting on and felt secure in the process.

Source E: Totally.


Question 5: Once I went ahead and wrote something about the information you provided, did you think I was fair in the way I described the information? Did I keep any promises I may have made to you (involving your anonymity, or anything else)?

Source B: Always kept your promise, and I was surprised to see exact quotes sometimes used.

Source C: 100% yes, on all points here. All promises were kept and complete anonymity was provided. I had trusted that this would be the case — otherwise I wouldn’t have moved forward with the passing of information.

Source E: You were very fair and accurate. In fact, I think you double-checked on something I said and then got back to me to confirm.

Source F: Completely fair, as I recall. I wouldn’t expect anything less.


Question 6: Once I wrote something about the information you provided, did you feel excited? Relieved? Let down? Scared? Anything else?

Source A: Probably a little scared, to tell the truth. I don’t think it’s a secret that I read Uni Watch first thing in the morning when I am in the office, so I worried about potential blowback.

Source B: Always felt excited. Only had a small group of buds who I would share the articles with and mention that I was one of the sources. My wife got angry at me after the first instance, so I stopped telling her about it!

Source C: It was a mixed bag of emotions that were processed immediately after reading your article. Mostly excited, I would say. There was some fear in trying to see if my phone would blow up about the leak, or if anyone would trace it back to me or question me about it. It certainly was amusing to watch it take off and go viral as quickly as it did. It was difficult to not chime in on social media to the people who were skeptical of the information!

Source D: When the photo I tweeted went viral and you got in touch to ask me more about it (how I got it, etc.), I was extremely excited to know that you were going to write about it on Uni Watch. What followed, with your article and lots of other media coverage, was pretty exciting and fun.

Source E: Excited. It felt good to provide something useful.

Source F: I was certainly excited that it got out and became big news for those of us who get it.


Question 7: Do you feel any regrets about sharing this information with me?

Source A: I do not. I feel like it would be hypocritical of me to regret sharing information that I normally can hardly wait to get into the office to read on most mornings.

Source B: None. Wish I had more to share!

Source C: Only slightly. Just the aforementioned fear of being found out and jeopardizing relationships or even careers, to a lesser degree.

Source D: I feel no regrets at all. But when my son and I watched the official unveiling, it sort of took the excitement out of the event for me.

Source E: None.

Source F: None.


Question 8: Did anyone ever figure out that you were the source of the leak? If so, were there any consequences of that?

Source A: I don’t think anyone figured it out. If they did, I never received any consequences.

Source B: Nope.

Source C: I don’t believe so. If they did, nobody ever confronted me. It probably helped that the pandemic was just getting crazy, so the leak blew over really quickly and the team did its unveiling shortly thereafter.

Source D: Well, people like you found out! But I had no consequences from this.

Source E: No.

Source F: Not at all.


Question 9: If you were in a similar situation again, would you once again share privileged information with me?

Source A: 100 times out of 100.

Source B: Totally.

Source C: It would depend on the situation, but probably.

Source D: Yes without a doubt. We live in the age of spoilers — I’m the type of guy who likes to read the plot of movies on Wikipedia before I go to watch them.

Source E: Yes.

Source F: In a New York minute.


Question 10: Some people say that it’s not fair to leak uniform information to reporters, because it messes up the marketing plans that a team may have carefully constructed. What do you think of that?

Source A: They might be right in feeling that way, but to be honest a lot of this information gets out there anyway if people are looking in the right places. For me, I hate waiting until Christmas morning to open my gifts, and I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who feels that way.

Source B: I’ve yet to see a team/league/brand execute a launch without a leak of some sort. I think it adds excitement, especially if only parts are leaked. If the whole thing is leaked, then it sucks for the launch. But if people love it, then people buy it immediately.

Source C: There is likely some validity in that line of thinking. But the other side of that coin is that all of this is done for greed anyway, and none of it really matters much on the grand scheme of things. The truth, as with most things, likely lies somewhere in the middle. If a leak can be provided without the risk of major chaos and loss of livelihood, then is it really hurting anyone?

Source D: I agree, but then again we live in an era of massive communication and information. Sports teams need to adjust how they release and unveil logos and uniforms, because it’s hard to maintain secrecy.

Source F: If it’s such a big deal, marketing and design teams should keep a tighter lid on it. Maybe more leaks will force major sports leagues to be more nimble and flexible with their ridiculous lead times and uni-change rules. But I understand how much planning goes into an unveiling on the team side, so I certainly feel for those of us who work hard and have plans spoiled. We are just adhering to rules that the leagues set out, however. I’m sure a majority of folks on the team side would love to tweak and change things each season.

I’ll say this: I wish I still had my hands on some of the content I saw from working on the team side during that phase of my career. Stuff that would absolutely blow fans’ minds. I feel like it should be a gift to the uni-verse — not buried in some graphics/video department’s cloud. I’m still holding out hope some of it will surface at some point.


Question 11: I’ve often thought that leaked information is a lot like gossip. We all know what it’s like to have a fun secret and want to gossip about it with someone else. Would you agree that the experience of leaking uniform information to me was a lot like gossiping? And in general, would you say that you’re a gossipy person?

Source A: Ha-ha, yeah, that might be true. I think for the most part I am not much of a gossiper, especially when I am focused at work. To be honest, I stumbled upon the info innocently and felt like I sort of owed it to you, as I haven’t contributed much else as of yet. If I am reading the site and didn’t play this small part, I feel like I would be a sort of hypocrite.

Source B: I’m a bad secret keeper in general. I just enjoy sharing fun/new things with others.

Source C: I do not consider myself to be a gossipy person at all. In fact, I would likely say that I am the one who a lot of people confide in with all sorts of information. But I would agree that leaking a uniform is essentially gossiping. So in this particular instance, I would say that I stepped outside of my norms and participated in gossip — which honestly surprised me as much as anything. When I decided to tell some close relatives that I leaked the information, I was met with the same question from each: “Why?” My response to each of them was the same: “I don’t know.”

Source D: Generally speaking, I don’t like to gossip. But I honestly don’t think that leaking information is like gossip, especially when the information is accurate.

Source E: I’m not a gossipy person and I only consider something gossip if it’s slanted and/or untruthful. That said, I work with information — I’ve worked in journalism, marketing, PR, and corporate communications for 20-plus years — so I know how to use information correctly and discreetly.

Source F: I never thought of it like that. But I’m sure that’s why sites like Reddit web forums exist on some level. Sure, I like a good nugget of information and am happy to share in the right moment.


Question 12: Anything else to add? Anything you want me to know that I haven’t asked you?

Source B: When it comes to the vendors, some do a better job than others at keeping info quiet. Adidas handles it the best — they usually don’t show retailers images until the uniform launches. The last thing I saw from them in my old job was the launch product for FC Cincinnati — they showed me blank silhouettes in the final colors. Nike would show everything. They’d have PowerPoint presentations, videos, stories, marketing, the whole shebang. They tried to get cute with some of the NBA jersey launches by showing all of the jerseys in succession, but you saw them for maybe a quarter of a second before it went to the next team. Under Armour rarely ever launched product, so there were rarely leaks for them. I did leak CADs of USF’s first Under Armour kits back in 2008, however. I did that to stir up hype, as my company at the time handled the e-commerce business for their athletic dept.

Lastly, some of the games that teams and vendors play with “secret” product hurts their chances at retailers buying more. They may keep something super-amazing under lock and key, and a retailer will underbook it. Atlanta United, for example — Adidas kept their King Peach jersey secret, and the market was sold out immediately because retailers (besides Fanatics, who saw it, because they own the license) didn’t know how good it was.


Paul here. Fascinating info, no?

Two additional notes, just for clarification’s sake:

• If someone leaks something to me, I don’t just go ahead and publish it. For sources who I’m not previously acquainted with, I vet them to establish how they acquired the information they’re sharing with me and how solid the info is. If I’m satisfied that the source and the info are legit, I go ahead with a story; if I’m not satisfied (which has often been the case), or if the info is just unsubstantiated hearsay, I don’t publish.

• While I have often reported on solid info that was leaked to me, I have never leaked anything myself.

I want to thank each of these sources for participating in this article, and also for entrusting me with sensitive information.

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Odd place for Wahoo to resurface: On Wednesday morning, ESPN published a really well-reported piece about the logistical challenges that MLB is facing in its attempts to play ball this year (recommended reading!).

The article prominently mentioned Angels outfielder Mike Trout (because his wife is due to give birth to their first child this summer) and Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco (because he’s immuno-compromised and is therefore in a high-risk category for the coronavirus), so the article was accompanied by a Photoshopped image of those two players, along with an umpire wearing a mask, with a background of empty seats. That image was also the lead item on ESPN’s home page for a good chunk of yesterday.

It makes sense that they’d choose to depict Carrassco. But showing him wearing a cap with a controversial logo that was retired from on-field use in 2018 — that’s a head-scratcher.

Meanwhile, in a vaguely related item, reader Alexander Kinkopf notes that the scorebug for yesterday’s MLB Network rebroadcast of the 1997 ALCS used Cleveland’s script “I” logo:

I’m pretty sure that logo didn’t even exist in 1997 (it debuted as an alternate logo, not a primary, in 2002), but I guess the MLB folks are trying to avoid using Wahoo.

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rafflet ticket by ben thoma.jpg

ITEM! NYT raffle: My New York Times account comes with two bonus digital subscriptions. The Tugboat Captain uses one of them, and last November months ago I raffled off the access to the other one to reader Jake Yaerget. Jake’s six-month term as my subscription beneficiary is now ending, so I’m going to give the gift of journalism to someone else for six months.

Obviously, I can’t control who enters this raffle. But if possible, I’d like the digital access to go to someone who wants to read the Times but doesn’t have the financial resources to do so. Please take that into account when deciding whether you’ll enter.

This will be a one-day raffle. To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

Meanwhile, speaking of raffles, the four winners of yesterday’s membership raffle are Scott Chamberlain, Nick Lineback, John Horn, and Joanna Zwiep. Congrats to them, and big thanks to readers Logan Irons, Jeremiah Allyn and Ben Garner for sponsoring this one.

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• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: A senior civil rights official at the U.S. Department of Energy who also happens to be a Native American has received a discrimination settlement for retaliation after raising concerns about the ’Skins team name (from Timmy Donahue). … Slowly but surely: RHAM High School in Hebron, Conn., is the latest school to drop its Native American team name and will now be known as the Raptors. Although that article doesn’t mention it, the teams had previously been called the Sachems, a reference to Algonquin tribe chiefs (from Timmy Donahue).

Working Class Wannabes™: ESPN writer Marcel Louis-Jacuqes says that the U. of Iowa football team and the Buffalo Bills have a lot in common because “The Bills and Hawkeyes feature blue-collar coaches,” among other things. Footnote: Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has an annual salary of $4.5 million (from Kenneth Traisman). … In a related item, a shop in Buffalo is selling a Bills T-shirt that says, “Blue Collar Buffalo Football.” … West Virginia football commit Treylan Davis says of his high school team, “We’re a running offense, and I play tough and physical. We’re blue collar boys.” … Arkansas head football coach Sam Pittman says, “We’re going to come in here and recruit the right kind of players. We are a blue-collar team.” … New Hiram College football commit Johnnie Eckart is described by his high school coach like so: “He is an extremely intelligent player with a blue collar work ethic.” … UNC Charlotte assistant head coach Marcus West says defensive lineman Alex Highsmith will be a good fit for the Steelers, who selected Highsmith in the third round of the recent NFL draft, because “What I know about the Steelers from watching them from the outside, it’s a steel town, blue-collar mentality. I think that’s what you want when you want to draft somebody. You want to draft somebody that’s going to play Steeler football, blue-collar, steel-town defense.”

Baseball News: Classic pandemic filler: a ranking of the best MLB team nicknames (not official names) of all time, and a look at the origins of MLB team names (thanks, Brinke). … I appear as a talking head in this NBC Sports Chicago TV report about the White Sox’s 1976 shorts. … A Phillies/76ers mash-up uni? Sure, why not (from many readers). … The Indians’ social media staff hid the face of actor Nicholas Cage in 39 of their “starting lineup” graphics last season. You can scroll though the responses to that tweet to see many of them (from many readers).

NFL News: Former Bengals QB Boomer Esiason says the team needs to redesign its “horrific” uniforms. … New Bucs QB Tom Brady is instructing his new center, Ryan Jensen, on exactly how to fold his towel to avoid a sweaty butt (from Kary Klismet).

Basketball News: Here’s a graphic showing all the jerseys Michael Jordan wore in competition (including some non-basketball jerseys), from his JV basketball team in 1978 through the Wizards in 2003 (nice job by Conrad Burry). … Did you know that the Jacksonville men’s hoops team used to have a logo featuring a basketball-playing dolphin wearing a uniform — including sneakers? I didn’t, until Erik Morris told me! … Great shot of then-Nuggets stars David Thompson, Dan Issel, and Alex English in Superman costumes (from Kary Klismet). … Cross-listed from the baseball section: A 76ers/Phillies mash-up uni? Sure, why not (from many readers). … Reebok’s Kobe Bryant sneakers, which were supposed to launch at the NBA’s All-Star weekend but were cancelled due to Bryant’s death, have surfaced (from @brianspeaksnow).

Soccer News: The NWSL’s Portland Thorns have revealed their new primary and secondary kits. … Earlier this week we reported that Korean side FC Seoul had put sex dolls in the stands in lieu of fans. Now the team has been hit with a big fine for that stunt. … Manchester City’s third kit has leaked. … And so has the new Club America away kit. … New home and away kits for Scottish side Aberdeen. “That link also mentions a new Scottish number/NOB font for next season,” says our own Jamie Rathjen.

Grab Bag: The rock band Kiss had to change its logo in Germany due to Nazi comparisons. … Here’s a weird one: The logo used by Apollo High School in Kentucky appears to be a straight-up poach of the Anheuser Busch logo. And yes, they’ve apparently used it on their uniforms (from Jeff Curley). … Chicago Tribune sports columnist Paul Sullivan showed his collection of random sports mementos he’s amassed during his years on the beat (from Mike Chamernik). … Horry George Technical College, a two-year school in South Carolina, has a new mascot: Chomp the Gator (from Timmy Donahue). … Also from Timmy: New logo/mascot for Crown College in Minnesota. … No, I don’t think advertising culture has gotten out of hand, not at all (from several readers). … During a White House press conference yesterday, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah wore a mask with an upside-down presidential seal (from jayappletree). … New logo for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum.

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Click to enlarge

What Paul did last night: Pre-pandemic, we almost never watched TV (well, aside from sports and Turner Classic). But in mid-March the Hulu gods gave me a free one-month subscription for my birthday, and then I forgot to cancel it after the free month was up so we got another month. During that time we’ve watched a lot of Hulu-vision, including Better Things (loved it — we watched all four seasons), High Fidelity (some good moments but also a lot of bullshit — we bailed after three or four episodes), Normal People (flawed but never less than interesting, so we ended up watching all 12 episodes), Mrs. America (hated it — obvious, formulaic, predictable, all the worst things about television), and, because I’m a Lindy West fan, Shrill (started out promisingly but got completely ridiculous early in the second season, so we bailed).

Anyway, I was about to be billed for another month of Hulu, but I cancelled my account yesterday because it didn’t seem worth it. So yesterday on the porch we talked about the various shows we’d been watching, the annoying conventions of television storytelling, and whether we can get a friend to give us their Netflix password now that we don’t have Hulu anymore. (Answer: Yes, as it turns out, we can.) Later, after dinner, we just worked and read — no TV. And that was fine.

The branch is still there.

As always, you can see the full set of Pandemic Porch Cocktails™ photos here.

73 comments to Anonymous Sources Tell Why They Leaked Uniform Info

  • Ron Ruelle | May 21, 2020 at 8:25 am |

    Source F is purple. Excellent.

  • Scott302 | May 21, 2020 at 8:45 am |

    Interestingly, in that Iowa-Bills article, the author is the only one who used the term blue collar. The comparisons between the teams were about underrated/over-looked players. An underdog, chip on the shoulder type thing. There was no mention from those interviewed of blue collar (not published anyway).

  • JF | May 21, 2020 at 8:53 am |

    I find it fascinating that there may be colorblind Uniwatchers.

    • Chris Weber | May 21, 2020 at 9:25 am |

      Agreed. A possible future story. -C.

      • Mike Engle | May 21, 2020 at 10:52 am |

        To be fair, once upon a time, all film and television was black and white! So if you were a producer, you had to pick colors that would work in B&W, and if you were a consumer, you hopefully benefited from good production! Plus, that’s how and why American sports settled on white-versus-color as a paradigm, instead of just “clash kits.”
        I don’t doubt that there’s a decent story in there. Meanwhile, I’ll make a hypothesis that colorblind Uni Watchers are some of the most important Uni Watchers. If the colorblind Uni Watchers have a problem, then somebody else didn’t do a good job and needs to “get back to basics.”
        Notwithstanding all of the above, you don’t have to see a full-color picture to enjoy how Roger Maris wore his uniform, or to enjoy the variation in dashes at the basketball key, just to name a couple of examples.

        • RS Rogers | May 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm |

          Also, while a decent minority of people, especially men, have physiological differences with how their retinas process light frequencies (colorblindness), every individual’s brain interprets the retina’s signals differently. There is a delta between how the average colorblind person perceives, say, a Minnesota Wild home uniform and how the average non-colorblind person perceives it. But there is also a delta between how any two colorblind or non-colorblind individuals perceive the same uniform. And to Paul’s well-known anti-purplism, purple and brown are two colors that tend to have the greatest difference in how individuals perceive them.

          Anyway, point is that it’s not the case that most people see “true” colors in perfect agreement and a few poor souls with colorblindness see the wrong thing. None of us actually sees with perfect clarity and precision; our perception depends on faulty nerves and faulty signal processing that’s influenced by experience, language, habit, fatigue, blood chemistry, and a dozen other odd factors that add up to every human’s visual perception being unique. I see the colors I see, you see the colors you see, and no matter how much similarity between us, the Venn diagram of our perceptions of any color will never completely overlap.

    • walter | May 21, 2020 at 8:32 pm |

      It was a fairly important aspect of the Jets-Bills color rash game from a few years back. Some people with red/green confusion couldn’t tell the sides apart, especially ones without HDTV.

  • Dave | May 21, 2020 at 8:53 am |

    That “shop in Buffalo” is 26 Shirts and happens to be a great charity. Pretty rude to include that in the “working class wannabe” thing.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 8:56 am |

      If you say it’s a great charity, OK — so a great charity invoked a lazy, clichéd class-based stereotype. That’s not “rude”; it’s just, you know, the reality of the situation.

    • Scott302 | May 21, 2020 at 9:19 am |

      According to their site, 26 shirts donates $8 of each shirt’s sale to a charity or person in need. This particular shirt’s sale will support a young man battling cancer. Seems great, but Paul’s right, nothing rude about recognizing the ridiculousness of the statement, as well as the ripping off of Jack Daniels which is not made in Buffalo. Maybe it’s a blue collar whiskey…

    • LT of DC | May 21, 2020 at 11:18 am |

      The question about “Charities” whether local or national is this. How much goes to the actual charity and how much goes in the pocket of the “managers” of the charitable operation?

      So a third of profits go to the actual “charity”, a percentage goes to production costs, and the rest goes to the management.

      If you have raised $700+ grand for charities – that means two thirds of the actual profits go into someone else’s pocket used to pay for production costs and mgt. Amazingly, these margins are almost identical to the operations of for profit companies. They just use the cash given to charities for marketing and promotion budgets. So financial transparency matters when you work with charitable orgs. The United Way is a great example of how the “giving” can go horribly wrong.

      It is better explained here:

      https://www.charitywatch.org/charity-donating-articles/don39t-be-misled-by-deceptive-charity-efficiency-claims

      Of course this has nothing to do with Pauls comments that some of the artwork is culturally insensitive, which I agree with.

      It is jarring to see not only cultural appropriation, but corporate branding elements blatantly used. Not as parody or satire, but as a “new ” design. The big sporting orgs are ruthless in their monitoring of intellectual property, but nothing like corporate ‘murrica, i.e. the the W. Disney company. They will protect their IP, no matter how small, charitable or any other kind of excuse you can conjure.

  • Chris | May 21, 2020 at 9:13 am |

    Team nicknames that author forgot “Bronx Bombers” for the Yanks.

    • Ornery Ori-troll (O'stensibly) | May 21, 2020 at 10:21 am |

      Copied and pasted from 3rd paragraph of article:

      We’re not talking here about names like “The Bronx Bombers” (Yankees) or “The Snakes” (D-backs) or “The North Siders” (Cubs) that transcend eras and often stand in as a replacement for the team’s actual nickname. We’re talking about names from a more specific point in time, making special seasons all the more storied.

      • walter | May 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm |

        But therein lies another subject for another day: Listing the major leagues’ “nicknames” for their real names. I’d find such an article enlightening. I have no idea what the nicknames for the Royals or the Rangers are.

        • walter | May 21, 2020 at 8:54 pm |

          Well, butter my biscuits! Wikipedia has a page on the very subject. But I didn’t see “Skates” for Tampa Bay or “Texans” for the Rangers, so I should probably make up a few more of my own.

  • Valjean | May 21, 2020 at 9:20 am |

    Hulu has possibly the single most underappreciated show of the century: Justified.

    The hero gets it.
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/72/89/89/728989e0e75ac0060dd55b928bde9c41.jpg

    The villain, generally speaking, does not.
    https://static1.srcdn.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Walton-Goggins-as-Boyd-Crowd-in-Justified-1.jpg?q=50&fit=crop&w=740&h=370

    • Brooklyn Pete | May 21, 2020 at 10:27 am |

      The final scene of the final episode brought tears to my eyes.

    • RS Rogers | May 21, 2020 at 12:45 pm |

      100% agreed on recommending Justified. An extremely well-written show that in its best mid-seasons took on some of the deepest pathologies of modern American life that very little popular fiction even acknowledges. I’m also getting quite sucked into Lodge 49 on Hulu. I saw the pilot on a flight in January, and that basically tipped the balance in our debate over whether to cut the cord and switch from cable to streaming.

  • Jamie Rathjen | May 21, 2020 at 9:29 am |

    Men in Blazers called the Thorns’ black shirt and the Red Stars’ white shirt from last month two of the greatest designs in American soccer history, and I agree (but I’d agree more if Nike didn’t just use the rose motif for England last year). NWSL teams can sometimes look bland, especially when they use templates, but that works both ways because I can’t think of any design in any season I would say was bad.

  • Graham | May 21, 2020 at 9:35 am |

    Paul,

    In your additional notes section after the interviews you say “I vet him to establish how he acquired the information he’s sharing with me and how solid the info is.” I notice you are generally gender pronoun free on the site when addressing issues that could pertain to male, female, or any other pronoun that a person chooses to go by (i.e. per person). In this particular case did you use him/he because all of the sources were male?

    Not trying to start a political debate. Just curious about your writing process.

    Thanks!

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 9:42 am |

      Someone else just emailed me about that!

      Believe it or not, I actually wrestled quite a bit with how I worded that sentence, but it was late last night, I was tired, and I eventually said, “Ah, fuck it” and went with he. But that was wrong of me, and I’m actually kinda pleased that people have picked up on it — such a smart, observant readership!

      When I report on a leak, I’m always careful to avoid indicating my source’s gender — part of the anonymity thing.

      I’ll reword that sentence now.

      • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 9:45 am |

        Text now adjusted. An easy fix! I must have bene really tired last night.

        • Graham | May 21, 2020 at 10:18 am |

          No worries. If this was a few years ago I don’t think I would have even noticed, but now that I have a biologically female child with a typically male name I have become hyperaware of the language that I use. People are generally good about asking what its (the baby’s) name is, but as soon as I say the name they immediately use male pronouns and I have to correct them.
          It is like the FedEx arrow, I can’t “unsee” pronoun use.

  • MJ | May 21, 2020 at 9:37 am |

    Another great piece. I love the glimpse behind the curtain that most of us aren’t afforded.

  • BC | May 21, 2020 at 9:45 am |

    Reading this piece immediately made me think back to this scene from The West Wing:

    https://youtu.be/quZexc7dpvU

    It might provide a few minutes of entertainment if anyone is interested.

    Thanks for all you’re doing, Uni Watch crew!

    • John C. | May 21, 2020 at 11:48 am |

      The West Wing was such a good show. (thanks for sharing that clip)

  • Eric | May 21, 2020 at 9:50 am |

    I really like that Jordan jersey graphic but a key explaining the obscure ones (in particular) would’ve been helpful.

    • Nestor Chylak | May 21, 2020 at 10:57 am |

      I’m wondering about the plain blue one – no number, letters or graphics at all – but some stripey design on the shoulders. It’s in the middle row.

    • Michael Emody | May 21, 2020 at 3:29 pm |

      I agree. I was wondering why the Barons uni’s in black and silver are followed by the blue and red White Sox late 80’s uni. Did the Barons go to black and silver before the parent team? There’s probably an explanation page that we just don’t have a link to.

      • Nestor Chylak | May 21, 2020 at 7:17 pm |

        No, the White Sox went to black and silver in 1991. Those blue and red jerseys appear to be batting practice pullovers from the late 80s…maybe they were hand-me-downs used in competition by the 1994 Barons?

  • William in KY | May 21, 2020 at 9:56 am |

    I’m glad to see my alma mater recognized for its beer logo! Apollo High School gladly has that on uniforms, painted on walls, printed on shirts. Really not sure who approved that one—but it’s just been like that for a long time. Haha. Younger me made a lot of jokes about that.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 10:00 am |

      It’s so odd, because the school is named after the Apollo space program, right? If so, why wouldn’t they have a space-based logo?

      • William in KY | May 21, 2020 at 11:27 am |

        Right—named after the space program. A missed opportunity, to be sure. The school motto is great though: “In Pace Venimus” (We come in peace).

      • LT of DC | May 21, 2020 at 11:42 am |

        My Junior High School in SoCali was named Apollo Jr. High. Our mascot was…
        the Astros, and yes, I did the logo and am too ashamed to post it. My first lettering project was painting the school name in the quad in 10 foot letters.

      • Reid | May 21, 2020 at 4:28 pm |

        First of all, daily Uni Watch reader and Apollo alumni so it’s weird to see my worlds collide. It’s my understanding that Apollo actually has permission to use the logo and has since the 70’s/80’s? I had a 1980’s Nike track uniform with the logo right in the middle that one of my friends from college was quick to take off my hands. I’ll check with some of my friends that work there on the story behind the agreement. I’ve heard it before, but it’s been a while.

  • Jim Vilk | May 21, 2020 at 10:07 am |

    I’ve never been much of a consumer of leaked info. If I see leaks here or elsewhere I gloss over them until the official unveiling.

    But I understand the rush that comes with those who choose to leak something. And in some cases I might even do the same thing. In other cases I’d tell myself that people can just wait. Thanks to those who shared their stories.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 10:13 am |

      I’ve never been much of a consumer of leaked info. If I see leaks here or elsewhere I gloss over them until the official unveiling.

      Jim, can you explain why? Like, is it because you’re morally/ethically opposed to leaks? Or is it that you don’t like to know what your Christmas present is until Christmas actually arrives, so to speak?

      Also: Does this policy of yours apply to non-uni leaks (Edward Snowden, e.g.)? Not playing gotcha — genuinely interested in your thoughts.

      • Jim Vilk | May 21, 2020 at 10:44 am |

        I’m only opposed to leaks if they endanger someone’s job. Otherwise I’m mostly ambivalent.

        As far as Christmas presents (and Easter baskets), yeah, I prefer waiting. And I have a lifetime practice of eating the cereal part of my Lucky Charms or Count Chocula before I eat the marshmallows. Delayed gratification makes them taste even better.

        From a journalism standpoint, I hated having to write speculative articles. Seemed like a waste of my time because the info could be absolutely meaningless in a matter of days. I’m more of a “Just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy. So when people start commenting and getting riled up on here about a uniform that may never see the light of day I don’t weigh in as to whether or not I’d wear that.

        Part of it could be that I came from a family of talkers who talk even where isn’t anything new to say. Add that to a society rife with information overload and I’ve become someone who tunes out more and more frequently.

        • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 10:48 am |

          From a journalism standpoint, I hated having to write speculative articles. Seemed like a waste of my time because the info could be absolutely meaningless in a matter of days. I’m more of a “Just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy. So when people start commenting and getting riled up on here about a uniform that may never see the light of day I don’t weigh in as to whether or not I’d wear that.

          Completely agree with this part. That’s why I usually (but not always) avoid writing about or even Tickering unverified leaks.

        • Jim Vilk | May 21, 2020 at 10:49 am |

          Non- uni leaks:
          If the information is time-sensitive and betters socety in some way, I’m fine with it. If it’s getting something out there just to be the first, then I could’ve waited.

        • Jim Vilk | May 21, 2020 at 10:53 am |

          Just to be clear, I respect the way you go about covering them. I’ll still read your articles because I know you do a great job of vetting your info.
          Other places, if they mention a leak I’m probably going to altogether ignore it.

        • Mike Engle | May 21, 2020 at 11:10 am |

          I’ll cosign all that. And let me say, I greatly appreciate your discretion, Paul. It’s not a waste of time to get the news early. It IS a waste of time to read about red herrings. There have been times when you’ve written something like, “This leak has been going around the internet. I saw this awhile ago and agreed to confidentiality, but since it’s been leaked, I’ll confirm that it’s real.” To me, that’s the hallmark of doing a good job.

    • Will S | May 21, 2020 at 12:10 pm |

      I’d put those “teaser” images/videos that teams sometimes put out in a category way below any kind of leaks in palatability.

      Give me the whole uniform (or at the very least the whole jersey or item) or don’t bother. I’ll quickly move on to some other topic to occupy my time.

  • Greg | May 21, 2020 at 10:28 am |

    Interesting responses from all the sources. I think the “morality” of the leaks part has some funny insight. I doesn’t seem that any of these sources were leaking “unfinished” work. In that sense I could really see some morality involved in this, An unwanted leak of a design goes against a degree of artistic expression, it isn’t finished so the designer/ artist isn’t ready for anyone to see it, unless they are expressly showing it to someone for feedback.
    But finished works, especially since these are very much consumer products now, the sources are simply letting the cat out of the bag before the marketing department has time to put their spin on it. Which I would say for uniforms is actually better, you don’t have to hear the “storytelling” sales pitch for why a specific element is included.
    Sources are cutting out the nonsense and doing what the teams should be doing anyway, just showing the uniform / logo and leaving it at that. As far as I am concerned the only time there should be additional words besides “here are our new uniforms” is if the team is actually soliciting fan feedback, like when the Rams asked about the helmet design a few years back.

  • jacket18 | May 21, 2020 at 10:31 am |

    Debugging:

    Coding error in the ticker. After the “origins of MLB team names” link, the closing tag is “” instead of “” which is creating an issue.

    • jacket18 | May 21, 2020 at 10:33 am |

      And of course, using the tag screwed up my comment! It’s a[slash] instead of [slash]a on on the conclusion of the link tag.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 10:35 am |

      Fixed.

  • Tom | May 21, 2020 at 11:08 am |

    Farrah was not wearing a mask with the seal upside down. Judging by the other mask shapes and, specifically, the hint of a seal on the mask next to her, she was wearing her mask upside down. I can only assume that’s because someone directed her to do so to showcase the special masks For the cameras. The only other explanation would be she needed training on how to wear the mask.

  • John C. | May 21, 2020 at 11:39 am |

    I really enjoyed today’s story about the leakers. Fascinating!

    • Chris Mattox | May 21, 2020 at 11:49 am |

      I agree! I’ve often wondered about who the sources were or what went through their mind when sharing info. Thanks again Paul!

  • Jason Franklin | May 21, 2020 at 12:01 pm |

    My 11 year-old son is the blonde kid eating fries at the fast food place in Shrill S2E1. It gets silly that season, but I think it pays off.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm |

      That’s hilarious. Does he have an acting career, or was he just a random extra for that scene, or what?

  • mike 2 | May 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm |

    Great story today.

    Do you ever run into circumstances where someone tries to “use” you to get a leak out. Someone from a manufacturer or league pretending to be a source trying to use you to leak a design, to gauge reaction or build buzz or for whatever reason?

    You mention that you vet the sources of leaks – did vetting every lead back to this sort of situation?

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 12:15 pm |

      To my knowledge, that has never happened. Of course, it’s possible that I’ve been duped — but again, not to my knowledge.

  • jack harlington | May 21, 2020 at 12:24 pm |

    So it is bad and evil to share journalism that is behind a paywall, but it is ok to get Netflix free with someone else’s password. Got it.

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 12:26 pm |

      It is just too funny that Jack tried this lame attempt at trolling on the very day that I am literally sharing paywalled journalism by raffling off access to my NYTimes account.

      Troll harder, Jack.

      • wittnesss | May 21, 2020 at 4:36 pm |

        I’m confused. NYTimes gives away “bonus subscriptions”, and Netflix facilitates multiple users with “profiles” and account types that allow different numbers of concurrent streams… Color me trolled!!?!

  • DAF | May 21, 2020 at 12:58 pm |

    I first saw the Indians’ script I on a fashion cap in 2000. I thought it was weird since the team didn’t wear that logo.

    That doesn’t explain using it for a 1997 replay, of course.

    • Block "O Canada" | May 21, 2020 at 5:27 pm |

      The cursive “Indians” display has adorned the top of the scoreboard since Jacobs Field opened in 1994. That “Indians” script was on apparel within a couple years. I thought the script “I” was introduced on-field on a cap during some spring training, but I could be wrong.

      • DAF | May 21, 2020 at 6:36 pm |

        Yep – I meant that was the first time I saw the script I on its own, without the rest of the wordmark. Sorry if that was unclear.

  • Ben Miller | May 21, 2020 at 1:43 pm |

    I really enjoys the leaker interviews, Paul. Kudos!

    I have to think the Rams are especially upset at the leaks this offseason, especially the Draft hat. It also sounds like they’re upset at the NFL or New Era for adding a superfluous arc to the ‘LA’ logo, causing it to look more like a Chargers lightning bolt.

    What I’m truly curious about is, how much self-awareness do the marketing folks have in all of this? Do the Rams realize that public reception would’ve been bigly improved by releasing the uniforms with the logo? Or do they “two bites at the Apple” ideologues, believing that their staggered releases were a genius plan, ruined by leaks?

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 1:59 pm |

      You’d have to ask them. But marketing folks tend to be, almost by definition, big drinkers of their own Kool-Aid (and I say that as a former marketing columnist for Fortune magazine, not just as a uniform writer).

      So much marketing involves coming up with a sales pitch for a product that never needed to exist in the first place. The pitch needs to sound convincing, and the first person the marketer needs to convince is him/herself. I’ve never understood the mental gymnastics that must be necessary for a person to do that.

    • wittnesss | May 21, 2020 at 4:41 pm |

      Did I read (maybe here) that the Rams were particularly upset about the draft hat, because they explicitly told whomever (NFL, New Era) that they did not approve of it.

      I can empathize with a team and/or marketers if the first leak is a bad bastardization of their intent (independent of if their intent is itself good or bad).

  • Nestor Chylak | May 21, 2020 at 1:48 pm |

    Anytime the White Sox’ 1976 shorts uniforms are referenced, I’m aware that there are White Sox – and baseball – fans who are too young to remember the second Bill Veeck era, who are under the impression the Sox wore them for an entire season.

    It’s enforced by titles such as “Why Did the 1976 White Sox Wear Shorts?” You almost always have to read the last paragraph to learn it was three games.

  • ChrisH | May 21, 2020 at 2:22 pm |

    Maybe my memory is a bit fuzzy since it was 20-some odd years ago, but I can’t recall the ’93 Phillies ever being referred to as the “Broad Street Bellies”.
    “Macho Row” – yes.

    “The Swingin’ A’s” nickname was incorporated into the team’s official logo before the early 1970’s World Series wins, right?

    • Nestor Chylak | May 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm |

      Yeah, I associate that nickname with the vest-era teams and the logo with the white shoes on it.

  • ImmaculateMutant | May 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm |

    Pirate fan here. As far as nicknames go, “FAMILY” is lame. They had a much better one around the same time: LUMBER & LIGHTNING! With Stargell, Parker & Oliver & Taveras, Garner & Moreno it made sense.

  • Luke | May 21, 2020 at 4:02 pm |

    Fascinating article!
    Looked through the pictorial history of Jordan’s jerseys and noticed they left out his #12 jersey that he wore for one game against the Magic. How?!

  • Brad H | May 21, 2020 at 4:09 pm |

    Here is a 1998 card of Brian Giles with the same patch https://img.beckett.com/images/items_stock/185223/4248424/4248478/front.jpg

  • Joanna Zwiep | May 21, 2020 at 4:29 pm |

    Big thanks to Logan Irons, Jeremiah Allyn and Ben Garner for sponsoring the membership card raffle! I’m a long time reader, and I’m excited to finally make things “official.”

  • Bernie | May 21, 2020 at 4:32 pm |

    Great post. Am I right that you’ve said in the past that if a team gave you an embargoed preview of a new uniform, you wouldn’t publish a leak (unless the leak was published elsewhere)?

    • Paul Lukas | May 21, 2020 at 5:52 pm |

      If I see something on embargo, I will not publish it and also will not confirm a published leak of it from another media outlet. If I agree to an embargo, that means my lips are sealed until the unveiling, period.

  • Scott | May 21, 2020 at 6:21 pm |

    Nicolas Cage. Sort of a funky spelling, and apparently his first name is his birth name.