The Connection Between Uniforms and the Anthem

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I reeeaaaally didn’t want to write about the national anthem again today. But this time I’m going to connect it to uniforms — hang in there while I explain.

So: As you’re probably aware by now, yesterday — one day after the news broke that the Mavericks hadn’t been playing the anthem prior to home games this season, which nobody had even noticed until a writer for The Athletic asked about it earlier this week — the NBA responded by mandating that all teams play the anthem. Mavs owner Mark Cuban confirmed that the team would comply. (The anthem was indeed played prior to last night’s Hawks/Mavs game in Dallas, as seen in the photo above.)

I’m not interested in rehashing whether the playing of the anthem is a good thing or a bad thing — we already did that yesterday.

But I’ve been giving some more thought to something from yesterday’s post. As you may recall, I mentioned that one reason I’m in favor of scrapping the anthem at sporting events is that, as I wrote yesterday, “the anthem isn’t played before movies, plays, concerts, or other entertainment events, so why do it for sports?”

That got me thinking: Why is the anthem a sports thing but not a movie/play/concert thing? Why did it catch on in sports but not at other entertainment events? I’m aware, of course, of the history of how the anthem started being played at sporting events, but why didn’t anything similar happen at other entertainment venues? Music and musical theater events already had bands on hand, so it would have been simple enough for them to play the anthem, even before the advent of recorded versions and high-volume amplification.

The answer, I think, has a lot to do with uniforms.

Let me explain: If you’ve ever heard me in a radio or podcast interview, I’m often asked about why people care so much about uniforms, and I usually give an answer that goes something like this (if you’ve already heard me say this, my apologies for the redundancy, but stay with me here — I’ll tie it all together at the end, promise!):

Rooting for a team is essentially a very intense form of brand loyalty, and there’s nothing else like it on the consumer landscape. Let me give you an example: Let’s say I really love Cheerios, the breakfast cereal (which, in fact, I do). Over the years I’ve developed a certain emotional connection to the yellow box, the black type, and so on. When I see that box on the shelf in the supermarket, a little button inside my brain gets pushed, like I’m seeing an old friend, a familiar face. This is what’s become known as brand loyalty.

But here’s the thing: My loyalty is really based on the fact that I like how the product tastes. If they changed the formula — if it didn’t taste as good, or if it wasn’t as crunchy, or whatever — I’d stop buying it. The yellow box and the little button in my brain can accomplish only so much. This is essentially the lesson that the Coca-Cola people learned with the New Coke debacle. In short, what we usually refer to as brand loyalty is actually product loyalty.

But in sports, the product — by which I mean the roster of players — is changing all the time. Players get traded, they retire, they become free agents, and so on. As a result, the quality of the product is changing as well — your favorite team can be really good one year and really bad the next, which is sort of like your Cheerios tasting really good one week and really bad the next.

But despite those changes, most of us remain loyal to those team colors, that logo, and that uniform, no matter who’s wearing it. To give a simple example, let’s say I’m a Mets fan (which, in fact, I am), and let’s further say that I hate the Yankees (which, in fact, I do). Now let’s additionally say that the entire Mets roster is traded straight-up for the entire Yankees roster — 25 guys for 25 guys. If that trade happens today, who do I root for tomorrow? For me, the answer is obvious: I root for the 25 guys who are now wearing Mets uniforms, even if I hated them yesterday.

That makes no sense. It’s irrational, illogical, absurd, based purely on arbitrary emotion instead of reason. That, my friends, is the power of a uniform. It’s so powerful that it’s essentially a package that’s more important than the product. And at its most basic level, that power — that devotion to the Cheerios box, even though the cereal inside is constantly being reformulated — is why we convene here at Uni Watch every day.

So that’s my spiel — basically a more verbose version of Jerry Seinfeld’s famous line that we’re all “rooting for laundry.” And like I said, there’s nothing else like it on the consumer landscape. But I can think of two comparable examples of blind devotion on the non-consumer landscape, however. One is religion, a topic I don’t want to get into here (and that I’m not qualified to discuss anyway). The other — and this is where the anthem comes in — is patriotism.

It was the Union Army general Carl Schurz (shown at right) who famously said, “My country, right or wrong.” That phrase has been invoked, interpreted, and weaponized in countless different ways and contexts over the decades, but it captures a certain kind of unwavering, love-it-or-leave-it devotion — a certain diehard team loyalty or even brand loyalty, if you will — that seems very similar to sports rooting. Obviously, the stakes are higher in patriotism than in sports (patriotism can lead to war, inspire tremendous sacrifice, and so on), but the sense of emotional identity and intense fidelity, no matter what, strikes me as coming from a similar place.

I think that may be part of the reason why the anthem caught on at sporting events but not at other entertainment gatherings. The idea of “rooting for the home team” can apply just as easily to your country as to your favorite ballclub. It’s a similar mindset, or so it seems to me.

And there’s more. Uniforms are programmatic classification systems — they create systemic order out of a chaotic world. I think that’s at least part of why uniforms appeal to those of us who Get It™ — we find something satisfying and maybe even comforting about the rules and protocols that apply to uniforms. You know what else has rules and protocols? The national anthem: You’re supposed to stand, you remove your cap, and so on. And for better or worse, the anthem is strongly associated with the military, which is full of rules and protocols — and whose personnel wear uniforms (which in turn have their own rules and protocols).

So I think all of that is at least part of why the anthem caught on in sports but not at movies, plays, concerts, or other entertainment gatherings. That’s not to say it should be played at sporting events — I’m still in favor of scrapping it, for reasons I explained yesterday — but I can understand why the tradition evolved the way it did, and why some people see it as a natural fit.

Finally, here’s something I wasn’t aware of: In a 1988 episode of the old sitcom Mr. Belvedere, the character played by Bob Uecker suggests that teams should stop playing the anthem due to widespread apathy. Naturally, controversy ensues:

(My thanks to Trevor Williams for the Mr. Belvedere clip.)

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ITEM! New podcast episode: The second episode of Unified, my new podcast collaboration with SportsLogos.net founder Chris Creamer, is now available. This episode begins with a quick Super Bowl recap and then segues into a discussion of the Browns’ new 75th-anniversary logo, which evolves into a deeeeep discussion of the surprisingly nuanced world of anniversary patches. You can listen to it wherever you get your podcasts, or use the player below:

The show notes, which include photos of most of the patches and other things we discussed, are available here.

You can also check out the video version of the episode here:

This was our first episode working with our new producer/editor, Chris Frateriggo. We still face a bit of a learning curve in terms of smoothing out certain details, but we’re getting there.

One thing: The little animation at the beginning of the video is by Michael Princip. When I read the closing credits at the end of the episode, I didn’t realize we were going to use that animation, so I didn’t credit Michael properly. Sorry about that, Michael — we’ll definitely credit you properly next time.

Thanks to everyone for your support and enthusiasm — hope you’ll keep listening.

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One shoe off, one shoe on: Funny sequence on Tuesday night in Portland, as Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood had one of his shoes come off, so he tossed it aside and played some defense in a socked foot before retrieving the shoe at the next play stoppage.

We’ve seen things like this happen before, but for some reason I never get tired of it — fun stuff!

(My thanks to Mike Chamernik for this one.)

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Too good interesting for the Ticker: As we all know, I have some issues with the intersection of uniforms and advertising, but I’m nonetheless intrigued by this IGA ad on the boards in Montreal. Look how the logo, which is usually solid red, has been given a Canadiens-style makeover! That’s pretty clever.

(Big thanks to Cino Commisso for this one.)

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The Ticker
By Paul

’Skins Watch: North High School in Wichita, Kan., will no longer call its teams the Redskins but is keeping its Native-themed imagery (thanks, Phil). … … Students at Plymouth-Canton High School in Michigan want to change the school’s “Chiefs” team name and related imagery (from Craig Barker). … Rutland High School in Vermont, which dropped “Raiders” as its team name and its associated Native American imagery last year, has chosen “Ravens” as its new name (thanks to all who shared). … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: A move by Barnstable High School in Massachusetts to drop its “Red Raiders” team name, after having previously retired the Native American imagery associated with it, has been held up by one school board member who claims the name originally honored the city’s first fallen serviceman from World War II. … State legislators in Washington and Massachusetts have introduced bills that would prohibit public schools from using Native American-themed team names and imagery. … The Olentangy School District in Ohio has unveiled new athletic logos for all five of its middle schools. The new marks remove the Native American imagery associated with the old logos but retain the team names. … The school board in Putnam County, Tenn., has rejected a petition from community members to drop “Redskins” as the team name for a local middle school. … A committee of the Utah House of Representatives passed a resolution acknowledging the harm caused by public schools using Native American mascots and calling on the issue to be considered by the full legislative chamber. … The school board in Atchison, Kan., has decided to revisit the issue of schools in the district using Native American-themed team names and imagery after having previously rejected making a change in 2018.

Baseball News: Monday’s Ticker mentioned that this year’s MLB spring training caps were essentially the same as last year’s — except for the Padres’ cap which was updated to avoid the accidental-swastika effect. But John Sabol points out that Cleveland’s caps have also changed, so that the stupid “Indians” lettering inside the block-“C” has been replaced by stupid “Cleveland” lettering. … New uniforms — including real stirrups! — for Texas A&M (from Kary Klismet). … New uniforms — with weird, shiny chest lettering, an even weirder-looking buttonless placket, and what appears to be baseball’s first sweatback — for Oklahoma (thanks to all who shared). … New softball uniforms for Louisville (from Adam Williams). … After using the same glove for 13 seasons, Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw is finally retiring it now that he’s won a championship (from Jakob Fox).

NFL News: The Washington Football Team has chosen a branding agency that will work to create the team’s new identity. It’s not clear what the timeline will be (from Dan Gitlitz). … In one of the riskier passes of his career, Bucs QB Tom Brady threw the Lombardi Trophy from one boat to another, across open water, during a victory parade yesterday (from Mike Chamernik). … Some pretty cool old photos — including one of Tony Dungy with hair! — in this remembrance of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer (from Squish58).

Hockey News: Former NHLer and current broadcaster Mark Parrish says it was an honor to pay Mikko Koivu to give up No. 21 when they both played for the Wild — and then Koivu “admitted that he wanted No. 9 anyway” (from John Muir). … Interesting article about how they’re constructing the rink for the upcoming outdoor games at Lake Tahoe (from Wade Heidt). … For a 1971 game, the North Stars had two backup goalies — Gilles Gilbert and Cesare Maniago — both listed as No. 30. I’m assuming only one of them was active and the other was a healthy scratch (from @tierknala). … Penguins director of operations and longtime NHL exec Brian Burke apparently has a “complicated relationship with neckties” (from Chris Weber). … New mask for Seattle Thunderbirds G Thomas Milic (from Wade Heidt. … Also from Wade: A new street in Brandon, Manitoba, home of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, will be called Ferraro Drive, after former Wheat Kings player and eventual NHLer Ray Ferraro. The street sign features a Wheat Kings logo.

Basketball News: Heat PF/C Kelly Olynyk, who is from Canada and also plays on the Canadian national team, has been wearing Canada Basketball sneakers (from Moe Khan). … Milton High School in West Virginia is apparently going with the untucked Marquette look.

Soccer News: “I mentioned in Monday’s Ticker that the Netherlands’ Vrouwen Eredivisie would be getting an advertiser,” says our own Jamie Rathjen. “That deal is now done, and includes the league’s name being flipped to ‘Eredivisie Vrouwen.'” … Also from Jamie: Pro tennis star Naomi Osaka is now a part owner of the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage and wore the new Courage shirt at the Australian Open today. … Inter Milano’s new logo has leaked (from Trevor Williams). … New logo and title advertiser for the Belarusian Super Cup (from Ed Zelaski).

Grab Bag: Some great old Navy athletics footage, from a variety of sports, in this 1965 video clip (from Trent Layne). … Male members of New Zealand’s parliament will no longer be required to wear a necktie (NYT link). The move comes after a Maori politician was temporarily ejected for wearing an indigenous pendant in lieu of a tie, which led to a reconsideration of the dress code (from Kenny Ocker). … Our own Jamie Rathjen has news on the U.K. Netball Superleague: “The Manchester Thunder have two new kits. They are allegedly suffragette-themed, because they have sashes and British suffragettes who were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union wore sashes saying ‘Votes for Women’ in marches. There’s no real time-sensitive reason for it — 2021 isn’t the anniversary of anything relevant. It feels like they came up with the design first and the storytelling second, which I’ve seen happen in soccer.” … Chase County High School in Nebraska, whose teams are called the Longhorns, have found a clever way to incorporate their mascot image’s horns into their logo (from Austin Meyer). … New A-10 Thunderbolt-themed lacrosse helmets for Air Force (from Billy Snider). … British Columbia Premier John Horgan wore a lacrosse-themed mask at a press conference yesterday (from Wade Heidt). … New rugby union uniforms for Austin Gilgronis of Major League Rugby (from @bryanwdc and Sy Hart). … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: Danville Area Community College in Illinois has unveiled its new costumed mascot and named it “Mick Jaguar.” … Rameses XXI, the retired live mascot for the University of North Carolina, has died. … Here’s one writer’s choice for the 10 most iconic movie franchise logos. … There’s a new book out about the history of workplace dress codes. … New auto racing helmet designs for Bryce Fullwood of the Australian Supercars Championship and NASCAR’s Chase Elliott. … Former Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s wardrobe has been donated to a charity that helps people re-enter the workforce (from Douglas Ford).

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I just want to say that I received the March pins from the factory yesterday, and they are so completely amazing! You’re gonna like ’em. A lot. — Paul

61 comments to The Connection Between Uniforms and the Anthem

  • Dumb Guy | February 11, 2021 at 7:58 am |

    Lynn Belvedere in “Mr. Belvedere” was played by Christopher Hewitt, not Bob Uecker . Uecker played Belvedere’s boss, George Owens.

    (sorry, I also “get”80’s TV)

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 8:07 am |

      D’oh! My bad. Fixed!

  • Jesse | February 11, 2021 at 8:07 am |

    Paul-some context re: the national anthem being played prior to movies. On many bases (definitely USMC posts) the national anthem is played in the base movie theater prior to the start of the movie. This has been occurring since at least 1996, unsure if it still happens now. The expectation is that participants will stand, hand over heart, position of attention, etc.

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 8:09 am |

      Right, but come on — that’s a military thing, not a movie thing. Not really an apples:apples comparison.

  • Peter | February 11, 2021 at 8:15 am |

    Since “Raiders” has been dropped, will “Buccaneers” be looked at differently now?

    It is now known that the term and that culture was responsible for “exploitation and enslavement of local Indigenous populations and people of African descent” (per the Smithsonian Magazine)

    • Steve | February 11, 2021 at 8:50 am |

      Lmao probably. Bucs will have to forfeit their title.

      And for the HS team, the replacement name Ravens – in 5 years bet that’ll be cancelled too in favor of an “innocent” songbird. Ravens are mean scary birds!

    • Tim | February 11, 2021 at 4:09 pm |

      Pittsburgh Pirates are next in the hopper…

  • RS Rogers | February 11, 2021 at 8:22 am |

    Pedantry: Carl Schurz was citing Stephen Decatur’s well-known toast, “Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!” Schurz rephrased Decatur to make the idea conditional, whereas Decatur meant it in the sense of unconditional loyalty we usually associate with the phrase.

    In terms of patriotism, I share Schurz’s attitude. In my sports loyalties, though, I’m with Decatur.

  • Tom J | February 11, 2021 at 8:30 am |

    A couple of points that might illuminate things further.

    1. The Star Spangled Banner wasn’t the National Anthem until 1931, well after it began to be played before sports games (especially baseball). When it caught on as a pregame ritual it was just a tune. Like America the Beautiful, it was patriotic but without official significance.

    2. Baseball at the time had a potent nationalist meaning. The efforts to tie its origins to a Civil War General. The insistence that it had not evolved from English schoolyard games. These were all meant to cement baseball as specifically American and tie it to the national identity. So attending a ballgame was by the 1910’s something more distinctly patriotic than mere entertainment.

  • BurghFan | February 11, 2021 at 8:38 am |

    I think that for those of us in one-team cities, it’s more than allegiance to the uniform. If I want to be able to leave the house at 6:00 for a 7 o’clock baseball game, my only choice is PNC Park, regardless of how good or bad (mostly the latter since 1992) the Pirates are. It would be like if Cheerios were the only cereal available locally to you; even if they made it worse, you’d still be stuck if you wanted cereal in the morning.

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 8:53 am |

      But plenty of people root for non-local teams. I’m a 49ers fan, for example.

  • Matt | February 11, 2021 at 8:49 am |

    Reminds me of the Seinfeld bit where they discuss they are really rooting for “laudry.” Said more eloquently by you, Paul.

    • Matt | February 11, 2021 at 8:58 am |

      “laundry”

  • Blair | February 11, 2021 at 8:54 am |

    Are those Oklahoma baseball just pullovers with a false placket?

  • Greg | February 11, 2021 at 8:56 am |

    Not a Tom Brady fan at all, but that video of him tossing the trophy is amazing and legendary. The guts to do that, and I can’t imagine being the guys on the other boat having to make that catch, presumably after several drinks.
    That’s sort of like the anti-Mayo Bowl trophy catastrophe that Wisconsin had this year.

  • Shaftman | February 11, 2021 at 8:58 am |

    Possible typo

    I’m not sure if you meant to truncate Schurz’s quote, but the full statement is “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.”

    • Trevor A Williams | February 11, 2021 at 10:20 am |

      Wow, I never knew the full quote!

  • Steve | February 11, 2021 at 9:12 am |

    At this rate I hope they just all stop playing it just so that we won’t have to read any more of these articles lmao

  • StAugustine | February 11, 2021 at 9:17 am |

    Back in the late 60s and early 70s while attending Syracuse University I went to many events at the downtown arena, the War Memorial. Across the top of the stage were 4 American flags and the words IN MEMORY OF OUR SERVICE VETERANS in great big letters. Before every event, whether a hockey game, rock concert, circus or whatever, they dimmed the lights, backlit the IN MEMORY OF… signage, turned on fans to make the flags wave and played the Star Spangled Banner.

  • Todd | February 11, 2021 at 9:27 am |

    When I was in grade school we lived in Baudette, Minnesota, which is right on the Canadian border. Our local movie theater played a short film version of the national anthem before every movie. I was surprised when other theaters did not do this!

    • mike 2 | February 11, 2021 at 11:58 am |

      The Grand Theater!

      I lived in Atikokan for a bunch of years and our closest cinema was International Falls. Sometimes we’d head all the way to Baudette if there was a movie we wanted to see. I can’t believe I used to live somewhere so remote that driving two hours to a movie didn’t used to be crazy.

  • Rick | February 11, 2021 at 9:38 am |

    Is it possible having displayed USA flags at sporting events versus movie/plays/concerts made the playing of the anthem more palatable?

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 9:53 am |

      Good point!

  • Memal | February 11, 2021 at 9:38 am |

    I remember that episode of Mr. Belvedere. As a young kid used to receiving some form a guilt trip, what that guy said about the anthem I took as law and never questioned standing and acknowledging when the national anthem was played. I didn’t even watch it before I typed this because I remember the emotion of what he said so well. Good thoughts

  • Julian | February 11, 2021 at 9:44 am |

    Here’s another wrinkle in the anthem conversation: sporting events are a mix of home team and away team fans—people who are rooting for the opposite outcome (unlike people attending a concert or movie). Starting a sporting event with the anthem sets a tone of shared identity; for a moment you can relate to the guy sitting next to you who is rooting for the “wrong” team. I don’t know, is this is a thing to consider? Not saying this is intentional, effective or even worth it, just an observation…

    • Mr. Tax Payer | February 11, 2021 at 11:45 am |

      I definitely agree with that statement.

    • Matt | February 12, 2021 at 8:39 am |

      Except when you’re at a Toronto vs US team game or an NHL game featuring a team from a Canadian city. Then you have two fanbases “rooting” for opposite anthems.

  • Jim Howicz | February 11, 2021 at 9:53 am |

    Texas A&M’s new baseball uniforms look really sharp. Question for the group: does Adidas make the material in the armpits different because they are trying to highlight some new-fangled uniform technology (super sweat pits!) or can’t they produce the fabric in the colors or pinstriping?

  • Jim Vilk | February 11, 2021 at 10:07 am |

    Pre-pandemic, the Summit County (OH) Metroparks Ensemble played the anthem before all of their “summer in the parks” concerts. There’s a new director now, so once things get back to “normal” I don’t know if that will continue or not.

  • BvK | February 11, 2021 at 10:17 am |

    “New uniforms — with weird, shiny chest lettering, an even weirder-looking buttonless placket, and what appears to be baseball’s first sweatback — for Oklahoma”

    Oklahoma’s sweatbacks aren’t a new phenomenon in college baseball. I know I’ve seen them on the jerseys Nike makes for Oregon’s baseball team for several years now. A quick Google search revealed examples dating back to 2019:

    https://www.uniswag.com/blog/new-oregon-baseball-and-softball-uniforms

    I think it may date back even earlier than that, but that’s what I was able to find so far.

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 10:21 am |

      Thanks for that, Kary — didn’t realize!

  • Drew | February 11, 2021 at 10:26 am |

    Interesting point about the Mets/Yankees Players, and I’m delighted to discover that I wholeheartedly disagree! I often find myself cheering for the players I like playing the game I love. I still have a team (Cowboys since birth!), but most games I’m watching aren’t featuring the Cowboys. Painting with broad strokes, I think the younger audiences are more aware of the players individual identities than I think the older sports audience is. Perhaps this is a feature of more accessible player personalities on social media.

  • spinetingler | February 11, 2021 at 10:32 am |

    Forced patriotism is not patriotism at all. Same with the pledge.

    • RICKAZ | February 11, 2021 at 11:58 am |

      Yep

  • Jim Vilk | February 11, 2021 at 10:38 am |

    Some great old Navy athletics footage, from a variety of sports, in this 1965 video clip

    In 1965, Navy could play baseball indoors. “Not softball…the real McCoy…”

  • Tom Tagliabue | February 11, 2021 at 10:49 am |

    The worst “sport” to wrap themselves in the flag and the Bible is rodeo. Have been to several PRCA events where they pontificate incessantly about ‘Merica and god. It is sickening.

    • Patrick in MI | February 11, 2021 at 7:23 pm |

      Not to mention the animal abuse.

  • John Chapman | February 11, 2021 at 11:14 am |

    Seinfeld’s bit about ‘cheering for the clothes’ seems related here: https://youtu.be/we-L7w1K5Zo

  • RICKAZ | February 11, 2021 at 11:41 am |

    “ remain loyal to those team colors, that logo, and that uniform”
    This is why it seems crazy that teams will have complete overhauls of their colors. The Diamondbacks changed from purple and teal to red and black, even though they won a World Series in these colors a few years before. I’ve always thought that if they wanted to get rid of purple, they could have just slowly de-emphasized the color by going with black (also an original color) and teal, and slowly over a few years using less and less purple. I also wasn’t a fan when the Rams changed from royal blue and yellow to navy and gold. Sadly when they finally seemed to get their act together by bringing back the royal and yellow, they abandon a classic uniform for their current abomination. The NBA seems like the biggest offender of this. Just off the top of my head the teams that have switched uniform colors, with some many times, are the Cavs, Hawks, Nuggets, Rockets, Bucks, Nets, Pistons, Wizards, Jazz, and Sonics. I won’t even count the Lakers, since their purple and yellow has been a part of their identity since they moved into the Forum in 1967, or the changing back to Hornets from Bobcats for Charlotte, or even New Orleans giving back the Hornets identity to Charlotte and becoming the Pelicans.

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 11:43 am |

      I totally agree. I remember when the D-backs made the change, I wrote about how weird it must be for a fan to hear, “Yesterday our colors were A, B, and C. But as of today they’re X, Y, and Z.” Bizarre!

      • Dan Pfeifer | February 11, 2021 at 12:25 pm |

        I think this kind of goes back to the Pepsi/Coke idea, though. Some places are just Pepsi places.

        Arizona strikes me as a kind of transient place: Old folks go to retire and live out their final years, kids come through to go to school and then maybe head someplace else, and so on. Having transient colors in a transient place kinda makes some sense, relative to that region’s nature.

        In the Northeast and Midwest, you have many more multigenerational families where roots have been established and the tradition of rooting for a team is passed down through generations. Accordingly, it adds something to the experience to know you’re wearing the same colors your father, grandfather and great-grandfather wore.

        Granted, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but other factors play in. L.A. is a very transient place, but the Dodgers are so traditional that yes, the Dodger blue endures.

        Still, f you’re living in a Coke place, it’s because Coke stays the same. If you’re living in a Pepsi place, it’s because you want something that changes. It makes sense to me that the identity of the teams of a region match that feeling.

      • mike chamernik | February 11, 2021 at 1:19 pm |

        I assume that’s why colleges and high schools never ever change their colors. Brand loyalty is that deep

      • John F. | February 11, 2021 at 3:58 pm |

        I agree with RICKAZ and Paul except when it comes to the stuck in the 90s teal and purple combo. It’s the Members Only jacket of uni colors.

        • RICKAZ | February 12, 2021 at 1:39 am |

          Well since the team originated during this time, seems appropriate. But like I said, I would have had no problem de-emphasizing purple and just going with black and teal. I get bored by almost all the MLB teams having black, red, or blue. I think the A’s are the only team that their primary hat color isn’t black, red, or blue.

    • Greg | February 11, 2021 at 4:17 pm |

      100%
      It is one thing when they drastically change the shade (Eagles, Seahawks, etc) but a complete recoloring always stands out as complete rebrand, throwing away the history, which is what your fans are loyal to.
      In addition to the Diamondbacks, the Buccaneers, Coyotes, Ducks, Sabers, Canucks, Astros, Rays, and Padres are the other teams that come to mind that have completely overhauled their colors (outside of the NBA, where at this point its just different costumes each game).
      Perhaps with the Diamondbacks, Coyotes, and Ducks, they were newish franchises that were ditching trendy colors for something more traditional with staying power? And with a short history the connection with the colors wasn’t as imbedded yet? It is always great to see when teams get back to their original colors, hopefully the Bucs, Rays, and Diamondbacks eventually go back. And I still think of the Pats as a red team, not a navy team.

  • Kek | February 11, 2021 at 12:01 pm |

    There is an episode of the Simpsons where Homer is boxing and before his big match they say “Due to popular demand, we will forego our national anthem.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yupx2d1G6J4

  • MplsMike | February 11, 2021 at 12:14 pm |

    “North High School in Wichita, Kan., will no longer call its teams the Redskins but is keeping its Native-themed imagery (thanks, Phil)”

    File this under not understanding the problem and wanting to look like you’re doing something anyway.

    You could still be the Redskins if all your imagery were based on the sunburned Coppertone child. And it doesn’t matter if your nickname is a small furry animal if you’re using Indigenous imagery.

  • Ben Beattie | February 11, 2021 at 12:17 pm |

    I do not disagree with Paul’s reasoning for the anthem, but I think there is a more obvious connection. As opposed to movies, plays, or concerts, sporting events are comprised of athletes competing against one another. Fans in attendance are likely only a fan of one team, and are rooting for that team to be victorious. The national anthem before the game provides a unifying theme to a game where fans have differing rooting interests, “We may be on different sides, but we are all Americans”. This theme loses merit in the modern sports landscape as all sports now have athletes who are not from the U.S., and most major sports are now marketed to an international audience.

  • Brian | February 11, 2021 at 12:22 pm |

    I’m surprised no one has thought of the relationship between national pride and sports as demonstrated at the Olympics. In our modern era, and thinking of Paul’s examples like movies, etc., it is a world-wide phenomenon where our sports teams literally represent patriotism, wearing national colors and flag clothing, etc., intermingling sports and patriotism. With the anthem of the winner played, it’s only natural for that practice to cascade down to American sports in general.
    That’s not to say Paul’s point is inaccurate in any way (it makes very logical sense), but I think our public ethos that expects the anthems at sports events is influenced heavily by the Olympics.

  • Brett Alan | February 11, 2021 at 12:42 pm |

    A possible Ticker item: Northwestern basketball G Boo Buie wore his teammate Ty Berry’s uniform (including Berry’s NOB) in Wednesday night’s game against Indiana. Berry missed the game due to the death of his father. https://twitter.com/BigTenNetwork/status/1359634998492450816

  • Jim Vilk | February 11, 2021 at 1:18 pm |

    Loved the podcast.

    Paul…couldn’t believe you didn’t correct Chris when he said jersey “sponsor” instead of “advertiser…”

    I wish the NBA would’ve done a 70th anniversary patch on the shorts. Would’ve been the 35th anniversary of the 35th anniversary.

    Although…if I were in charge of anniversary patches, I’d say 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th…every 25 years after, etc…but since the NBA already did a 35th it would’ve been cool to acknowledge it.

  • BvK | February 11, 2021 at 4:20 pm |

    Late Ticker correction (sorry, just noticed it):

    The Eredivisie Vrouwen is not a team. It’s the top league for women’s soccer in the Netherlands. So the Ticker item should more accurately read, “…and includes the LEAGUE’s name being flipped to ‘Eredivisie Vrouwen.'”

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 5:37 pm |

      Got it.

  • Steve D | February 11, 2021 at 7:06 pm |

    I became a huge Knick fan in the mid 1970s. When they changed uni, colors and logo in the late 1970s, I remember wishing for the classic uniforms to come back, but it did not hurt my loyalty one bit. I remember being very happy when Dave DeBusschere became GM and announced on the Art Rust Radio show that the old uniforms were coming back. Years later, as I was sickened by their owner and their play, they tweaked their wordmark and it was around that time that I stopped caring about the Knicks anymore. The tweak was a small factor this time…our priorities change over time.

  • Patrick in MI | February 11, 2021 at 7:41 pm |

    Thanks for another good podcast today, Paul and Chris! I really enjoy the conversational tone between you two. Like having old friends just hanging out. One question: are you considering intro music? Would be fun to hear some stadium organ greeting us and then fading as you two begin.

    • Paul Lukas | February 11, 2021 at 8:30 pm |

      Thanks, Patrick! And yes, we should have intro music starting next week. Hope you’ll keep listening!

  • Ben Zoss | February 11, 2021 at 7:57 pm |

    We had an IGA in my hometown of Metamora, IL and I even worked there for a while in high school. My mom always seemed to come home and notice that she was charged the wrong price for an item. I say always, but it probably didn’t happen that often. Whenever it did, though, my dad would say that IGA stood for “I Gotcha Again.”

  • Peter | February 11, 2021 at 9:33 pm |

    Crusaders no more…racist name and imagery.

    Cavaliers…you’re on the clock

    • walter | February 12, 2021 at 12:11 am |

      …Then the Patriots.

  • Peter sg | February 12, 2021 at 1:06 am |

    I wonder if the anthem issue is the association of the anthem to the military rather than associating it with civil structures? I think that’s the part that annoys me. I’m all for a bit of pride in one’s country, but that pride might be towards non-military subjects.

  • Chris Cruz | February 12, 2021 at 1:11 pm |

    There’s only one concert venue I can think of where the national anthem is regularly played before a show, the Hollywood Bowl. Interestingly, there is far more singing from the crowd at the Bowl than I’ve ever heard at an LA sporting even. Here are some examples:

    Traditional – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0be2D9SoPw
    Muppets version – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n15jgsTfglY