Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Team Sport Apparel - "Naive" Perhaps, but still Inappropriate

No Thanks

While in France, I try to keep current with what is happening in Canada and I am surprised and slightly shocked that a Junior hockey team has resurrected a former mascot for nostalgia sake it seems. See the story in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

What we wear is open for interpretation by whoever meets us, without knowing who we are and without knowing what our philosophies are. Mascots, since they are emblazoned on sports team clothing, represent the wearers in some way, even though it may be frivolous.

In this case, the team decision makers have associated a questionable mascot with success and popularity from their past. This character suggests a male of Middle Eastern heritage wielding a hockey stick associated with the Raiders team name. In the 90s, the team had replaced him with a pirate, but now the former mascot has been returned. In recent times, North American sport team mascots have become more neutral with those having names associated with aboriginal peoples changed so that no offence is taken by any particular person of native ancestry.

How important is a mascot to the community and to the players? Presently any one of the players on the Raiders team is only old enough to know the pirate logo from direct experience. The community has a significant percentage of First Nations and a new, albeit small percentage of Middle Eastern descent. Who were the decision makers? . . . my speculation suggests it was those who are 50+ and not members with an association to an ethnic minority.

I imagine that the number of fans who will choose to wear this logo on their chests have not analyzed it completely. They may rationalize by saying, "Get a life, it's just a mascot, it's just a sport." That may be, but you can't discount the perceptions of others. The numbers in the stands will represent to the world whether naive nostalgia is more important than presenting a positive image. 

Rightly or wrongly so . . . here are a few quotes that reflect clothing, personality and philosophy . . . in this case, it is more the mascot than the clothes . . .
A man cannot dress, but his ideas get cloath'd at the same time. (Laurence Sterne) 
What a strange power there is in clothing. (Isaac Bashevis Singer) 
Every uniform corrupts one's character. (Max Frisch) 
Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. (Epictetus) 
Carelessness in dressing is moral suicide. (HonorĂ© de Balzac) 
Clothes can suggest, persuade, connote, insinuate, or indeed lie, and apply subtle pressure while their wearer is speaking frankly and straightforwardly of other matters. (Anne Hollander)
Clothes are never a frivolity:  they always mean something. (James Laver)
But then again, perhaps it is not the wearer but the viewer who perceives. . . 
Any affectation whatsoever in dress implies, in my mind, a flaw in the understanding. (Philip Dormer Stanhope)
Choice, a difficult attribute, . . .
Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul. (Mark Twain)
(Quotes retrieved November 19, 2014 from Quote Garden.)

. . . and then maybe it's just a marketing ploy . . . even negative reaction plays into marketing statistics . . .

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