Tackled / Tickled Pink

Discussing team uniforms a while back, I suggested that beyond the light and dark of home and away jerseys, "specific colours in themselves do not serve any semiurgic function, barring a few exceptions". The exceptions I had in mind related to instances of a specific colour, such as Carolina blue, which defines the entire University of North Carolina community and all of its supporters. I neglected, however, to consider exceptions that featured specific purposes for a widely-used colour.

Take Houston Nutt, the Arkansas football coach, who used to make players who were in trouble wear pink practice uniforms. This is a gendered Othering designed not only to feminize/emasculate the offenders but likely also to enrage the other players on the team, causing them to hit harder — not coincidentally a desired outcome in football.

But Nutt is changing. In a nod to breast cancer survivors, he will stop the practice of using pink jerseys, likely substituting them with the burnt orange of arch-rival Texas.

(Is it just me, or does this smack of a major PR cover-up?)


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