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Friday, September 11, 2009

N&O To State Fans: BOHICA, Buddy.

After the State uniform fiasco exploded at the end of August, the geniuses at the News and Observer thought it a wise idea to rehash the matter nearly three weeks later.

How, you might ask? By extending an open, no-submissions-barred contest/competition/brainstorming session(?) where you, Joe Average Fan, can submit YOUR idea on how the next State uniform should look.

And, predictably, it turned into an unholy sh*tstorm of Photoshop mockery.

Here are a few choice examples:

Steven's personal favorite:

On one hand, I feel we somewhat deserve this for putting forth such a lousy jersey design in the first place. This could be considered an unintended consequence of lousy design, in one sense.

But all things considered, I feel more strongly this is just plain uncalled for on the N&O's part.

For one, the jersey ballyhoo had long died down. Beyond a random snicker or two surrounding the first game, the scrapped jersey design would no longer be a topic of discussion during the basketball season. We had moved on. The N&O essentially reignited a dead issue.

And for what? What gain was to be had?

As they state on their submission page, this was not a submissions call requested by the university (had it been, I'd probably pull my diploma out of its frame and mail it back to Holladay Hall with no return address). So other than a few thousand pageviews, what gain did the N&O hope to get from it? There were certainly no altruistic intentions of "assisting" State on a future design; if State ever DID rely on N&O submissions to design their uniforms instead of, say, a PROFESSIONAL DESIGN COMPANY, I say again I'd probably return my diploma sans return address.

No, the only motivation I can discern on how this ended up in the paper, nearly three weeks late, is sheer entertainment value. Entertainment for the rival fans regaling themselves in State's misery, and entertainment for the N&O staffers watching the schadenfreude as they watch submission after mocking submission land in their inbox.

A part of me would love to hear the "ad wizard behind this one" at the N&O explain their decision to move forward with this campaign. They'd no doubt tell you that they thought that only serious submissions would be submitted. That's baloney. The person or persons that believe that at the N&O are either too stupid to breathe without instructions or would be lying to your face. Stupidity of that order deserves a good firing. Lying to readers would merit a firing, too.

Now I'm not one to scream "media conspiracy" anytime something detrimental to State shows up in the paper. Sometimes bad news is bad news, and it must be reported. State's design crew deserved to be outed for the jersey trainwreck when it happened at the time, and they were.

This, however, is essentially an unnecessary, uncalled for double whammy against the school. It revives a dead, negative story that had slipped off the radar, and does so in a way that opens the door for further mockery from opposing fans and frustrated State fans alike. The N&O can try to make the claim it was intended only to let fans produce serious submissions, but if that's the case then why is no one at the N&O culling out all the fake designs (which are outnumbered by the mocking ones by about a 5/1 ratio)? If you send it in, they'll post it.

But this isn't simply an automated script being abused, however, like the News 14 Weather Delays prank years ago. Something tells me they ARE being looked at before posting; I can't imagine that someone hasn't sent something with profanity on it thusfar, or perhaps some borderline sexual/racist content (this is the internet still, after all). SOMEONE in the N&O offices is clearing all this content before it posts to the web, and laughing their ass off all the while.

I'm not saying State didn't deserve some ribbing for the way the jersey situation went down. But that was two, almost three weeks ago. By allowing anyone with a computer and a pirated copy of Photoshop to submit virtually any design they choose and refusing to screen out the mocking ones, it's clear the N&O is looking to reignite this essentially dead issue and put further shame on the university's athletic department.

If you're Lee Fowler, Annabelle Vaughn-Myers or Chancellor Woodward, you can't let this go without a response. My sense is that -- short of Chancellor Woodward urging Fowler or Myers into action -- I doubt we'll see one.

For what it's worth:



  1. poor Tracy Smith ... he doesn't deserve this.

  2. Indeed. Though he looks like quite the angler when sporting the Bass Pro Shops gear.