From SABR member Paul Lukas at The New Republic on January 24, 2020:
Earlier this month, the New York Giants held a press conference to introduce their new head coach, Joe Judge. In between the usual football clichés about how the Giants will “play aggressive” and have a “physical attitude” under his leadership, Judge dipped his toe into the pool of class consciousness. “I want this team to reflect this area. That is blue-collar. It’s hard work,” he said. “We’re gonna come to work every day and grind it out the way they do in their jobs every day.” That same day, Mississippi State University announced that it had hired Mike Leach as its new head football coach. The school’s athletic director, John Cohen, issued a statement praising Leach for, among other things, his “blue-collar approach” to football.
These were just the latest examples of a phenomenon that the sports world shares with politics: a strong desire to be associated with the working class, often in ways that strain logic and credulity.
The sports world’s blue-collar roots are real enough. The Green Bay Packers got their name from a meatpacking company that originally sponsored the team. The Detroit Pistons got theirs because their first owner ran a piston foundry. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ logo is based on the “Steelmark” originally used by U.S. Steel. And before the days of multimillion-dollar contracts, pro athletes routinely worked regular jobs during the off-season—often in blue-collar trades—to make ends meet.
Read the full article here: https://newrepublic.com/article/156304/sports-teams-blue-collar-rhetoric-football-basketball-working-class-values
Originally published: January 24, 2020. Last Updated: January 24, 2020.