Black is the New Orange
by New Times Staff - Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
New uniforms for the SU football team

Every week in this space, the Syracuse New Times will give you a piece of our mind. For what it’s worth.

OK, not black, exactly. More like gray.

But we’re not crazy about gray, as a color. Or about white. Even an excess of blue is … too much.

Frankly, as a color, we’re not all that crazy about orange, either. But tradition being what it is, this was the reaction around the office to those new uniforms for the SU football team:

They look like crap.

Now, we all know change is hard. And inevitable. And when the inevitable comes, as adults we need to cope with it. To adjust. To show a little flexibility. To reorient our world view to accommodate … new perspectives.

But what’s even harder than change is change for change’s sake. Because, let’s face it, there’s another color at play in those new Nike duds.

Green.

It’s about the money. Isn’t it always, these days?

Turns out the same universities that have discovered that television networks will pay them millions of dollars to broadcast their football and basketball games have discovered that the great masses of fans outfitted in fan gear will hit the stores to replace that gear with new gear.

That McNabb jersey is so … ‘90s.

And those new jerseys are so … not orange. How can the Orange not be orange?

But when you multiply (a) the great numbers of fans by (b) the exorbitant prices of team gear you get (c) enough money to build a new stadium down by Erie Boulevard.

It’s not just SU, of course. Pro football teams have throwback jerseys. Pro hockey teams have “third” jerseys. Pro basketball teams change their colors at the drop of a jump shot. And every time a new uniform variation is introduced, you can hear the stampede of fans to the pro shops to update their wardrobes. Ka-ching.

There was a day – forgive us for waxing nostalgic here – when college athletics was about the competition of amateur athletes, young men and women defending honor and the alma mater on the athletic fields. Everybody sing: “Flag we love! Orange! Float for aye-”

Alas, those days are gone. Now Nike comes to campus, and the next thing you know … gray uniforms.

But it could be worse. If we truly honored the storied SU tradition, if the university’s colors had never changed, the “Orange” would be wearing rose pink and pea green.

And our reaction to those colors would be black and white, too.

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