I joined the Royal Air Force in September 2004, as a nation we were conducting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. No longer were we focused on the iron curtain or the threat to the United Kingdom from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the variations of them. The military in the United Kingdom were being treated as heroes and villains. It did take some time, but the influence of the United States and the way they treat their members of the military meant the majority of the British public came round to backing those serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces.
The advice to not wear uniform in public was removed, instead we were encouraged to wear it in public, encouraged to have a social media presence and engage with those questioning the actions of service personnel rather than the conflicts themselves.
British sports embraced service personnel, allowing them to bring out the game ball, hold a flag, be part of the crowd. A charity called “Tickets For Troops” was formed, offering free tickets to sporting events, musicals, stand-up comedians etc. This was something very new for us in the UK due to the previous home threat of the IRA and their various splinter organisations. It was a great time to be part of the military, appreciated and embraced for what we have volunteered for.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, this is all very normal in America. They have – since Vietnam – shown huge appreciation for their military. Free entry (or heavily discounted entry) to major attractions and events, the encouragement of wearing best uniform in public, free drinks/meals in bars and restaurants.
The United States, probably does more than any other nation for their military personnel. They are incredibly proud and supportive of those serving, not just in their military, but others around the world. The amount of attention and support I have had as a member of the RAF in the United States is fantastic.
They also have something very “unique” that doesn’t happen in British sports.
The Camouflage Jersey
This has to stop. With everything they already do for their military, these jerseys are just awful. As an ex-graphic designer this offends my eyes. Camouflage or Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM) is not designed to be pleasing on the eye. It’s not a valuable marketing tool for sports teams or general fashion. It’s…in fact screw it, lets get a definition.
Full Definition of camouflage
: the disguising especially of military equipment or installations with paint, nets, or foliage; also : the disguise so applied
a : concealment by means of disguise
b : behavior or artifice designed to deceive or hide
There we go, it’s designed to deceive or hide, disguise and conceal. Why, as a marketing director or a designer would you use this for a product you’re trying to sell? Does anyone go hunting in a Mets camouflage jersey? Do people wear these in public? Seriously?
American sports team owners please continue to offer the military free tickets, prize draws to win jerseys, let them wave at the crowd before the game, open the locker room to them to meet the players, let them do most things the military personnel want, but please stop the offensive design of these jerseys. If owners feel like they need to continue pumping out these jerseys to show their support, you don’t, at all. They are terrible, not easy on the eye and I wager they sell less than 10% of other jersey sales.
Unless of course, all the profits from these sales go to military charities, then forget everything I have just written.