As I started searching for some images to include in this blog post, I discovered that I am on the cutting edge of this story but not the only one talking about it. I thought maybe this would turn into my “female op-ed” post, but it turns out that men and women alike are entranced/enraged/incredulous about this phenomenon…
It all began while I was watching Sportscenter this morning…and saw an interview with Mr. Hockey himself, Don Cherry, during which he enhanced his white hair and white beard with a white suit (a la Colonel Sanders) that was covered with a floral print of bright red carnations. (If you thought it doesn’t get any worse than a floral print suit, you were close. Florally printed with the tackiest flower alive is rock bottom.)
Why is this blog-worthy you ask? Only because it coincides with myriad other poor fashion choices by sports commentators. If people say “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want,” what job could these men possibly be going for? And who’s letting them get away with this?
For me, this conversation started during the 2007 NFL season as ESPN’s newest personality Keyshawn Johnson sported one bizarre color combination after another. It’s disturbing to flip on the TV on Sunday morning for some NFL pregame coverage before church and have to close my eyes briefly every 3 seconds to avoid going cross-eyed. Even more perplexing is why he occasionally chooses to rock a scarf like a teenage French girl. Throughout the season I wondered what upper management was thinking when Keyshawn would arrive in orange tweed and take his place amongst the table of blacks and blues.
Enter the 2008 NFL Draft. Welcome to Day 1 of one of the biggest events in football! Millions watching! Fans on the edge of their seats! And Keyshawn front and center on the announcing team…looking like Easter threw up on him. He was sporting a sand-colored suit with a turquoise and white striped shirt, baby pink polka dot tie, and a grass-green silk handkerchief wadded into his pocket.
Keyshawn was the worst, but it seemed the rest of ESPN’s coverage team also received the “Loud Tie Memo,” although their candy cane stripes and eye-splitting colors weren’t fighting with their own shirts for attention. (They must have also received the emergency memo entitled “NFL Draft Day 2: EARTHTONES” because by Sunday there wasn’t a color in the room.)
I am all for expressing oneself through clothing. I too love bright colors and will occasionally don a combo that would make Punky Brewster cringe, but when clothing exceeds the boundaries of good taste and begins approaching the category of “things-that-will-give-you-a-migraine-if-you-stare-at-them-too-long” (SEE ALSO: London 2012 Olympic logo)…well that’s when we have a problem. TNT’s NBA announcer Craig Sager is another offender: sequin suits, rainbow ties, iridescent fabrics…put him together with Don Cherry’s floral/plaid/paisley wardrobe and you’ve got a JoAnn Fabrics ad.
Which brings me to my image search today and what I found: “Keyshawn Johnson wins the Michael Award for Best-Dressed Man among television hosts in the sports and entertainment industry.” (It’s the topic of day in Matt Mosley’s blog “Hashmarks.”) Seriously? I am speechless.
What do you think – do we need our favorite stalwarts of sports announcing to look like Rainbow Brite? Does hockey sound better from a plaid man’s mouth? Does football need Keyshawn’s euro-scarves? I wonder if we actually prefer that our sports personalities have some outward manifestation of their eccentricity, and that we love them all the more because of it. But is it worth the toll it takes on our eyes?