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The Score On Sports With Frank Deford

Red Team Fans: Too Much to Take?

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Red is one of the most popular colors in sports — perhaps too popular. Hordes of fans for various college and sports teams show red colors in public, to the point of offense.


And we'll go next from the green to the red. It's the color of choice for sports fans and teams around the country. Here's commentator Frank Deford.

FRANK DEFORD: A few years ago I was in Columbia, Missouri. I roused myself from my motel bed early on a Saturday morn and came downstairs, there to be blinded by a veritable mob of people all attired in red. Who were these crimson wayfarers assaulting my bloodshot eyes?

Well, it turned out that Nebraska was playing Missouri that afternoon and these cherry-garbed folk were all displaced football persons - Nebraska fans who couldn't get tickets to home Cornhusker games and so they followed the team, reddening stadiums throughout the heartland.

Now understand, my respect for the loyalty of these cardinal-clad pilgrims was considerable, but since then I've grown sick and tired of fans festooned in red. There is too much of it and I am asking for a moratorium.

Okay, maybe, maybe I can live with your darker hues: your maroon, your garnet or your burgundy. But the ripe reds running riot row upon row in stadiums and arenas is becoming, as Chester A. Riley used to lament, a revolting development.

What is it about red teams that makes their fans dress in red. I know now I'll be flooded with mail telling me that supporters of such and such a baby blue or a sea green team always arrive attired at games just so. But come on, that's rare. Mostly, it's a red thing.

Sometimes even when a red team plays a red team, like Nebraska versus Oklahoma or Alabama versus Arkansas, the fans from both sides wear red. It's a red litter day.

Like that, mostly the red rats are college fans. But now I've got to put up with St. Louis Cardinal fans wearing red, waving red in the National League Championship Series.

It's even spread to the NASCAR republic. Once there was just redneck. Now those who root for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. show up in red hats and shirts. Tiger Woods always wears red in the final round. It won't be long, I'm sure, before Tiger rooters will start painting the links red.

Surprise us before this happens, Tiger. Pick a new color for next year - a nice mauve perhaps, a cerulean blue, maybe a burnt orange, a lively fuchsia or a stylish ecru.

Look at Bobby Knight, who, as we know, usually sees red. He wore red sweaters at Indiana just as all the Hoosier fans wear red, of course. But when he went to Texas Tech, whose colors are red and black, Coach Knight switched to black sweaters. You see, there can be life after red.

Understand I've got nothing against red. Hey, you're listening to a man who named his daughter Scarlet. I'm just the fashion policeman trying to help all you crimson creatures, you puce people, you magenta masses, you vermilion millions. Everybody's doing it now. Wearing red to games is tacky. It's passé. It's so yesterday. Red flag it.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Fashion tips from Frank Deford, who is often read in Sports Illustrated. He joins us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.

And this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Lynn Neary.

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Sweetness And Light

Sweetness And LightSweetness And Light

The Score On Sports With Frank Deford