Football season is here again. I have been thinking about the Houston Texans since last year when I saw the red shirts in the stands. The image has haunted for some time. Five minutes ago, I finally found evidence, on Ebay, for what I saw. Ebay won't let me paste the image into this post.
It was almost impossible to find anything on the "paint the town red" t-shirts by Halliburton. I noticed them, while watching Monday Night Football, the shirts were given to thousands of Texans fans, for the franchises battle red promotion, before the game in Houston on December 1st, 2008. The Texans were all red like devils. The crowd in red, a camera panned by a guy in a red shirt with white letters that said, “paint the town red” with “Halliburton” under it. Halliburton is the biggest contractor in Iraq. They really “painted the town red”--with blood. Its possible the irony was lost on thousands who wore them, maybe to who conceived them. But more likely, it was drummed up with precision by a marketing staff snickering all the way to the blood bank.
I wish I had a freeze frame picture of a fan in a shirt, because l wanted to reaffirm what I had seen. I found these comments on the message board of Uniwatch, a sports uniform blog. #148 Chance wrote,
The problem with the red Texans uniforms - aside from the fact that they look like ketchup bottles - is that the whole thing is a corporate sponsorship boondoggle (and the corporation in question also happens to be a war profiteer):
#187 Justin H wrote,
Just thought I would share that the 'paint the town red shirts' the Texans fans were wearing have 'Halliburton' in HUGE letters on the bottom of the shirt. That's not logo creep, that is logo curb-stomp.
Obviously those two saw the problem with the shirts. But not this guy, a blogger at the game:
The "battle red" uniforms looked really nice, and were complimented well with "paint the town red" t-shirts given to the crowd (courtesy of Halliburton) so that we could "red out" the stadium and intimidate the road team. Judging from how poorly Jacksonville played, I don't think we needed it but at least I got a souvenir.
The irony was lost on that guy, who was at the game, rocking the shirt. The point is that those three guys in the comments section of an obscure sports uniform blog was confirmation that I was not hallucinating and actually saw the amazingly ignorant and mean spirited shirts.
I thought that a newspaper, webzine, or sports blog would have popped up with an article about the red shirts. It seemed like a no-brainer, but I have yet to find any traditional reporting on this story. The message board on a niche blog was basically the only way I could prove what I had seen and have some kind of human connection or confirmation that, yes those shirts were fucked up and I was not the only one to notice how insensitive and stupid it was to make them. And who knows what it means that so many Texans fans wore them.
Things that get lost between the lines of news reporting sometimes are picked up by blogs, which is good because without that, important cultural landmarks would be passed by as if they had not happened. But the real point is the organic nature of message boards. I find myself paying closer attention to the comments section than the article it self.