More secret messages in sports logos

Originally Published: March 4, 2011
By Patrick Hruby | Page 2

Earlier this week, Iran threatened to boycott the 2012 London Olympics over the Games' colorful, jagged logo, which the country claims is racist because it resembles the word "Zion."

Poor Iran: the problem isn't that the nation's Ministry of Hurt Feelings is looking too hard. It's that the department clearly isn't looking hard enough. After all, American professional sports are rife with offensive logos and nicknames. You just have to open your eyes:

Miami Heat

Hidden meaning: Supports global warming.

Offended parties: Environmentalists, polar bears, anyone living in a coastal city, anyone who paid good money to see "The Day After Tomorrow."

Toronto Raptors

Hidden meaning: Inspired by creationist contention that man and dinosaur not only walked together, but also wore the same high-tops.

Offended parties: Carl Everett, Richard Dawkins, carbon dating scientists, Grimlock and the rest of the Dinobots.

Cincinnati Reds

Hidden meaning: Endorsement of Lenin, Stalin, Chairman Mao and Ivan Drago.

Offended parties: Eastern Europe, surviving McCarthy-ites, Cuban-Americans, Apollo Creed's widow, the "Winds of Change"-era Scorpions, freedom-lovin' fighter jocks who just want to drink Pepsi upside down.

Boston Celtics

Hidden meaning: Cartoon billboard for the tobacco industry. (Really, the jaunty wink just gives it away).

Offended parties: The U.S. Surgeon General.

Washington Nationals

Hidden meaning: First, the banks and the car companies; next, health care; finally, our guns and free will, the latter to be replaced by plug-in skull jacks.

Offended parties: Glenn Beck.

San Antonio Spurs

Hidden meaning: Animal cruelty both acceptable and encouraged when perpetrated in service of human expedience.

Offended parties: PETA, Smiths fans, the people who thought Barbaro was some sort of equine demigod.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Hidden meaning: Tacit approval of nautical plunder.

Offended parties: Tankers, anyone aboard yachts and cruise ships off the Somali coast, descendents of Barbary War veterans, ninjas.

New York Yankees

Hidden meaning: The War of Northern Aggression was a good thing.

Offended parties: Bo and Luke Duke.

Portland Timbers

Hidden meaning: Deforestation is right and just.

Offended parties: Spotted Owls, Ewoks, Auburn fans, the Stanford Tree.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Hidden meaning: Bulky, expensive safety equipment is both unnecessary and an onerous burden imposed by the nanny state.

Offended parties: Ralph Nader, Easton, Reebok, Nike, CCM and hockey moms everywhere.

Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins

Hidden meaning: The profit motive is way more important than the hurt feelings and trampled dignity of politically marginalized groups on the wrong end of Manifest Destiny.

Offended parties: In America? Please.

Patrick Hruby is a freelance writer and contributor. Contact him at

Back to Page 2

• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen