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Anyone else a little disturbed @ the amount of military propaganda at Pens games?

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02-25-2013, 12:56 PM
  #1
mrzeigler
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Anyone else a little disturbed @ the amount of military propaganda at Pens games?

This was going to start out as a minus from the +/- thread, but since it's the sort of topic that's likely to enflame passions on both sides, I figured I'd keep it out of there.

The 'minus' that started me thinking about this ...
- to the absolute worst giveaway of alltime: The piece of cardboard that we're supposed to fold into an ATI "Mission Critical" zamboni piggy bank. I would have linked to the Penguins promotions page, but the team wisely chose not to include a picture of it.

Now, usually I don't give a crap about the giveaways, but most of the time I can envision them being useful in some situation. But this thing ... it was nothing but a military-industrial complex team sponsor shoving its logo at everyone who walked in the door. It's no surprise that there were stacks of these stupid things littering various spots in the concourses.

And the meat of this post ...

For a sport that originated in Canada (I'm not taking a dig give me a paragraph or two to explain), it's a little disconcerting just how militarized the Penguins hockey experience is. From the team wearing camo warmup jerseys to two zambonis covered in military contractor logos to parading servicemen/women around on the zambonis each intermission to the acknoledgement of every serviceman in attendance that has become de rigeur to that god-awful giveaway last night ... you'd excuse a foreign visitor if they commented that Penguins games sort of have the same vibe as North Korean parades.

Yes, I know the Pens don't regularly wear camo warmup jerseys. Yes, I realize it was tied into the giveaway. But yet, I also realize that the giveaway and the jerseys were the byproduct of what undoubtedly is referred to as the "synergy" between the team and ATI, one of its advertising partners.

I'd like to think that posters who jump in here would understand that bringing up this question doesn't mean I'm anti-troops or anti-American or even antimilitary I'm just anti-propaganda, especially when giveaways are targeting kids (come to think of it, a military-themed piggy bank might be the most culturally relevant giveaway the team has all year). I get that that we're still at war. I get that these servicemen/woman have been and will be at risk. I get that the team has a very active relationship with the local military community and that the team's treatment of serviceman/women and veterans appears to be exemplary and I applaud them for not forgetting those who serve. (However, the fact that I feel the need to add that as a disclaimer is pretty telling about the state of affairs in the U.S. concerning this topic.)

That said, there is a difference between supporting the local military community (which can be done without the giveaways, military-themed zambonis, etc.) and promoting the military industrial complex that Eisenhower famously warned about when he left office.



Anyway, last night's giveaway reminded me off an NPR story from sometime in the last couple of years in which a Canadian woman complained of the militarization of Canadian culture and I seem to recall her specifically mentioning how there used to be a lack of military propaganda at Canadian sports (but that it had been changing).

Anyone have a similar reaction? For those who have recently been to games in other cities (U.S. and Canada), how similar/different is the experience?

Not the typical messageboard topic, but I hope (but don't expect) for some interesting discussion.

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02-25-2013, 01:06 PM
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D Heinze
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There was a time there toward the end of last year where there was a lot of interesting conversation in the media about it. NY Times has some good articles, along with a good Fareed Zakaria spot on it or two.

That said - the Pens promotion was most definitely NOT an example of the military industrial complex in action. At it's most cynical it was a PR spot by an american sports corporation to make good with its fans. At best it was a credit to the men and women who, beyond any shadow of a doubt, deserve more credit for brave and selfless work that you and I will ever accomplish. Whatever cynicism you may have about the military being a money-maker at the expense of citizens, you can NEVER EVER blame the soldiers. You're missing your target on this one.

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02-25-2013, 01:08 PM
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Jacques G
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It's a locally relevant sponsor that is responsible for a good chunk of Pittsburgh's economy, and also relevant to the history of Pittsburgh as a steel-industry giant. I'd say you are probably looking too far into this one. When I was a kid, I had dozens of GI Joe action figures that I played with daily for years, but it didn't make me join the military.

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02-25-2013, 01:10 PM
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They said before the game on TV that the Pens had injured military veterans at practice, and invited them into the lockerroom afterwards where the American players gave them each a custom jersey...so I don't know that it's all related to the sponsor (at the very least I feel that the warmup jerseys had nothing to do with ATI happening to be a sponsor)......

I guess I don't see why it's a "bad" thing.....

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02-25-2013, 01:11 PM
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Wasn't there a big to-do about the wounded warriors at the game and morning skate yesterday? (EDIT: What this guy above me said.) I just assumed it had to do with honoring those guys and not so much a subliminal recruiting tool.

But you guys are America. Spraying wads about your Army is one of the things you guys do best. I guess I didn't read too much into it honestly.

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02-25-2013, 01:14 PM
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SuburbanRhythm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidNeedsNoWingers View Post
They said before the game on TV that the Pens had injured military veterans at practice, and invited them into the lockerroom afterwards where the American players gave them each a custom jersey...so I don't know that it's all related to the sponsor (at the very least I feel that the warmup jerseys had nothing to do with ATI happening to be a sponsor)......

I guess I don't see why it's a "bad" thing.....
Was going to bring this up, as well as, they regularly recognize military members attending games, putting their names on the Jumbotron, or having them sit on the Zamboni during intermissions.

Is it a cheap way to garner some goodwill by the Penguins? Yes.
Is it a nice way to recognize a person who represented their country? Yes.
Is it a harmless act that makes us all (most?) feel warm and fuzzy? Yes.

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02-25-2013, 01:19 PM
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Dying Alive
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I am about as far left liberal as you can get and none of these thoughts even crossed my mind. I gave the piggy bank to my friend for her 7 year old kid (as I do with most giveaways) & didn't think another thing of it. I threw $5 in the bucket for the troops. I clapped when they showed the soldiers riding the zambonis.

I don't think it was anything insidious whatsoever, on the part of the Pens, the military, or anyone else.

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02-25-2013, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IHWR View Post
Wasn't there a big to-do about the wounded warriors at the game and morning skate yesterday? (EDIT: What this guy above me said.) I just assumed it had to do with honoring those guys and not so much a subliminal recruiting tool.

But you guys are America. Spraying wads about your Army is one of the things you guys do best. I guess I didn't read too much into it honestly.
I didn't see the broadcast. I know the team has done a lot with Wounded Warriors, so that would not surprise me. It's a good program.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dying Alive View Post
I am about as far left liberal as you can get and none of these thoughts even crossed my mind. I gave the piggy bank to my friend for her 7 year old kid (as I do with most giveaways) & didn't think another thing of it. I threw $5 in the bucket for the troops. I clapped when they showed the soldiers riding the zambonis.

I don't think it was anything insidious whatsoever, on the part of the Pens, the military, or anyone else.
Gotcha. I think that since I'm at a lot of the games, my reaction might be from repeated exposure to the zabmoni ride & so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D Heinze View Post
There was a time there toward the end of last year where there was a lot of interesting conversation in the media about it. NY Times has some good articles, along with a good Fareed Zakaria spot on it or two.

That said - the Pens promotion was most definitely NOT an example of the military industrial complex in action. At it's most cynical it was a PR spot by an american sports corporation to make good with its fans.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Penguins view this as simply as an advertising partnership with a sponsor. But by definition, advertising by companies that supply the military is an action by a member of the military industrial complex. It's certainly plausible that the reason for the action is simply to support the local sports team and maybe built some local name recognition (I doubt they're advertising because they want to sell their wares to civilians).

Quote:
Originally Posted by D Heinze View Post
At best it was a credit to the men and women who, beyond any shadow of a doubt, deserve more credit for brave and selfless work that you and I will ever accomplish. Whatever cynicism you may have about the military being a money-maker at the expense of citizens, you can NEVER EVER blame the soldiers. You're missing your target on this one.
I tried to make it crystal clear that I have no issue with soldiers. But — and I'm probably opening a can of worms hear by going off topic — I will reserve the right to blame them and hold them responsible when they, while representing this country, commit war crimes. Though I won't issue the carte blanche statement you have, in this situation the difference between us ( if there is one and I'm not misinterpreting) doesn't apply.


Last edited by mrzeigler: 02-25-2013 at 01:33 PM.
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02-25-2013, 01:20 PM
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I agree completely. But what're you gonna do. They talked about this more often than any other intermission report. It was honestly every couple breaks in the action. Each time they cut to someone walking around in fatigues and looking honestly unaware that they were being shown so often. It was seemingly the recurring theme of every stoppage.

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02-25-2013, 01:20 PM
  #10
Jacques G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanRhythm View Post
Was going to bring this up, as well as, they regularly recognize military members attending games, putting their names on the Jumbotron, or having them sit on the Zamboni during intermissions.

Is it a cheap way to garner some goodwill by the Penguins? Yes.
Is it a nice way to recognize a person who represented their country? Yes.
Is it a harmless act that makes us all (most?) feel warm and fuzzy? Yes.
It's not just Pittsburgh. Last Albany Devils game I went to there was a local vet who was put up on the scoreboard and recognized for his service. Though the Zamboni ride is kind of lame, I always thought that was more of a thing for kids.

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02-25-2013, 01:23 PM
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I didn't see the harm in it and I'm usually inclined to be a little peeved about stuff like that. Maybe you were just teed off about a horrible giveaway haha. I know the feeling, I got one last year! To be honest my biggest problem with it was it wasn't a giveaway really. It was more like the free envelopes you get every time you get a bill in the mail. They gave something that served no function but to help them out. At least most of the time a giveaway will have some small function to the person receiving it.

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02-25-2013, 01:24 PM
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Polaris Husky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidNeedsNoWingers View Post
They said before the game on TV that the Pens had injured military veterans at practice, and invited them into the lockerroom afterwards where the American players gave them each a custom jersey...so I don't know that it's all related to the sponsor (at the very least I feel that the warmup jerseys had nothing to do with ATI happening to be a sponsor)......

I guess I don't see why it's a "bad" thing.....
Pretty much this. If someone is looking for something political to get their ire up about in it, they can certainly find something, but I really don't think that was the intent of the Penguins' organization.

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02-25-2013, 01:26 PM
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i too find the trend disconcerting.

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02-25-2013, 01:34 PM
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Heaven forbid you promote helping those that defend your freedoms. How dare them encourage people, even kids, to collect money so an injured veteran could get something they need to live a more comfortable life.

It is pathetic when people cannot support those that defend the freedoms they have. Perhaps you can go to war the next time. Having served in the military it recognize it takes a special person to commit to that lifestyle. I did it for nine years and have nothing but respect for those that commit for a life. We should do everything possible to support them, including teaching our children to do so.

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02-25-2013, 01:46 PM
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mrzeigler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penscup1991 View Post
Heaven forbid you promote helping those that defend your freedoms. How dare them encourage people, even kids, to collect money so an injured veteran could get something they need to live a more comfortable life.

It is pathetic when people cannot support those that defend the freedoms they have. Perhaps you can go to war the next time. Having served in the military it recognize it takes a special person to commit to that lifestyle. I did it for nine years and have nothing but respect for those that commit for a life. We should do everything possible to support them, including teaching our children to do so.
Heaven forbid I, as a member of the most heavily militarized country by far in the world, ask if the elements of the military are creeping too far into every aspect of our society, even sports. I was exercising my freedom of speech to ask about how militarized our society is, not to complain about veterans. No one in this thread took issue with helping veterans. No one. You, my friend, need more Freedom of Comprehension.

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02-25-2013, 02:12 PM
  #16
Dying Alive
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What's the difference between supporting the troops/wounded warrior project and doing the breast cancer awareness stuff? They also collect money, do specialized giveaways, invite breast cancer survivors to the games and the players wear special equipment for warm-ups.

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