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Let fans celebrate how they want

Criticize the kit all you want, but please don't take it out on fans who want to wear it proudly.

Last Updated
2 min read

The Seattle Sounders’ new “Community Kit” officially dropped on Wednesday and I have to admit that I was prepared to be pretty underwhelmed. Thanks to various leaks and teasers, we all knew it was going to be an homage to martial arts legend Bruce Lee, that it was going to have dragon imagery and that it was going to prominently feature red.

Yet, seeing it fully unveiled with all the promotional material left me pretty impressed. The details on the jersey all pop, the story resonates and there’s even a “lifestyle” line and charity component that go along with it. Pulling it all together is a really well done hype video that features local filmmaker and lion dancer Han Eckelberg.

And yet, I know a lot of people are going to feel very conflicted about buying this jersey. I am not going to rehash the whole argument about Providence here, but for the sake of this story I’ll just say that I think there are totally justifiable reasons not to want to make yourself into a walking advertisement for a healthcare company that has very questionable billing and model-of-care practices.

I don’t know if it’s a majority of Sounders fans who are bothered or just a majority of the feedback I receive, but there’s definitely a sizable group who feel this way and presumably feel strongly enough about it that they will stage some sort of protest which might include everything from refusing to buy the jersey to boycotting games to just loudly making their displeasure known. I think it’s all totally fine.

Where I’d like to draw the line, though, is in criticizing fellow fans who do choose to buy this jersey and to wear it proudly. For some fans, it’s simply because they like the design but there are others who are going to feel seen in a way that I don’t think is always obvious. I’ll just let my friend and podcast producer explain:

It’s not everyday that we can find elements of fandom that feel as though they speak directly to us. The least we can do is to allow fans to celebrate those aspects wherever they find them.

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