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Warriors or Rainbows? Let the people decide

For Saturday, May 4, 2013

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 01:44 a.m. HST, May 04, 2013

For those who remember the Honolulu Stadium days when the University of Hawaii played its football games in Moiliili and rainbows could be glimpsed arching over the Manoa Valley, there is an enduring attachment to the nickname.

"Rainbows" recalls a time when "branding" was something done to cattle, not universities. And this moniker eloquently spoke to the unique diversity and the beauty of the state the school represented.

History tells us it was coined by some of the prescient minds of the time, sportswriters, who knew a fortuitous sign when they saw one emerging in a season-ending 1923 upset of Oregon State, the first victory over what would now be known as a Bowl Championship Series opponent.

Legend, history, imagination, exclusivity ... "Rainbows" quickly dislodged "Fighting Deans" and seemingly touched all the bases for three-quarters of a century. At least until it was straight-armed to a reduced role 13 years ago in a marketing blitz given a push by homophobic fears.

In the interim, "Warriors" has grown on a younger fan base, the kapa "H" has been embraced, merchandise sales have climbed.

And the resulting mishmash of Warriors/Rainbows/Rainbow Warriors/ Rainbow Wahine for UH has proven unwieldy and confusing. Athletic director Ben Jay was correct on this point: It begs for resolution.

So give UH what it needs, a definitive ruling, while providing stakeholders (fans, alums, etc.) with what they want, a say-so in the decision. Give us a once-and-for-all-time nickname referendum.

With every ticket used, every merchandise item purchased, every donation made, every pay-per-view bought in the fall, provide one online vote, posting results periodically.

Give people a reason to engage or, in a sign of the sadly empty grandstand times, re-engage, with UH.

This, of course, would be new ground at UH. Instead of the time-honored practice of hiring a research firm to tell UH what its target audience wants, go straight to the people themselves. Instead of forming a committee of high rollers, another well-worn Manoa pastime, or holding an executive seance, deputize the rank and file.

Tap into the considerable passions out there. People might shrug their shoulders about whether basketball coach Gib Arnold should get a contract extension, but it is the rare sports fan without an opinion on the school's nicknames. They might not march on Bachman Hall, but judging from call-in shows and online comments, they are not without strong feelings.

Let Joe Moore exhort his followers and bring June Jones back to rally the Warrior Nation, deciding it at the ballot box.

The fact that, after 13 years, the controversy over the nickname still festers and, after three months, the latest dictum still rankles, says something. It suggests that no matter how much the nickname issue should go away, it isn't.

Ultimately, UH can live with "Warriors" or "Rainbows" -- whatever the public chooses.

What it can't afford is protracted internecine squabbling over an issue that should have been put to rest a long time ago.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com or 529-4820.

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aomori wrote:
Great story. I vote for Rainbow Warriors for men's teams and Rainbow Wahine for women's teams.
on May 4,2013 | 05:10AM
joewilly wrote:
That's the problem! You don't get it. The school needs to be unified under one name. At USC, and every other school in the nation, both mens and women's teams have the same name(Trojans). We are the only dummies with two names. It's confusing, silly, and impossible to market.
on May 4,2013 | 06:41AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 07:56AM
mplatte wrote:
The nickname warriors and the symbol of the kapa "H" has improved sales and following as pointed out in the article. That translates to a bigger fan base. In the end, that's all that matters
on May 4,2013 | 09:00AM
jkjones wrote:
the fanbase has shrunk--so has your wistful thesis.
on May 4,2013 | 09:04AM
aja wrote:
Long Beach State baseball team are the "Dirt Bags"
on May 4,2013 | 11:01AM
aja wrote:
The women are known as the Women of Troy
on May 4,2013 | 10:59AM
harpazosoon wrote:
There you go! Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine. The logo is another issue though. Jagged edged "H" has replaced the still familiar Rainbow.
on May 5,2013 | 06:01PM
udabest wrote:
warriors is just fine and I've been a rainbow since vietnam 1968. suck it up and get over it. what's best for UH may not be best for your wants
on May 4,2013 | 03:42PM
hunebasami wrote:
We pay the money so let us choose. They pay the money let them choose.
on May 4,2013 | 05:11AM
mplatte wrote:
So because you shop at a store you should be able to choose their slogans and marketing symbols? Give me a break!
on May 4,2013 | 08:57AM
udabest wrote:
ferd, while we're at it, let s vote for rail again! since everytime you disagree with policymakers decision...LETS VOTE!
on May 4,2013 | 03:58PM
WarriORduck wrote:
Been following this topics for a while now and all I can say is go support your athletic teams no matter what nickname you prefer. IMO, majority of UH fans are either fair weather fans at best or just want to throw stones at the university for whatever reason. Point being, I wouldn't let the "fan base" decide. Let y'all AD do his job, fans and beat writers shouldn't pretend they can do better.
on May 4,2013 | 05:16AM
bleedgreen wrote:
In choosing one or the other, there are winners and losers, so make a drastic change that everyone will hate. Make the new nickname the "Vikings."
on May 4,2013 | 05:38AM
OldDiver wrote:
How about "The Wild Boars".
on May 4,2013 | 07:25AM
bleedgreen wrote:
At the same time, introduce orange and green as the new school colors.
on May 4,2013 | 05:40AM
mishtah wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 05:46AM
dopaco24 wrote:
60 people showed up at the rally, an event that was set up months out. They couldn't even get 400 people to sign the petition that required 500 names. That shows how much people care about the Rainbows.
on May 4,2013 | 06:42AM
Allenk wrote:
If you look at the picture, many of the "Rainbow" supporters fall into the more mature crowd. If we want to be a more hip, aggressive and terrifying opponent, then maybe we should retain the "warrior" moniker.
on May 4,2013 | 02:01PM
pjb wrote:
Ferd give it a rest. Pau already
on May 4,2013 | 06:33AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yup! Sounds like Ferd was looking for readers. Stick a fork in it, it's done. Go Warriors!
on May 4,2013 | 07:09AM
roninsensei wrote:
Let's level the entire athletic complex and go back with portable building like it was in the past, because it's tradition. Put up some rickty bleachers and replace the baseball stadium, because that's the tradition of the baseball team. WHile their at it, level Aloha Stadium and put up wooden bleachers at old Stadium park so UH can play its football games there, because it's tradition. Yeah, the good ole days!!
on May 4,2013 | 06:35AM
OldDiver wrote:
You forgot the boiled peanuts.
on May 4,2013 | 07:26AM
psimmons wrote:
Should have been put to rest a long time ago? The baseball team has always been Rainbows. Rainbow baseball. NEVER the Warriors. Baseball fans deserve a chance to dispute the AD's unilateral decision to rename their team. Ben Jay was quoted as saying "We will start new traditions." Can anyone have a bigger ego?
on May 4,2013 | 07:06AM
psimmons wrote:
Or be more arrogant?
on May 4,2013 | 07:24AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 07:27AM
Allenk wrote:
I saw where Steve McGarret of Hawaii Five-O was the starting quarterback for Kukui High School. Home of the fighting "Nuts?"
on May 4,2013 | 02:04PM
bleedgreen wrote:
No, that's Ohio St.
on May 4,2013 | 09:52PM
WarriORduck wrote:
You answered your own question there, as a "Rainbow" baseball fan you obviously think you are entitled to prevent change. News flash pops...change is the name of the game at UH right now. If you aren't on board, don't watch.
on May 4,2013 | 07:40AM
DanLBoom wrote:
Ben Jay. Stay the course Ben .Imua Brah!!. Do not fold. June Jones tried too let's get the job done once and for all!! Tired of explaining to my friends on the mainland,when asked" How are the Rianbows doing this year"??"And How are those Warriors". ..Good grief Show your Mana Ben!!.. IMUA WARRIORS.
on May 4,2013 | 07:25AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 07:58AM
WarriORduck wrote:
There's no confusion except for your choice of words and sentence structure... On a bigger scale the kapaa "H" is far more accepted and recognizable in the mainland for the University of Hawaii than the "UH" rainbow. This plays big for merchandise and recruiting. It's unfortunate that some parts of the nation are still ignorant and misconstrued the rainbow image strictly as representing homosexual connotations, but that's the truth. Started school as a Warrior, graduated a Duck... I'd rather wear my "H" than rock my "O". Just looks cooler IMO. But absolutely no chance you'll catch me wearing the "UH" rainbow shirt wear I live in the mainland.
on May 4,2013 | 08:37AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 12:39PM
PabloWegesend wrote:
A lot of 18-yr olds do base their decisions on the university's image. That's politically incorrect reality!
on May 4,2013 | 12:57PM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on May 4,2013 | 01:22PM
WarriORduck wrote:
I truly hope you don't think others are that ignorant to think a recruit would base the WHOLE decision of attending a school on a mascot or nickname.. We are saying that it just factors, get it? Or don't. Go Warriors!!
on May 4,2013 | 05:32PM
WarriORduck wrote:
OMG Another "UH fan" attempting to pass thier opinion as truth. Come get a fresh eye from the outside point of view, might bring things into perspective. I think you (like too many others) are too emotionally attached to the topic to understand what others are saying.
on May 4,2013 | 05:26PM
psimmons wrote:
I love it when Warrior supporters say 'IMUA WARRIORS'…makes me think of Kamehameha Schools first.
on May 4,2013 | 09:54AM
bumby2day wrote:
How many of you folks is a Graduate of the University of Hawaii?
on May 4,2013 | 07:52AM
WarriORduck wrote:
Bump :)
on May 4,2013 | 08:14AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Grew up close by, went to school there, worked there part time! The University of Hawaii is my "Home Team" Go Warriors!
on May 4,2013 | 08:33AM
rigormortis wrote:
Yup, move on. You can still use "Bows" among your peers, and still make your own signs and shirts.
on May 4,2013 | 07:54AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Gotta let the community "own it". Right now, UH is as about as far away from that as it could possibly be on most fronts, top to bottom, campus and system wide. Greenwood, Apple, Hinshaw, Jay, Arnold, Trepasso, Chow. The faces off UH.
on May 4,2013 | 08:01AM
krusha wrote:
The people have decided, and they don't want Rainbows. Give it a rest already.
on May 4,2013 | 08:54AM
CriticalReader wrote:
What a foolish comment. A person has decided, or at least that's the way it looks (and appearance and perception is everything). The "people" have apparently NOT decided. That's why the outcry. Comments and attitudes like the one directly above are the reason UH is swirling down the bowl, not going to one.
on May 4,2013 | 09:07AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Who ever said that this was supposed to be decided by the people? The man was given the job to run and promote UH Athletics. He developed a plan and needed to Label the Name, in order to market products etc. He met with his advisors and after much thought made a decision. The decision was made in the best interest of UH Athleteics. Personally, I don't like Warriors, and I never liked Rainbows. I would have preferred Fighting Deans. But I respect his decision and it's time to move forward. Go Warriors!
on May 4,2013 | 11:49AM
9ronboz wrote:
Go Warriors!
on May 4,2013 | 09:08AM
jimmyhouse67 wrote:
Sorry, just seems somewhat minor on which to base a discussion topic. It's a name of a sports teams. I'm pretty sure that the sun will come up tomorrow and all your lives will go on the same way without any interruption so it's not a big deal. It is what it is and if they were to be called the Golden Pueo's, Rainbows, Warriors, Monkeys, etc. I will still cheer just the same for the teams. Go Rainbows, Go Fighting Deans, Go Warriors and of course the Rainbow Wahine.
on May 4,2013 | 10:09AM
WarriORduck wrote:
(Applause) True sports fan right there ^
on May 4,2013 | 10:35AM
paintslinger wrote:
For those of you who are hyper-'warriors' nickname fans need to reflect a little on why the change in name happened in the first place. June Jones, did not feel it was 'manly or tough enough, or something, therefore he took it upon himself to drop the 'rainbow'. Got it now? In addition to this, the homosexual lobby adopted the rainbow symbol as their own and have been scaring the s---t out of every straight guy in America who might like anything multi-colored. So now the concept of 'tough' is black, tough lacks color, tough is dark and foreboding and this has been successfully marketed here in Hawaii, and no doubt other places. This is particularly stupid in my eyes as Im a working artist, I paint pictures for a living...pretty multi-colored paintings with oil paint...and you know what? I dont feel my masculinity is threatened in the least...and i still think rainbows are beautiful, and are distinctive to the image in this beautiful cultlure we live in......dark, foreboding, colorless and dour is certainly not! Its the antithesis of Hawaii, in my humble opinion. So our AD should rethink what he's doing regarding the change. By the way, whats the problem with 'Rainbow Warriors'? No one has been able to tell me. It was successfully marketed that way for decades....now all of a sudden its bad? supposedly complicates the branding of our University football team? Thats a load of crap. Rainbow warrior fan forever.
on May 4,2013 | 10:05AM
jimmyhouse67 wrote:
Hey was a UH band member from 1980 - 1989? Wow, talk about the 10 year plan. :-)
on May 4,2013 | 10:24AM
aja wrote:
Warrior is Kamehameha. UH???..... It's Rainbows!!!.... Let's go BOWS!!!!!.......
on May 4,2013 | 11:08AM
aja wrote:
Buckeye Ben...... Just another guy talking to a few money people and politicians. So what else is new? He's no different than any other AD we've had in the past.
on May 4,2013 | 11:23AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Yup! He has ba@*s and can make decisions. So, thank heaven, he is not like the others.
on May 4,2013 | 11:51AM
aja wrote:
Buckeye Ben.............. Just another guy from the mainland talking to a few money people and politicians. So what else is new???... He's no different from any other past AD we've had.
on May 4,2013 | 11:16AM
toobn wrote:
A mere 60 people showed up at the Rainbow Rally. The masses have spokent. GO WARRIORS!!!
on May 4,2013 | 12:08PM
jrboi96786 wrote:
WARRIORS!!! Nothing against gay people... I am not associating rainbow with gay people but the rainbow thing is pretty gay and lame.
on May 4,2013 | 12:28PM
jrboi96786 wrote:
Ferd... YOURE GAY!!!
on May 4,2013 | 12:29PM
Bishop5 wrote:
Go Warriors
on May 4,2013 | 12:36PM
PabloWegesend wrote:
My solution for UH team nicknames ? Men's teams will be Kane Warriors! Women's teams will be Wahine Warriors. Notice the gender equity for calling all teams Warriors! As for the rainbows, save it for retro night!
on May 4,2013 | 12:59PM
HawaiiDawg wrote:
Ferd is right. Let everyone have a say in it. There is a HUGE difference between what happened with June and now. When June did it, it was for the football program. Fans could still show up at basketball and baseball games rooting for the Rainbows. That goes out the window July 1. Ben Jay came in and said in the paper they were thinking about making a decision on it and said he would have to talk to the appropriate people and all that and then ONE DAY LATER, announces a decision. Did he talk to those people? Yeah right. This is a big deal and the people of Hawaii, past and present, should get a legitimate say in it.
on May 4,2013 | 01:29PM
udabest wrote:
Let the guy do his job. Does ambercrombie, hanabusa, obama get paid to make the hard decision? Or be second guessed and questioned by the mob to take a vote? C'mon Ferd, you disappoint me. Requesting to vote to resolve the issue is a cop out, lacks in accountability and provides no confidence in the integrity of the leader. hang tough ben, its now about your courage and integrity NOT the nickname. don't be bullied or give in to the minority interests....
on May 4,2013 | 04:37PM
NYUH wrote:
I like the name Kane Warriors but people from the mainland with think Sugar Cane and call them the Cane Warriors.
on May 4,2013 | 01:53PM
RCHamakua wrote:
This is the stupidest article I have ever read by Lewis. All he is doing is trying to create more ambiguity so he can write some more untimely articles. The decision has already been made. Did you miss the decision and the memo? Or are you ticked because no one gave you the inside story and your ego is bruised? I do not care about June, Joe Moore, Jim Donovan, Mack, Norm, or Hawaii 5-0, and all your buddy sports reporters who did not get the memo.....it is done. The guy hired to make these decision made a decision and you are ticked he did ask your permission or your vote. Grow up....move on. Write an article about how great it is someone is actually making decision at UH.
on May 4,2013 | 03:25PM
paintslinger wrote:
Ferd Lewis is using this to 'create more ambiguity'? Thats rich..what are you a literary critic? oh, by the way, its not done. Far from it. Changing the logo rubbed alot of people the wrong way...and now they want to be heard. Something wrong with that?
on May 4,2013 | 04:17PM
Graham wrote:
Questions: 1. Is the UH rainbow Logo a Trademark Logo? 2. If a company produces merchadise with the UH Rainbow logo will that the company be sued for trademark infringement?
on May 4,2013 | 04:09PM
RainbowWarriors wrote:
I'm Steve Chinen, da guy inspired by Dave Reardon's 2/15 column to not just grumble, but to do something, to unify the thousands of individual rainbow voices. Ironically, it felt like Dave stabbed me in the back with his column yesterday; I know it wasn't personal, but that's how it felt. I'm in agreement with everything you pointed out, Ferd. Ditto, re: the weekly Hawaiian language column on page A8. Synopsis: "Rainbow" should be a part of the University of Hawaii's nickname. And kudos for a third article in today's paper (page B2), whereby Farrington High's (my Alma Mater) Gay-Straight Alliance Club has won a national award. (An aside: many people tell me to "get over it, already." My response: "If you're a homophobic, that's something you need to get over with, already." As I stated at yesterday's rally, Mr. Ben Jay was gracious to grant me a 15 minute meeting with him in his office on April 2. Our "meeting" even extended to 30 minutes; I write the word "meeting" in quotation marks, however, because Mr. Jay dominated the conversation, giving me little chance to present my case for Rainbows. Finally, when I asked him, "What would it take to change your mind?" he replied, "Nothing." He went on to elaborate how he's bringing a different kind of leadership to UH; how his strong leadership style will get things done and (even if he were to now agree with the Rainbows name) he wouldn't change his mind, lest he appear weak and wishy-washy, something he cannot afford to do as a strong leader. This is where he's confusing "leader" with "dictator." Our meeting ended shortly thereafter; in fact, it was I who initiated bringing the meeting to an end with a simple sentence, "Well,we agree to disagree." I proceeded to remind him of our upcoming May 3rd rally, requesting his presence, and assuring him it was not going to be a negative protest rally shouting and putting him down; rather, it would be an informative and education-type rally whose purpose was to let him see and hear the reasoning and passion behind the name Rainbows. I followed up with an email on April 7. In that 4/7 email, I also stated my concept of leadership to him. I acknowledged never having been in a high-profile position as he, with all the pressure that comes with it. I am a student of leadership, however, having studied it and having read many biographies of leaders during my undergraduate classes at UH in Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and American Studies. I also have direct experience with military leadership, having served three years of Marine Corps active duty from 1972-5 and 21 years of National Guard/Army Reserve duty from 1992 to the present (including two tours of active duty mobilization with the Army Reserve, with the first one including a year of deployment in Iraq and the second one being two years of active duty at Schofield). In the military -- and especially so in a combat environment -- leaders need to be as Mr. Jay believes. Even when having personal doubt about a mission, a leader cannot afford to be seen as weak or wishy-washy, lest the Soldiers/Marines under his charge fail to give it their all in accomplishing that mission. Otherwise, a failed mission is the result, and all the subsequent consequences. "Warriors" vs "Rainbow Warriors" is not a life and death combat situation, however, and Mr. Jay needs to be more flexible with his leadership style. Furthermore, a TRUE leader knows no one, including himself, is 100% correct all the time and will therefore, when circumstances warrant it, be willing to change his mind and not worry about appearing wishy-washy. Indeed, if one explains his change of mind, 95% of the people will respect him even more! Show me someone who disagrees with this model of leadership, and I will show you someone who doesn't really know the subject. Now is the time for Mr. Jay to exercise true leadership, to delay implementing his decision (as the Letterwinners Club have asked him to do) and to adopt the suggestion made by Ferd Lewis in this morning's paper. THANK YOU to all who have read my comment in its entirety. Aloha no, steve
on May 4,2013 | 04:40PM
Loki wrote:
Yes, let the people decide. The Warriors and the 'H' logo would win.
on May 4,2013 | 09:06PM
MYC wrote:
We VOTE by our feet, pocketbook, and who we think we are... Ferd Lewis gives us a simple and inclusive proposal, VOTE!!! let the silent majority vote and then we can all ACCEPT the final verdict, no matter what side we favor...the key here is this would be an inclusive process, not exclusive, and we can live with something we disagree about if we know that our voices were heard and LISTENED to...we live in Hawai'i and aloha is our foundation, aloha is universal and transcends cuture, beliefs and materialsim...if we truly look to the source of who we are, the answers will come and we will become one with each other, stronger, united and powerful!!! let's be courageouos and do the right pono way, we will come to understand that we are ALL connected and can do some magnificent things if we are of one mind and heart...go warriors, go bows, go UH!
on May 5,2013 | 12:08AM
bumba wrote:
It's too late to vote. Jay's made his decision and won't change because of, you guessed it, MONEY. Five will get you ten that merchandisers have already started printing shirts, hats and everything else.
on May 5,2013 | 05:22AM
RainbowWarriors wrote:
Mr. Jay, per his response to the Letterwinners' position, is hiding behind the skirt of former coach June Jones. Instead of, as he says, finishing the decision made 13 years ago, Mr Jay needs to show courage and true leadership by CORRECTING that stupid decision. He would come to this courageous decision if he displayed true leadership and LISTENED to ALL PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT THE NAME. signed Steve Chinen
on May 5,2013 | 09:55PM
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