After today we’re done with the silliest debate in the history of college sports, right? If not, somebody please stick pencils into my eyeballs to take my mind off it.
Rally 4 Rainbows? That’s cool. Emotional closure.
Letter from members of the Letterwinners Club? Too little, too late.
Keep Rainbows in your heart and on your retro gear and in your chants all you want. I’m not gonna tell Al Noga, Derek Tatsuno, Bob Nash, Bill Kwon or Uncle Myron that they’re not Rainbows.
But the battle for the official name was lost a decade ago because too few cared enough or had the courage to challenge June Jones. The only people I remember standing up to him on this were Joe Moore and Kalani Simpson. But no organized effort.
Too many were mesmerized by the greatest turnaround in college football history. People were wearing “June Jones for Governor” shirts.
If you really feel a need for a bad guy in this, it’s not Ben Jay. He’s just finishing the job.
If you’re happy with Warriors, think of it like baseball pitchers: Jones gets the win, Jim Donovan the hold and Jay the save. And talk about extra innings — 13 years. The War on Warriors has gone on longer than the War on Terror.
As I’ve noted before, I’m among those who would have preferred Rainbow Warriors over the new nom de guerre. Back when I was in high school, I was a fan of the ’Bows.
But I get it about branding and marketing. And we’re way past the point of no return. Most of the teams are already Warriors, and have been since 2000.
It took a guy from outside to do something about it. Donovan was always too worried about upsetting people, and that created gridlock.
This decision is the kind of thing Jay was brought in to do. To look ahead, not back. To be decisive.
The two most high-profile pro-Rainbows voices right now, rally organizer Stephen Chinen and Letterwinners Club president K. Mark Takai, are both actually warriors, having served in the Army in Iraq.
I admire their fighting spirit, and most of the interaction has been cordial.
But parts of the Letterwinners letter to Jay — which accuses him of being inaccessible (that’s got to be a joke) — are condescending and more than vaguely threatening.
“We want to focus on fundraising and alumni support, however, our Board continues to struggle with understanding your priorities.”
What does that mean? If Rainbows isn’t restored, the club is going to take its ball and go home?
And Jay has made his priorities extremely clear: student-athlete welfare, facilities improvement, fundraising and long-term positioning of the overall program.
Now’s a good time to remember Takai is a state representative and member of the higher education committee … and a good friend of ousted AD Donovan.
Several UH insiders tell me there’s been no pushback from big-dollar donors on the nickname issue.
I look forward to many more years of the RAIN-BOWS chant, but I don’t think I can stand one more salvo in the Rainbows vs. Warriors debate. It’s over.
Finally, now, let’s put a ’Bow on this. The last word really should come from a former Rainbow Warrior football player.
“I wonder if Mark Takai ever denied a constituent a meeting because he made up his mind and felt a meeting was not necessary?!? What a waste of news time,” defensive tackle Marvis Tauala posted.
“We’re still talking about the UH Name? I’m for GO GO HAWAII KIKAIDAS!!!! Is that taking it to the good-old days? Will it make us win more games? Probably not! Stand your ground Ben Jay!”
Yup. Pau already. Long time ago.
Reach Dave Reardon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 529-4783 or on Twitter as @dave_reardon.