comscore Here's hoping this is the end of the nickname squabble | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Further Review | Sports

Here’s hoping this is the end of the nickname squabble

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay will be at Pearl Ridge Elementary on Thursday. So show up with your signs and your petition and your speeches, fans of the nickname Warriors, all by its lonesome. Maybe bring in June Jones by Skype. There are 13 years of Warriors football and volleyball players to draw from. Can you organize a group of at least 50 people like the Rainbows advocates assembled a couple of weeks ago?

Fair is fair, and you have until July 1.

Because, hey — if Jay changed his mind after being so sure he was making the right move once, he can do it again, right?

Somehow, I don’t think that is going to happen. And I really don’t want it to.

Do any of us really wish to see yet another chapter in this fiasco? It really is time to focus on the real work of raising funds, selling tickets, improving facilities and building winning teams and rebuilding the fan base.

THE NAME Rainbow Warriors is good for University of Hawaii sports. I also like free speech and the right to assemble and all that.

I was sure, too, that Warriors, alone, was a done deal and was OK with it. But I was wrong that the Rally4Rainbows would be futile and just a symbolic gesture of closure. I’m happy for everyone who is happy with the new, old nickname. Many of you are, many of you are not.

Also like many of you, I was impressed that the new athletic director made what seemed to be a strong decision on a long festering issue and appeared to be holding firm. Now the question is if we are to respect Jay more for having the guts to change his decision instead of being stubborn, or to hold him in less regard for being wishy-washy.

I’m leaning toward the former, because open-mindedness and flexibility are virtues, especially with a sensitive and tenuous fan base. He has shown he is receptive and adaptable.

But in the world of sports business that Jay also operates, strength of will is a must. Much of his job involves negotiating and making deals on behalf of UH, and in effect all of us who pay taxes here, fans or not. You want someone who will stick to his guns for you, someone who projects unwavering consistency.

Was Jay pressured into reversing his field by political or financial supporters? One of my best UH sources said, "perhaps political, I doubt financial."

However this might affect the bottom line and however overdue it might be, perhaps most of us can agree it is a good compromise that embodies some of our best cultural values. "Rainbow" for diversity and unity, "Warrior" for fighting spirit. Despite what some have said, the two can co-exist.

The best stuff almost always happens before the camera rolls, and baseball coach Mike Trapasso was on fire at Tuesday’s press conference.

"What are we now? … I’m very pleased we are the Hawaii Seagulls," he deadpanned.

"The important thing is that we’re all the same," Trapasso added in a more serious tone. "Hopefully it’s an end to this dialogue that I’ve been hearing as long as I’ve been here, 12 years."

Now, will some of the Rainbow fans alienated by the deletion of that part of the name from the football team in 2000 return to the fold? Maybe even buy those season tickets they gave up?

"It’s hard to say how much because of the (elderly) age of some," Rainbow rally organizer Stephen Chinen said. "But I know with the buzz and everything it’s got to help."


Reach Dave Reardon at or 529-4783.

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up