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|| News Item: Posted 2007-08-20

Leading Off: Rummaging Through That Box In The Garage
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Myung J. Chun / Sports Shooter

Photo by Myung J. Chun / Sports Shooter

Robert Hanashiro models a collection from several photographers of various items given out at sports events that have sponsor logos, from Olympic vests and armbands to credential holders, lanyards to the credentials themselves.
It's amazing what you find in boxes in your garage.

You know, the things you get at events we cover like credentials, lanyards, credential holders, swag we thought was cool (at the time) and now just sits in a box in the garage? After hearing the complaints of photographers and publications over the NFL mandated "red vest policy" I got curious and dug through a boxful of "stuff" in my garage just to see what I could find.

Just like everyone else in our profession, I was dismayed and a bit angry that the NFL had instituted a league-wide policy requiring sideline still photographers to wear a bright red vest with not only the logo of the NFL on it, but also logos of two corporate sponsors, Canon and Reebok.

"Walking billboards" is what sideline photographers would become decried some. "Unethical" commented many because the vests were printed what amounted to an advertisement and broke a journalism tenet of not endorsing a product. "Screwing up the backgrounds" veteran football shooters bitched.

For me, I was thinking the last thing I wanted to wear was a non-breathing nylon vest over my clothes, blocking quick access to my gear and raising my body temperature another 10-degrees on a nice sunny and 80 day at QUALCOMM Stadium. It's a health and safety issue at least I moaned.


From a May memo sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to teams for distribution to local media:

Reduction in overall number on the sidelines
• NFL clubs must reduce the overall number of special guests and credentialed media with sideline access during games. Numbers of video personnel shooting for club-licensed shows (i.e., outside the pool feed system) will be taken into account in evaluating whether reductions in numbers are adequate. Clubs will work closely with media entities throughout this process and reduce by 20 percent from 2006 levels the overall number of media and non-media individuals with sideline access.

Vests for working personnel on the field
• To better identify personnel with an in-game working function on the sidelines, the home club PR department will provide for the distribution of red and black vests at each game.
• All still photographers will wear red vests while other on-field working personnel (local television video cameras, club-controlled cameras or those shooting for team programming, scoreboard cameras, etc,) will wear black vests. Network television will continue to wear its own self-supplied vests.
• The vests, which will be shipped to the clubs in time for use in the preseason should be collected after each game and redistributed at subsequent games.


So what about that bankers box you have in your garage with a careers' worth of credentials and other event paraphernalia?

I called a few of friends and had them look in the boxes in their garages to help me compile the list below.

DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I am not passing any judgments. I am not trying to make an editorial comment. I am not supporting the NFL's or any event or team's effort to place any logo on items the media is given to wear while covering them. And God-forbid I am not representing the company that employs me in my day job. I simply compiled a list of what we found:

• Summer Olympic "EP" vests with sponsor "KODAK" stitched on them. (These range from bib-style to "Domke"-type photo vests)
• Winter Olympic "EP" sleeves (bright orange) with sponsor "KODAK" printed on them.
(Note: The bright color of the sleeves often prompts TV producers to ask that photographers remove or bunch them up so they aren't so noticeable on screen.)
• Countless credentials printed with event sponsors like Budweiser, VISA, Nike, Reebok, Crocs, Bud Lite, In-N-Out, Kodak, etc. (The record: A heavyweight boxing credential with 6 different sponsors' logos on it.)
• Photographers' armbands printed with event sponsors (For instance the "Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament".)
• Photographers' bibs from events like track & field and soccer with large sponsors' logos on them (most notably NIKE).
• Canon monopod cover. (You know, the freebee ones that members sell on the classifieds for $50.)
• Credential lanyards embroidered with various sponsors' logos.
• Kodak kneepads.
• Nikon fanny pack.
• Fujifilm Domke vest.
• Bright orange towels with Anaheim Ducks and "The Orange County Register the official newspaper of the Anaheim Ducks".

Now mind you, as a veteran sports photographer challenged me while doing my researching, this isn't just photographers that receive items with corporate logos. "Go into any press box and check out what the sports writers and columnists are carrying around. There will probably be over two dozen different computer bags, garment bags, overnight bags and shaving kits with some event or team logo and (gasp) a corporate name!" he added.

The NFL's policy has prompted editorials by newspapers (most notably the Chicago Tribune), letters of protest (by the NPPA and APSE) and talks of boycotts.

However in a recent NPR piece, NFL Director of Communications Greg Aiello said that the league does not object to photographers covering up the sponsor logos on the red vests.

I have been approached by a couple of journalism organizations asking for help distributing stickers for photographers to use to cover up the sponsor logos on the sideline vests.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Roots, Crocs, VISA, Pacific Life, Budweiser, HBO, Staples Center and Pechanga Hotel & Casino are just a few event sponsors that had their logos on credentials and other things given to the media to wear.
I have to admit, when I first read about the NFL's sideline photographers' vests, I actually designed Sports Shooter and Sports Shooter Academy stickers. Fortunately reason and remembering what my job is prevailed.

A simple piece of gaffer's tape is all that is necessary And if you want to be fashionable, a red piece of gaffer's tape.

Personally, I think using pre-printed stickers could antagonize local team P.R. directors and stadium security personnel, acerbating this situation. I really see no purpose in taking steps that could provoke a reaction and cause a bad situation to get worse.

Isn't our job simply to cover events rather than make the news? I think using stickers printed with "Working Journalist" (or Sports Shooter for that matter) is a bad idea and is self-serving.

I think as journalist we should always take the high road and take common sense steps to satisfy our editors and our ethics.

A small, blank piece of gaffer's tape will do for me thank you.

* * *

Just a quick plug for the upcoming Sports Shooter Academy Boot Camp: There are still a few available openings in this cool workshop being held in Southern California Nov. 2- 3, 2007.

This workshop is a little bit of a departure for The Academy, two days rather than five and focusing not just on sports photography but also multimedia. Check out the story below for more info and a link to the application form.

* * *

We're less than 12 months away from the Beijing Summer Olympic Games. I have been reading as much as I can about China … mostly about food. Mr. Deutsch and Mr. Gruber can you say ROAST DUCK!

* * *

Our featured piece in this issue of Sports Shooter is about covering Barry Bonds breaking Henry Aaron's all-time home run record of 755. I just wanted to add a couple of my own observations and thoughts about Bonds and the home record.

It was a long, tiring trip, 4 cities and 11 games for me (read below for the locals that spent even more time on "Bonds Watch"). Hauling 3 - 600mm lenses, heavy tripod, 30-pounds of sandbags, 6 - Mark III camera bodies plus all of the rest of my usual gear was daunting and only manageable because of the help and support of many people.

Thanks to my colleague Jack Gruber, the Giants' Andy Kuno and Martha Jane Stanton, my editors back at USA TODAY for their patience, Chris Carlson for helping me pass the time in rightfield in LA and San Diego, my rabbi Bob Deutsch for listening to me bitch & moan and most of all to my assistant for six games Jordan Murph.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Summer reading
Often surly and unpopular with sports writers and fans outside of San Francisco, Bonds' reaction in the post-record setting moments were touching, emotional and understated (for him). Henry Aaron's surprise appearance on the JumboTron congratulating Bonds on breaking his record was classy … no matter the rumors the Giants paid Aaron to tape the message.

I am just a photographer. And a baseball fan. Think what you may about Bonds, the "clear," steroids and an asterisk next to the home run record. But for me, photographing homer #756 jump off Bonds' bat on a clear, cool evening in San Francisco, seeing him raise his arms in triumph at home and the reaction of the fans in the background will always be a career highlight.

* * *

Sports Shooter issue #103 features a look back on covering Barry Bonds' slow march to and then breaking the Major League's career home run record. Brad Mangin reflects on his years of covering Bonds including homers 755 and 756 and relays thoughts and experiences from Justin Sullivan, Deanne Fitzmaurice, Rich Pilling, John Burgess, Eric Risberg, Andy Kuno and Martha Jane Stanton.

Nick Layman's regular column discusses your next steps after you've bought that audio recorder. You've heard the term "lighting in a bag," if you want more power, Jordan Murph writes about "Dyna-Lite in a backpack."

Former NBA executive Terry Lyons looks back at highlights of his career. Our regular equipment column "Photographers Toy Box" returns and Troy Harvey writes about Brooks Institute's recent "Holgamania".

Summer reading on my night table currently includes Anthony Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones"; "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad and "Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson" by Peter Ames Carlin (thanks Bob!).

My iTunes play lists for the last week: "The Police" (2 CD anthology); "Rock School: Music From And Inspired By The Original Motion Picture" performances by the Paul Green School of Rock Music (special guests include: Greg Rollie, Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Ann Wilson and Stewart Copeland) and "iTunes essentials Spice Girls".


As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Reed Hoffmann, Paul Myers, Nick Layman and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Terry Lyons, Jordan Murph and Troy Harvey.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

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