Fans of Boston sports right now are pretty lucky to have the type of teams we have in this area to follow. There is a real passion to being of fan of Boston sports. However, over the past several years I have noticed certain fans being labeled negatively for their perceived level of commitment to the teams. We are all fans, and we should all be embraced. Their should be no more labels on Boston sports fans.
Many fans since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 have been labeled as "Pink Hats." This term negatively describes fans that are thought of as jumping on the bandwagon, and are not true fans.
The Red Sox started marketing "pink hats," and other pink sportswear around the 2004 season. It is pretty obvious that the gear was targeted to women. I actually thought it was nice to see the color, and that many female fans were wearing it. It made me think well of Red Sox management for giving these sports fans something that was their own. I didn't have a problem with the hat at all.
Unfortunately, over the last several years the term "pink hat" came about to describe a fan that just wants to look fashionable, and is supposedly not a real fan. I really don't like this term at all, and do find it offensive to the fans that are called it.
In this article from the Boston Globe in 2008, writer Kate M. Jackson discusses the Pink Hat controversy through the eyes of Anne Houseman. Here is an excerpt from the Globe article below in which Jackson discusses how the pink hat is portrayed.
Next to Yankees caps and Giants jerseys, the pink Red Sox cap has become the most polarizing piece of clothing a Bostonian can wear. Fans of the hats think they're simply a cute way to show their love for the Sox. Haters say pink-hat owners are latecomers who only support the Sox because it's suddenly cool - even fashionable - to do so. Pink-hat wearers haven't suffered sufficiently, they reason. No one suffers in pink.
This term is used often by Boston sports media members, and the majority of them find it harmless, and just a way to describe a certain type of fan. I called into a sports radio show recently to discuss the topic. I let them know that some fans do not like the term pink hats. I was then yelled at for 5 minutes, and lectured to their point, that it is a term to describe a bandwagon fan.
These sports media members are not getting the point. Why are we labeling fans at all? I am no different than anyone else who is a fan of a team I support. I am not a special fan. We are all fans of the Boston sports, and no fan should be singled out.
We should also be encouraging more people to become fans of our sports teams. On twitter that is exactly what I do. If a follower wants to know more about Boston sports, I will do anything I can to increase their enjoyment of these teams.
We shouldn't be excluding fans, or pointing out what type of fan they are.We are all lucky to live here in the Boston area, and experience the sports teams on a daily basis. Why can't someone from anywhere just be a fan of our teams without labeling them?
I have twitter followers of Boston sports as far away as the UK and Australia. Should they be labeled or excluded because they don't live here? The answer to that question is absolutely not!
Some fans want to label others, because they think they are somehow better. I hate to break the bad news to them but they are not.
In the past I have called myself a die-hard Boston sports fan. I certainly will not do that anymore. I was wrong to single myself out as somehow special.
Maybe you think I am making a big deal out of nothing. I don't think so. I have heard the way fans have used the term pink hats, and it has been used very negatively to describe supposedly a certain fan.
It is time to stop using labels to describe Boston sports fans, and instead feel fortunate that we have the ability to be a fan of such great teams.
You can follow me on twitter at Russ_Goldman .