A Response to the Bieber Carpet Logo Treading Incident

Let me start by saying this post is in no way an endorsement of the one they call “Biebs,” and it is in no way a show of support by me for the Canadian singer.

Now, to clarify: Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks’ senior director of communications and community relations Brandon Faber released a statement addressing a situation involving Justin Bieber and his recent stop in Chicago (his tour was rolling through town) to pose with the Stanley Cup. While in the Blackhawks locker room, the Biebs allegedly made one of the biggest mistakes of his young life and walked on the giant logo in the middle of the room.

Andrew Shaw tweeted out some photographic evidence of the “incident.”

First, the statement:

Bieber was very excited to see the Stanley Cup when he entered our locker room last night. As frequently happens with guests into our room, Justin inadvertantly stepped on the team logo on the floor but moved off quickly once immediately reminded. He was apologetic and understanding of the tradition but continued to take photos with the Cup and some young fans. He was extremely genuine and kind with his time. We appreciate his enthusiasm towards hockey and wish him well with the remainder of his tour.

Now, for the reaction.

I’ve had the privilege, thanks to various internships, to walk into a few professional sports locker rooms before, during, and after practices, games, and even during a (short) playoff run. Before I even set foot in one, I was made fully aware of the tradition that most professional sports teams have, where the team logo, usually found in the middle of the room, is like sacred ground. For some, no one should set foot (wrapped in leather or bare-toed) on the cushion-y section of floor; in other locker rooms it’s only allowed if you’re a member of the organization who calls that place home; still others could give two shits.

My question is, if you want to honor your team’s logo, can’t you think of a better way of doing it other than emblazoning 75% of the locker room floor with said logo? I can’t even begin to tell you how many acrobatic moves I (along with the other medials there during the 2010 playoffs) had to pull off in the old Mellon Arena to avoid defacing the Pens logo in the middle of the floor. The locker room was tiny as hell to begin with—25′ x 25′ at best—and the logo took up about a good quarter of that. I’ve gotta tell you though, while the rest of the arena was falling apart around us, that little slice of carpet looked probably exactly as it did when the Igloo opened in 1967.

The purpose of laying carpet down in a room is to be able to walk comfortably from one end of the room to the other. We don’t lay carpet to not step on it. Imagine going to a family function for a party where 90 people are expected to show (God bless your Italian soul), making your way to the living room built to hold maybe 40 people (let’s face it, most people are going to be outback or in the kitchen anyway, and your uncle wasn’t thoughtful enough to move the furniture around to maximize the space), seeing a giant logo—most likely an image of their first born—in the middle of the room, and being squeezed to the outside. That space for 40 just shrank to a space for 20, everyone’s on top of each other, and no one’s having a good time, except Aunt Minnie who has the whole damn couch to herself. That’s what it’s like when 40 press people squeeze into a room trying to get their mic’s and voice recorders in, say, Syndey Crosby’s face, while Sid sits on the bench in front of his locker and everyone’s trying to avoid the logo directly behind them.

Such a pain in the ass.

So, while I understand why a team would be upset with someone stepping on their ill-placed logo, I’m putting the ownness on the teams for deciding to put their damn logos on the floor to begin with. Stop making life difficult for the working men just trying to get a few quotes for their stories that need to be logged in the next hour. It’s causes so much unnecessary drama, and I don’t even want to begin to speculate about how much higher the odds of injury are for sports journalists with a no-treading-on-the-logo policy. How about moving it to the ceiling where no one’s stinky feet will walk?

On a completely related note: Don’t these people—athletes and executives alike—have more important things to worry about than whose black Nike’s stepped on a logo?

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