Update: Hardy Nickerson says this story is not true.
Chris Sale is currently in the news for reportedly using some scissors to cut up throwback uniforms he didn’t like. That’s a bit of a drastic reaction to one-time clothing, but the interesting thing is that this is not a first. It prompted Uni Watch to dig up an old interview with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers equipment manager Frank Pupello, who noted that Hardy Nickerson single-handedly prevented the Bucs from wearing orange-on-orange uniforms for the final game of the 1995 season.
"The fans had voted on it. The team had a food drive -- you were supposed to bring in a canned food item, and they had two barrels set up to receive the food. One barrel had a picture of a uniform with an orange jersey and orange pants, and one had and orange jersey with white pants. So the fans voted by where they deposited the food. And the orange-on-orange won in a landslide. ... I had the orange pants all laid out in the lockers and everything. And some of the players were all excited about it. But [linebacker] Hardy Nickerson said, 'I ain't gonna play this game if I gotta wear orange pants with my orange jersey. I don't like it.' And Coach gave in. So one guy vetoed the whole thing."
That’s kind of ridiculous, honestly — especially because the fans really wanted to see the orange-on-orange. It’s also weird that this hasn’t really come out before today — I certainly didn’t see much coverage of this neat little snippet back in 2010, when it first came out.
But Pupello had some other interesting notes in there as well. Like the fact that he was the person who invented the now ubiquitous hand warmers on uniforms — the so-called Pupello Pocket, on head coach John McKay’s prompting.
He also painted taped-up shoes to make them look like the shoes the athletes were sponsored to wear, but didn’t like. He secretly made the Bucco Bruce logo on the helmets bigger every year. He invented the clear visors, to prevent people from getting poked in the eye (someone tell Aqib Talib).
Seriously, go read that interview, there’s so much weird, random, Bucs-related stuff in there, it’s awesome.