I am almost starting to feel sorry for Ralph Lauren. The negative press that continues to appear completely unabated almost three weeks after the news broke about Ralph’s Chinese/American Olympic uniforms is hilarious. A lonely few have ridden to Ralph’s defence, but most commentators have not been kind to Polo man.
And the whole thing was so completely unnecessary. It didn’t take much for the U.S. rowers to figure out how to actually compete in the Olympics in U.S. made togs. They probably just called up John Strotbeck of Boathouse Sports and said something like “Hey John, we need fifteen men’s Pinnacle Unisuits, ten large, five medium and fifteen women’s Pinnacle Unisuits, seven large and eight medium. At $69.00 each, I figure we owe you a little over two grand, plus tax. Can we send you a check?” That doesn’t seem that hard.
Boathouse Sports was founded in 1985 by two-time Olympic rower John Strotbeck III. John makes his rowing clothing at his plant in Philadelphia. In addition to uniforms and other clothing for rowers, John and his crew also make fleece coats, basketball uniforms, rugby uniforms, lacrosse uniforms and all sorts of other great athletic gear.
So I am going to email the U.S. Olympic Committee John’s telephone number and other contact information so that they can talk to John about outfitting our team with gear and uniforms made by members of our extended American family for the next Olympics.
Ralph Lauren has committed to making his Olympic gear in the U.S. in the future, but why would we want to reward him after his slip up this year? In my opinion, he should be shown a red card based on his lack of judgement regarding this year’s Olympic uniforms and therefore he should draw a three Olympic ban before he would be eligible to again attempt to outfit our team. That will give Ralph six years to find some American suppliers to create his Olympic uniforms that make our athletes look like stewards and stewardesses on a 1960’s Pan Am flight. They should be ready just in time for the Pyeongchang Winter Games. Or Ralph could just call John at Boathouse Sports. But since John and his workers can already make our athlete’s clothes and uniforms, why would we bother with Ralph?