A goalie for the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey team was forced to repaint her new mask this week to remove a representation of the U.S. Constitution from the back plate.
According to InGoal Magazine, the changes were forced on Jessie Vetter by the International Olympic Committee.
“No writing of any kind to promote the country is allowed,” artist Ron Slater told InGoal. “[The IOC frowns upon] any sort of ‘our country is better than your country’ kind of thing. Our original idea was ‘land of the free, home of the brave,’ and that would have had to have been removed as well.”
Vetter also had to remove the Olympic rings from the chin and her last name from the back plate because the IOC saw it as “self promotion,” Slater said. “They want everything to be team based.”
You have to feel bad for Vetter –you know what she was going for here — but she shouldn’t have been surprised by the IOC’s tight checking. This isn’t the first time American designs have run afoul of the committee’s policies. Back in 2010, both Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick were forced to repaint their buckets to remove inappropriate slogans. Quick had to paint over a section that read, “Support Our Troops,” while Miller had to get rid of “Miller Time.”
The rules governing this type of thing aren’t exactly explicit, and that’s where the problems crop up. Basically, they say “no form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, (or) on any article of clothing or equipment worn or used by the athletes in the Olympic Games.” It’s that “no propaganda” clause that came into play here. You can argue that the Constitution is a framing document and not a paean to American exceptionalism, but the IOC prefers that any space not sold to an advertiser be as vanilla as possible. And Vetter should have known that.