The Delaware Blue Coats have removed founding father Caesar Rodney from their logo in favor of a distinctly apolitical horse wearing a varsity jacket.
The Blue Coats are an affiliate team of the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association’s G-league. They hold their games at Wilmington’s Chase Fieldhouse.
The move comes one year after a statue of the Delaware legend was unceremoniously removed from Rodney Square, his namesake park in downtown Wilmington.
Rodney, then a delegate in the Continental Congress, is said to have ridden 80 miles on horseback while sick to Philadelphia in July 1776 to cast the tie-breaking vote for American independence. He would go on to serve as the president of Delaware.
Caesar Rodney had been at the center of the Blue Coats logo since 2018 when the then-Delaware 87ers rebranded under the new name and imagery. After nationwide unrest in the wake of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis, the team agreed to consider alternative options.
Some argue that memorializing Rodney effectively glorifies a racist slaveholder. While he shouldn’t be forgotten to history, some Delawareans believe he should be remembered for his sins rather than his accolades.
Others, meanwhile, say he should be considered in his totality — but not on the jerseys of a predominantly-Black basketball team.
The updated logo strikes a less controversial note — one that is unlikely to spark race-related discontent amongst players and fans.
A tan horse quite literally wears a blue coat in the revamped graphic, albeit a varsity jacket. His sleeve is emblazoned with the 76ers logo, an ode to their NBA affiliate and a Delaware patch rests on the horse’s chest.
The horse is reflective of the team’s mascot, debuted in 2019, named “Coaty.”
While the horse appears to be captured mid-snarl in the logo with fiercely clenched eyes and fists, it’s hard to be intimidated or upset by the image. The cartoon horse, some might say, looks pretty cute for a serious, professional basketball team.
Alex Yoh, the Blue Coats’ senior director of marketing and communications, could not be reached for comment.
The team subtly introduced the new logo into its promotional materials and website without holding a press conference or releasing any statement. The team had been playing since 2020 with a simplified logo, simply comprised of the words “Blue Coats” without any associated graphic.
The team’s Twitter page shows that the updated logo was emblazoned on the Chase Fieldhouse court in mid-September, right around the time that the team’s 2021-22 schedule was released.
The NBA G League schedule will feature a new format this season, including a regional Showcase Cup, regular season, and postseason.
The Blue Coats open the Showcase Cup on the team’s home court on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. against the Long Island Nets.
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