Sports Take: Sports should be more conscious of colorblind fans

In a soccer match between Baylor and Iowa State on Oct. 21 at Betty Lou Mays Field, both teams wore dark-colored jerseys, causing viewers who suffer from red-green color deficiency difficulty in following along. Brittany Tankersley | Photographer

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

I happen to be someone who suffers from what is called red-green color deficiency. This deficiency makes it difficult to differentiate certain colors, often greens, reds and shades of purple. As an avid sports fan growing up, watching games was usually no problem, as both teams wore jerseys with no similarities in contrast. However, there have been times over the years where a dark-on-dark jersey matchup occurs, making it a nightmare to watch as a color-deficient viewer. Many other people suffer from this, causing me to believe that there should be no way a game is allowed to be played if both teams have dark or white sets only. They must have a distinguishable difference in color, or else the game should not take place.

Believe it or not, there are more colorblind people in the world than you think as one in 12 men and one in 200 women are affected. When watching sporting events, the jerseys tend to be a dark-colored jersey versus a white, or light-contrast jersey. There have been rare instances where both teams have worn dark jerseys, not all the time intended. The result has been a brutal match to watch, and nobody wants to struggle when watching a recreational event. Sometimes at events, a team forgets to bring the right set of jerseys or something along those lines. I believe that all teams should travel with two sets of jerseys, a light and a dark set in case of instances like this. There is no excuse to put people through visual pain when watching a sporting event that’s intended for enjoyment.

In a recent soccer match I covered, both Baylor and Iowa State University wore dark colors. Baylor was in dark green, and ISU wore red, setting up for a less-than-ideal visual matchup for me. Luckily I’m familiar with the Bears as a team and able to identify the players, because it looked like one big team out there. I’m unaware why the jerseys ended up being this way and, while this happens and humans make mistakes, I can’t find myself to tolerating it. The team that fails to comply with my hypothetical jersey color rule should be forced to forfeit. I think this would help solve any future issues for fans that suffer from color deficiency, and ensure a seamless experience.

Last year, I was watching my favorite NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, on TV. They were in a matchup versus the Atlanta Hawks, whose colors are red and white. The Thunder wore their sunset orange jerseys, while the Hawks wore their red uniforms. This caused me to turn off the TV and not watch, as I had a headache trying to tell what was going on. I am not the only person who felt this way, as lots of people on social media talked about the atrocity of that game.

People need to be more aware and considerate of color blindness in sports because this problem is too common to overlook. This is a problem that is easy to fix and can be done so with a few new rules. Sports are intended to be for the fans and viewers, so how can we mess up something as simple as what color jersey teams play when a fair portion of viewers are potentially colorblind?