By Alec Banks, High Snobiety
A common colloquialism used to describe a referee in a variety of sports is “zebra” because of the obvious connections between the man/woman in charge of the gameplay and the hoofed creature whose stripes are unique to each individual animal. While the styles of referee uniforms have evolved over the years, major American sports leagues like the NHL and NFL continue to use the classic, striped pattern to differentiate the officials from the players (despite the obvious size and strength attributes). As we’ve learned in the past, each “common practice/occurrence” we deem as the accepted norm stems from curious origins – and the referees’ stripe-laden uniform is no different.
In the early days of football, referees wore white, dress shirts, bow ties and beret-style hats to add an air of authoritative control to competition. White signaled purity and an unbiased attitude – which is what one hopes they’re getting when the fate of a game boils down to the judgement of one/a few people.