A couple days ago, a new local baseball team unveiled their name and logo:

Fig. 1: The London Rippers logo (London Community News).

That’s right. They’re called the London Rippers and the logo is a creepy looking guy in a top hat and black cloak. Their tag line? “Lurking in Labatt Park* this spring”.

Now, that in general probably wouldn’t garner much support. I mean, who gives props to a serial killer? But what has enraged the public even more is the timing: this month is Women Abuse Awareness and Prevention month in the province of Ontario, and there have been many highly publicized events for it in our city.

The Rippers organization is defending their choice, saying that “rip” is a common term used in baseball (as in hitting a baseball so hard to rip the cover off). They even have a video on their Facebook page, telling the story of Diamond Jack (the mascot):

“…Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could “rip” the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario.” (London Free Press).

It should be noted that, in the video, it tells of how Diamond Jack would sneak into the stadiums at night to practice his hitting (um, of baseballs), and ends with him promising to give opponents a “great scare” as he erupts in evil laughter (CBC).

Some supporters say the name is right in line with teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Nashville Predators. I don’t know…are those on the same level?

In any case…if you saw JACK + TOP HAT + BLACK COAT + LONDON + RIPPER anywhere, what would that add up to in your mind?

What do you think? Is the name/logo/tag line offensive, or are people overreacting?

*The local baseball stadium


Comments on: "Rippers" (14)

  1. googled that string, you come up first then like a million references to JACK THE EFFING RIPPER so yes I think you are correct. I suppose people simply think it has been so long no one cares anymore about a serial killer of women? It is the sort of classic illustration they use inWS course though of the overlapping worlds of masculinity, sports, and violence (against women) sadly


  2. “Diamond Jack” my ass. That's JTR! How shitty that the Rippers organization refuses to even acknowledge the glaringly obvious truth. WTF indeed. Taken together with all of the racist American Indian sports team caricatures, I seriously don't even know where to begin.


  3. Even SO thought this was offensive, and we spent 1+ hours yesterday talking about why the “Womanspaces” article was sexist.


  4. The Nashville Predators have a pre-historic sabre-tooth as their logo. LONG fangs and showing an animal being ferocious (not to be mixed up with the 'real Sabres' aka Buffalo Sabres NHL…)

    In general I have slightly mixed feelings about the mascots/logo thing when it comes to being more “real” and just obvious bears/sharks/Titans/Cardinals etc… Pirates might be offensive, although mostly I guess pepople still think about “story book pirates” and not the onces killing people in the Pacific Ocaean right now?

    I don't really buy the London Ripper story. I mean, it's very fitting, I can see the pun in there and the thought behind it. I'm just not that sure that it's good to have for a [professional] sports team. (I would see it as a gimmick/team name in non-professional sports, with the same story, and preferably a mixed team or something like that.) To me it's almost as having “London's Balls with a stick” or similar pun. Funny? sort of maybe. Appropriate for a professional team wanted to be taken seriously? Not so much. ^^


  5. Wow. Yeah, I'd say offensive. And breathtakingly clueless.


  6. Rippers as a name, on its own, does not strike me as remotely offensive, because I do think of ripping as a baseball team. The Rippers with a creepy looking mascot? Totally offensive. London Rippers could have been a funny play on words with a mascot not remotely related to the actual London Ripper, but the combination is just way too much.


  7. Meh, I wouldn't call it offensive- just in really poor taste.


  8. Totally offensive.


  9. feMOMhist – so, from that, I can't even fathom how no-one in the entire Rippers organization made the connection. I mean, come on.

    hush – WTF indeed. The owner has announced he refuses to change the logo or name.

    EGF – seems like you're in agreement with the majority around these parts!

    Natalie – I guess this is more obviously offensive?

    Chall – for some reason, some people think the Predators are named for sexual predators? I don't get the connection there…clearly their logo is an animal. And I'm also on the fence about “offensive” logos in sports…but this seems over the line to me (and yeah, it does sound a bit like a local mixed softball team would use it, not a professional team).

    Cloud – clueless definitely hits the nail on the head…but it's SO clueless I can't even buy it, you know?

    Sugar Scientist – I totally agree with you: if they had the same name but a different logo (say, with a ball with a cover being ripped off) I wouldn't have even thought anything of it! They could have easily gone another way, but chose to go this way completely on purpose.

    Anon – I think people are finding it offensive instead of just poor taste because of the timing.

    DRo – another vote for that corner!


  10. That's just crazy. I can't believe anyone thought this was a good idea.


  11. Offensive and crass.


  12. Offensive…the tag line is terrible, crass really. Who on earth gave them the advice that this would be a good name? Or…perhaps the owner picked it since he knew that it would be 'memorable” and that it would tick people off…so they’d remember the name and the logo. Maybe those who selected it are just ignorant of the connotations but maybe I shouldn't say this.


  13. Unpleasant… the actual label collection is actually horrible, crass truly. That on the planet offered all of them the actual guidance this will be a great title? Or even… probably the proprietor selected this because he or she understood which it might be 'memorable” which it might mark individuals away… therefore they’d keep in mind the actual title and also the logo design. Perhaps people who chosen this are simply uninformed from the associations however perhaps We should not state this particular.

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