Bag Revolt Recap


The "bag revolutionaries" get up close and person with Herb Kohl (in blue blazer)
(Morry Gash/AP)

On Friday we told you about a group of RealGMers' plan to wear paper bags during the Celtics game, and as the above picture suggests, they not only made it out to see the Bucks' 99-77 loss to the Celtics, but also managed to confront owner Herb Kohl near the end of the fourth quarter.

In sum, the bag revolutionaries totaled 39, certainly far fewer than what some previous fan demonstrations have mustered, but not surprising given it was organized over a closed message board. However, what they lacked in numbers they made up for in strategy (kudos to Dan for that). Shortly before tipoff and during halftime they paraded through the concourses to maximize exposure, led by Nowak's brilliantly subversive "Where Amazing Happens" sign, and after the game they stationed themselves by the escalators. They were seated in a block of 30 in the upper deck, so not surprisingly the television cameras managed to avoid them, though the group did make it onto the jumbotron briefly during a prize giveaway, forcing an abrupt cut to a different camera.  


Thanks to RealGM's crkone for this picture

But the enduring image of the night certainly came with five minutes to go and the game well out of hand. A small group (with bags in hand) managed to sneak past the ushers in the lower bowl and make their way down to the fifth row where Kohl was in his usual seat. Once they got down to Kohl's row, Nowak--sporting his trademark Ruben Patterson jersey--raised his "Where Amazing Happens" sign, the bags went back on their heads, and the group gave Herb a round of applause. A golf clap, to be more specific. That prompted the understandably annoyed reaction from Kohl you see above (we're not sure if he considered the bags or the Ruben jersey more offensive). An usher finally came over to escort the group back into the main concourse, but thankfully no one was kicked out. Going in, the group made a point of not antagonizing Bucks employees, and it sounds as though the ushers were in general pretty fair about the whole thing. And as much as Kohl has become the target of fan and media criticism this season, let's give him some credit as well: he's still coming to support the team at games, and he's not hiding in the press box either.

What did it accomplish? Who knows. As we said on Friday, it's probably naive to think that any isolated act of fan or media dissent--whether it's on the radio, in print, or at a game--could have a direct and tangible impact on how the Bucks do business. But knowing the guys behind the protest, that wasn't the expectation. The real goal was to find a fun, creative, and public way for a group of hardcore fans to make their opinion heard, and it's hard to say that didn't happen. This form of fan expression isn't for everyone, but given how little passion the team has sparked this year, there's something to be said for fans who actually try to do something to show how they feel. Though local TV didn't pick up on it, the "paper bag revolt" got considerable airplay on Milwaukee sports radio (both positively and negatively), was mentioned by Bill Simmons, and our discussion of it was linked by TrueHoop, Deadspin, Ball Don't Lie and NBA.com among others--and that was before anything even happened. Sadly, that also means the bag revolt got about as much attention in cyberspace as anything that the Bucks have done on the court this year. So if the goal was to get the word out to the public and send a message to management, it would appear that the mission was accomplished.

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