There's a new member of the pink locker room club. Norwich City, a soccer team in the English Championship (the second division of professional soccer there, just below the English Premier League) has painted their opponent locker room pink.
Norwich City Football Club is using the testosterone-lowering powers of the colour pink to throw opposition teams off their game.
During a fans’ forum at Carrow Road on Thursday night, City sporting director Stuart Webber revealed that the away changing room had been painted a “deep pink” colour, used in American prisons to lower aggression and promote empathy.
Hmm... sounds familiar. As legendary former Iowa coach Hayden Fry said in his 1999 autobiography HIgh Porch Picnic:
“One thing we didn’t paint black and gold was the stadium’s visitors locker room, which we painted pink. It’s a passive color, and we hoped it would put our opponents in a passive mood.”
Of course, Fry has also offered a few other explanations and/or benefits to the pink locker room over the years, including that it was out of simple necessity, as he told The Des Moines Register in 2014:
"Everyone thought it was because I had my Masters in psychology, and pink was a cool, calm color and this and that, which it was to me," Fry said. "But when I got here things were so deteriorated and down. Howard Cissell, my defensive ends and linebacker coach, he was in charge of helping me fix up things. The only color of paint they could find was pink."
As Mike Hlas wrote in The Gazette back in 2016, that explanation is also backed up by longtime Iowa fan Earle Murphy, who recounted a conversation he had with then-Iowa athletic director Bump Elliott that detailed the history of the pink locker room. Regardless of its particular origins, the pink locker room has definitely had an effect on opponents, as Hayden has noted:
"When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I've got him," Fry wrote in his book, A High Porch. "I can't recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the color and then beat us."
Nearly 40 years later, the locker room is still getting inside the heads of opposing coaches and driving them to distraction. Back in 2016, Jim Harbaugh had the walls of the pink locker room covered with Michigan-related imagery and phrases. I think we all remember how that game worked out.
Incidentally, Norwich's nickname is the Canaries and their crest features a yellow bird displayed prominently... just like Iowa. Yellow bird synergy ahoy! In any event, welcome to the pink locker room club, Norwich.