Well this is pretty damn cool.
Nashville’s Major League Soccer Team Nashville SC will play their season opener against New York City FC on Saturday, February 25th in a nationally-televised game, and in the first ever MLS match at Nashville’s massive Nissan Stadium. And when they do, they will be honoring the Man in Black.
Announced late last week, Johnny Cash will be the inspiration for Nashville FC’s secondary uniforms for at least the next two upcoming MLS seasons. Working with the Cash estate and John Carter Cash, they have designed all black uniforms with graphite accents that include Johnny Cash’s signature on the back collar, and Cash’s portrait photo from Folsom Prison on the tag.
“From the first day we started Nashville Soccer Club, we talked a lot about being ‘uniquely Nashville,’” says Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre. “This city is steeped in music history and icons of that industry—none more so than the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. From our opening match on Feb. 29, 2020 … there has clearly been a strong connection between both the Cash family and the NSC family. I don’t think there can be a greater tribute to Johnny’s place in music history or Nashville than to have a team full of Men in Black take the field on behalf of Nashville SC.”
In fact, there seems to be an effort underway to refer to the Nashville SC players as “The Men In Black.” This presents an aspect we never thought of before in country music or any other genre: what if a country artist became not exactly the mascot, but the rallying cry of a professional sports team? That would certainly be one way to keep their legacy alive.
“It’s about the connection with the people,” says John Carter Cash. “It’s exciting to see his name of a jersey, and everyone wearing black. And knowing those little kids out there are going to be enjoying the game and connecting with my father’s music perhaps, and connecting with the whole spirit of what he had to offer in his life. My dad had great diversity of course, and character, and I believe that the music is intriguing. My father is mysterious in his own right. In the eternal image of ‘cool,’ I think the jersey is a wonderful representation.”
As we’ve seen, the appeal for Johnny Cash crosses genres, generations, and international borders. This feels like a classy and cool way to honor Johnny Cash while not making a caricature out of him, and help keep his legacy alive in Music City and beyond.