We Love the Jersey, Not the Player

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IMay 6, 2009

ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 03:  Safety Brian Dawkins #20 and the defensive backs participate in practice during Denver Broncos Minicamp at the Broncos training facility on May 3, 2009 in Englewood, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
“We love the jersey, not the player.”

Such a simple statement for any sports fan. Are you going to up and switch your team loyalties simply because your favorite player was released, traded or retired?

One would certainly hope not.

The most recent occurrences of this happening are of course in the cases of Brian Dawkins and Brett Favre.

Nearly every Philadelphia Eagles fan that I’ve spoken to has, with good reason, lamented over the loss of free safety and emotional leader Brian “BDawk” Dawkins. It’s all well and fine that you have some overwhelming feel of loyalty and respect toward him but it’s time to face facts—he is now the enemy.

Brett Favre comes to mind simply because of the instances of Green Bay Packers fans either wishing him no luck at all, or hoping that whomever signs him (if he does indeed sign with another team) comes into Lambeau Field and obliterates the Packers.

This, as far as I’m concerned, is disgusting.

Your team is your team.

As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I’ve watched plenty of talent walk away via free agency and retirement. Does that mean that I gave up on the Steelers?

Linebackers Kendrell Bell and Joey Porter both walked, along with cornerback Bryant McFadden. But even those didn’t hit me as hard as when Jerome “The Bus” Bettis retired. Still, I remained faithful to the team that I love with a passion.

At no point should one player affect you so much that you’d gladly quit on your team simply because they no longer play there. It’s quite simply an unwritten rule of sports.

Don’t get this confused with supporting the player, because that’s all well and fine. But, to give up on a whole team simply due to one player is nothing short of ridiculous and petty.

So, the next time that your favorite player is cut, traded, or retires, remember that it’s not about the player—those come and go with every season. Such is the way of things. Your team colors don’t change because you lose a player.

We love the jersey…not the player.

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