Jeff Fisher's Peyton Manning Jersey Gaffe: Good Joke Or Bad Taste?

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2009

"I just wanted to feel like a winner."

Those were the words of Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher on Tuesday at a charity function at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.  

With your eyes closed, that might seem like he's overstating the obvious.  But to open them and see him in a Peyton Manning jersey was jaw-dropping to say the least.

He has since apologized for the incident, saying he was sorry if he offended any fans.

However, it was simply inexcusable.  Yes, it was in jest.  We all know that Fisher is not a double agent for the Indianapolis Colts, or any other team.  But to publicly make light of your team and their struggles is crossing the line. 

It is true that these are grown men who're handsomely paid to play a kid's game. Teachers, doctors, policemen and soldiers (among others) are arguably worth just as much money, if not more, given their actual societal contributions.  

But to throw your team under the bus the way Fisher did just might have sealed his fate with Tennessee.  For the players, it's their dream to play in the NFL and one day win a title.  Failing that, there is a little thing called pride, which runs in every league in every sport.

When your fearless leader throws that out the window and insults it, then it's time to find a new leader.  

True, the charity is a great cause.  Rocketown is a large entertainment complex in Nashville that serves as a place for teenagers to hang out in a drug and alcohol free environment.

But there are other ways to express your humor.

The clear cut counterpoint to all of this is that those who were offended are taking it too seriously.  Fisher himself took that angle in his addressing of the subject.  

"It was for a very, very worthwhile cause, charity," Fisher said on his radio show as he recounted the events, which also had Tony Dungy in attendance.  "I was introducing Tony, having fun with it, and I really apologize if I offended anybody.

"But if you are offended...then I think you need to rethink things."

Thanks, Jeff.

Thanks for brilliantly using the red herring argument fallacy to perfection.  Because of a little thing called sports passion, it is possible to be offended by this and still care about the charity.  

But nice attempt at making apples and oranges appear to be the same.

It'd be one thing if the Titans were winning.  It'd be another if the Colts were losing too.  

But that's not the case, and the culture—winning or losing—starts with Fisher.  

About a year ago, much was made of Lebron James' donning a New York Yankees cap for the coin toss at a Dallas Cowboys game.  The thing is, however, they were different sports and well, his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers were actually winning.

What will the ultimate fallout be from all of this?  Truth be told, none of it will be a direct effect.

If Fisher saves his job by eking out a string of unlikely wins, then this will be chalked up as a temporary flare-up; a bad-humored eccentricity from a normally reserved man. 

But if Fisher and the Titans continue their meltdown, then this event will be viewed as the perfect encapsulation of what's wrong with the franchise.

Mr. Fisher, you want to feel like a winner?  

Try focusing on your own team's locker room.  

If you know where that is.