After much speculation, the announcement was finally made public today by the Penn State athletic department that Penn State will indeed be altering the beloved football uniforms in 2012.
These alterations will include a blue ribbon on the front of the jersey to support victims of child support. Bill O’Brien also asks that fans in attendance to games also wear the blue ribbon. The second change in 2012 will be (GASP!) the addition of names on the back of the jerseys, a sight that has never been seen before.
The ribbons seem like an obvious choice. Many won’t mind if those ribbons remain forever, serving as a conversation piece at least, for generations to come. That’s how “awareness” happens.
The names on the jersey didn’t go over quite as well.
“We want our fans to know and recognize these young men. They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown.”
-Head coach Bill O’Brien
Of course, the collective roar from the Penn State crowd could be heard across the country. After what has transpired since last November, I’m surprised that this even registers as news for Penn State fans, but it most certainly did.
Cries on message boards and twitter calling this the “end of tradition” and the “destroying of Penn State” are laughable. Here’s the bottom line: Over half of the players on this year’s football team had offers from other schools in recent weeks. Had they taken those offers, there would have been no football team. No. Football. This season isn’t just about the “name on the front of the jersey.” It’s also about those individuals who chose to stick with Penn State through it’s toughest times. Not only to stick with Penn State, but chose to turn down offers from across the country from schools offering things that Penn State football can not offer at this time. Backups were offered starting jobs on teams that will play in bowls this season. Starters were offered spots on teams that will play in BCS bowls this January.
Every player on this Penn State team declined.
Over the past week, I’ve been told to “stop writing about the players that transferred and let’s focus on the ones who stayed” at least a dozen (too many) times. You’re right. Focus on those players. Also, acknowledge their sacrifices and commitments with a simple gesture like their names on the back of their jersey. Penn State football will still be Penn State football. Thankfully.
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