Ok, let’s face it....with no CBA, there is no rookie camp, no OTA’s, no free agent signings – basically little of interest to discuss relating to the Bengals. With that in mind, let me throw out a more trivial question that wouldn’t be that important if we had better things to discuss.
What is the Jersey Etiquette for wearing team jerseys?
1) Carson Palmer:
Is it still o.k. as a Bengal fan to wear a Carson Palmer jersey? Even though he has declared that he wants out and that the Bengals are anathema to him, he is still on the team (for now). Is it o.k. to wear the jersey now since he is still technically a Bengal? Does it become wrong to wear it after he leaves (assuming he does)? What if he retires and doesn’t get traded....would that be o.k. to keep wearing the jersey if he retired a Bengal? If he gets traded is it o.k. to wear it up until the trade, or does the jersey because a faux pau to wear the moment he vowed to never play in Cincy again a few months ago? I’m not sure if it’s ok or not. If he does get traded, is there a time limit at which it becomes o.k. to wear again?
I’m sure this jersey will generate the most debate, as it is likely the most common. I’m not sure if there is a simple yes/no answer to this question. What if a Bengals fan only has 1 jersey and it’s Palmer. With the economy as bad as it is, does that give the fan a ‘pass’ if they want to wear a jersey but can’t afford the $35~$75 required to acquire a new one – even if the consensus is that wearing the Palmer jersey is somewhat heretical or uncouth?
2) Chad 8/5 Johnson Ocho Cinco Stinko (whatever you want to call him)
One of the Bengals most prolific WR’s ever and is worthy of HOF discussions if not actual entry into the HOF. He is something of a self-focused clown who pulls little stunts and such to draw attention to himself and has demanded in the past to be traded. But despite the antics, he has been very productive. His dedication & work ethic have been called everything from poor to great depending on who you ask. Is it ok to sport the Chad jersey? What if he is traded before next season, then is it ok to keep wearing the jersey after such a trade? Does it matter if one wears a jersey that says “Johnson” vs. “Ocho Cinco”?
Had a very short stint as a Bengal, but despite some uninspired play at time, he did emerge as our top WR and Carson’s favorite deep target. He never really did or said anything to alienate the fans other than a couple “alligator arms” efforts that turned into interceptions. Is there anything wrong with sporting a jersey of a guy who had a long NFL career, but only played in 1 rent-a-player season for the Bengals and is known more as a Niner / Eagle than a Bengal?
4) Moobs (a.k.a Andre Smith)
OK, honestly I don’t recall ever seeing anybody with a jersey of Mr Smith. But I’m sure they exist? Maybe the XXXL sized fans wear them? I don’t know. I assume this jersey is OK to wear, but an odd choice. I think he is the poster child for every one of us who doesn’t exercise and eats more than we know we probably should...of course we don’t get paid millions of dollars to keep our guts under control. Maybe wearing this jersey is to form solidarity with every fan that is out of shape, or maybe it’s a sign of acceptance that it’s o.k. to be lazy as a Bengal? I don’t know.
5) Rey Maualuga
There have been a lot of these jerseys bought up by fans since he was drafted. As Zimmer has said, Maualuga has been extremely average as a player so far. He also has a criminal record with the DUI he got in Kentucky his first season. Do we look past the DUI and average play and keep sporting the jersey for the prowess that we still anxiously wait for him to display? Or does wearing the jersey show support for DUI’s and say that criminal activity is o.k. as long as you’re a football player? I’m not sure what the verdict is.
Had 1 great season, but off the field issues led to a very short life as a Bengal. Does wearing the jersey show support for his drinking problems off the field? Does it show a love of players who only really play 1 season? Does it show a love of what a great season for a linebacker should be? Did his off-field issues turn fans off because what should have been a good long career got cut short by his own bad choices – if so, does wearing the jersey show toleration of such behavior?
7) Whoever I’ve forgotten
Anybody else whose Bengal’s jersey is debatable whether it’s o.k. or not to wear as a Bengals fan? I’m sure I have forgotten somebody.
I think if you can afford it, it’s great to wear a jersey of a Bengal player. But what are the proper fan etiquette rules when that player either performs bad, gets kicked off the team, leaves on a sour note, demands to be traded, gets into a lot of off-field problems....is there an unwritten fan rule for when a specific jersey becomes effectively “unwearable”?
And with the bad economy and high price of jerseys is there a little leeway to be granted to fans who have a jersey of a player who ends up on the “unwearable” list, but can’t afford to acquire a replacement jersey? Should there be a government program to give vouchers to fans so they can get replacement jerseys for such situations? Ha ha!
Is there such a thing as an “unwearable” list of Bengals jerseys that should not currently be worn by Bengals fans?