Yep, you read it right. Penn State’s 2012 uniforms will have player names on the back of the jerseys. They’ll also have blue ribbons in support for victims of child abuse.
The press release from Penn State Athletics revealed the decision-making process for the uniform names:
Coach O’Brien says after speaking with some members of the team, they made the decision together to add names to the uniforms. Players indicated the names on their jerseys also mean they will hold each other accountable to uphold the traditions of Penn State football, both on and off the field.
“We want our fans to know and recognize these young men,” O’Brien said. “They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown. Moving forward, I’m deeply committed to honoring Penn State’s traditions, while building a bright future for our football program.”
While this will make a number of staunch Paternoists unhappy, this Turkey thinks that most Penn State students, alumni, and fans will welcome the change. Sure, it is a radical departure from plain old blue or white, but it’s not Nike Pro Combat, man! In fact, I hope the blue ribbon hides the Nike swoosh accidentally on purpose.
Obviously, it is not “business as usual” at Penn State. Even if the players had not been involved in the decision to change the uniforms, I would have supported O’Brien. You can’t hire a new guy and cut his balls off right away by telling him there are sacred cows he cannot touch without getting Joe’s approval upon his resurrection. I’m happy that, at least for the moment, no one is trying to micromanage Bill O’Brien.
I’m glad, though, that the players were indeed involved in the uniform decision, as it demonstrates a benevolent aspect of O’Brien’s leadership that portends well for his relationship with players. These aren’t NFL pros, and they have to be handled with kid gloves sometimes.
I am looking forward to the new uniforms and to actually being able to disambiguate #6 on offense from #6 on defense.