| March 17, 2018

Column: Disrespectful or supportive?

January 29, 2017

As a kid, it confused me when I saw people sporting jerseys.

It seemed silly to wear a jersey with someone else’s name on the back. The guy in the produce section at the grocery is clearly not Peyton Manning, but there he is with his Manning jersey on.

Even as an adult, it confuses me, but in different ways.

Professional athletes put thousands of hours into their sport. Most have played their whole lives, battling through high school and college sports. They entered the draft, hoping someone would pick them — and they did.

Now, they have their own set of jerseys with their name, as well as the emblem of their sports organization. That’s a big moment.

It’s the moment when a writer holds a copy of their book for their first time, with their name emblazoned on the cover. It’s the moment when parents bring home their baby from the hospital, tired but full of pride and hope.

It’s a huge accomplishment to earn a jersey.

So that’s why it feels disrespectful to wear someone else’s accomplishment.

I equate it to buying a gold medal, when some people earn them through thousands of hours of work.

Not to mention, jerseys are made for workouts. Sports are a workout. Maybe I’m just really pragmatic, but it doesn’t seem like people need to wear sweat-wicking clothing to the grocery store and the library.

Unless I’m really power-walking through the aisles of WinCo, I don’t find grocery stores to be places I need workout clothes.

I’m not saying fans shouldn’t support their team by wearing gear. With all the new styles and options, it’s easier than ever to find an item of team gear to fit into one’s wardrobe. I’m partial to a classic pull-over sweatshirt.

Jerseys, especially the customizable ones, are a great way to sell gear for professional sports teams. It’s easy to see why so many franchises offer the product. Some run at almost $100 a pop.

Jerseys are created for athletic activities and identifying players, they have a real purpose and should be used for that purpose.

It’s an accomplishment, something earned, and shouldn’t be something bought online for tailgating and eating chips and dip on the couch. Being able to wear a jersey should be treated like an accomplishment, not a cash-cow.

Tess Fox can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @tesstakesphotos

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