I had a lot of fun comparing the new Nebraksa Cornhuskers alternate uniforms to the jacket Kevin wears on ‘Captain N: The Game Master’, and Jesus, I wish I could have that kind of harmless fun with the announcement of Penn State Nittany Lions uniform changes. They’ve been in the news for a thing or two recently, and sadly none of it seems appropriate for me to type “do you remember this cartoon” alongside it.
Anyway, the two major changes are
1. Names on the backs of the jerseys
2. Special commemorative ribbons
Names are going on the jerseys for the hilarious reason of “holding each other accountable to uphold the traditions of Penn State football, both on and off the field”, a weird disconnect I’m not even sure my brain can process. I love the idea that if #14 wanted to do something reprehensible he’d go for it, then stop and go “oh wait, my shirt when I’m playing football says Jones on the back, people will know I’m Jones, maybe I shouldn’t”.
The ribbons thing is a little less funny.
When they take the field at Beaver Stadium for their 126th season, The Pennsylvania State University football team will wear uniforms featuring a blue ribbon to support all victims of child abuse. Also, for the first time, the names of each football player will adorn their jersey in recognition of their resolve and dedication to the team and the University.
“The Penn State community stands with all victims of child abuse,” said Acting Athletic Director David Joyner. “Coach Bill O’Brien and his football team made it clear they want to support victims and bring more awareness to this issue, which affects so many.”
“I’m proud that our players want to be part of the University’s efforts to help victims of child abuse,” O’Brien said. “We hope our fans join us in wearing blue ribbons to all Penn State home games. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children everywhere.”
Or, more directly, “we hope our fans join us at all Penn State home games”. You know what’d be even better? If schools with programs that didn’t allow the systematic molestation of children wore ribbons. Maybe that’d be considered bragging. I’ve always been the guy who’d rather hear “don’t do drugs” from somebody who never did drugs than from someone who did them for years, got famous and then decided to warn me of their dangers.
Of course, the reality of the situation is that nothing can change what happened to those kids, and while I personally think it’s a little shifty, I can understand wanting to hold up a big sign that says “we swear we’re never doing this again”. That’s progress, in its own way. Who knows, maybe 10 years from now I’ll feel okay saying, “ha, look at those bright-ass white unis, they look like Brian from ‘Family Guy'”.