Ordinarily, the debate on tastefulness and sports jerseys revolves around advertising, when it's acceptable and when it isn't, if ever at all. Obviously ads are a staple of soccer kits, and nobody seems to mind minor league teams earning some extra revenue, but there would be a serious outcry about the purity of the game if the Phillies opened 2012 with a Tastykake patch on their arm.
Philadelphia's indoor lacrosse team has discovered a new way to divide fans over what is appropriate to slap on a jersey. When the Wings host Buffalo today at 4 p.m., their shirts will don Twitter handles in place of the players' names, supposedly becoming the first professional sports team in North America to adopt this fashion trend, and perhaps inventing the next hot-button issue for uniform enthusiasts.
The good news is the jerseys will be auctioned off after the game, with the proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. It's hard to get offended over anything that raises money for a good cause, or anything going on in the NLL for that matter.
The bad news is this gimmick exists now. I would like to think a major sports league such as the NFL or NBA would never promote Twitter, but you never know. The idea is out there, and it's not so dissimilar to the defunct XFL's claim to fame, allowing players to choose nicknames and cute messages to stitch across their shoulders -- most notoriously Rod Smart's "He Hate Me."
Good for a laugh... just like the XFL.
You might be saying to yourself, "Kulp, what's the big deal? Will never happen anyway, and Twitter is cool." If you aren't envisioning @thekidet dunking a basketball during an Eastern Conference Championship game, a garish Twitter handle adorning a retro-style Sixers basketball jersey, then scenarios that involve our computers becoming self-aware and sending killer robots to attack us probably aren't keeping you up at night either.
And Twitter simply isn't that cool (follow me at @kulp700level!). If this stunt brings the Wings and indoor lacrosse a little extra publicity while raising money for cancer treatments and research, that's great, as long as it ends there. But when the day comes where a form of social media, especially one that limits interactions to a shallow 140 characters or less, becomes so popular that our handles are more important than who we are, we will have taken a big step backwards as a society.
>> Wings to ditch names in favor of Twitter handles [Philly.com]