Opinion: It's time to move past jersey flap

Friday, October 23, 2009 at 1:32am

It was meant as an innocent joke at a charity event, but two days later, Jeff Fisher in the Peyton Manning jersey has taken on a life of its own – not only locally but nationally.

Fisher said his intentions were to bring levity to his own Tennessee Titans’ frustrating season. And many people in attendance apparently understood that, giving the coach a standing ovation and chuckling as he removed his shirt to unveil the royal blue No. 18 jersey.

Truth is, it was kind of funny.

And well before confirmed news reports told of the stunt and hours before TV video of the incident aired on the evening news, word was already making the rounds on the Internet and through the airwaves. Camera phones and text messages had already set the scuttlebutt of the matter ablaze with rumors and conversation.

For several days this week, you couldn't walk from your house to your car without hearing somebody talking about it.

But should Fisher really have been vilified for his actions?

A City Paper poll indicated that roughly three out of four of those who voted checked the choice that said, “Good to see he still has a sense of humor.”

Nationally, an ESPN poll had those not being offended by the joke holding about a two to one lead over those who had issues with it.

The flip side of that, too, is not everyone appreciates the joke. Some folks don’t like it when the head coach of “their” team is having some sort of association with a rival.

Remember how interwoven former Titans running back Eddie George and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis were after Lewis stole a pass for George that sealed Baltimore’s playoff victory in 2000? Or how the whole thing was brought up again a few years later in the ’03 playoffs when George, separated shoulder and all, flattened Lewis on key march late in the game?

George and Lewis were competitors tied to each other on the field, but off the field, they’re associates and good friends.

And no matter how much fans might not be able to separate rivalries with other cities and teams, it’s no secret that players and coaches on various teams are really part of an fraternity exclusive friendships that include mingling in the off-season, friendships and past working relationships of having played or coached together in the past.

It doesn’t lessen the desire to win, but in the realm of the players and coaches, once the game is over, the “us vs. them” takes a back seat, as it did with Fisher on Tuesday.

For fans, of course, it’s harder to make the distinction. Who can forget the stir Tom Brady (Remember him, Titans fans? He’s the one that set all sorts of records on Sunday.) caused simply by wearing a New York Yankees hat in public? Same thing for LeBron James.

And that isn’t even the sport they play.

I don’t question Fisher’s motive, but his timing certainly is debatable, given it came less than 48 hours after arguably the worst loss in NFL history.

But, as players and coaches are fond of saying, it’s time to move on.

9 Comments on this post:

By: jps13pat on 10/23/09 at 12:34

Hard to move on when so many articles are being written about it. I agree that it was terrible timing, and personally, I didn't find it humorous but what do I know. I'm ready to let it drop. I just hope that Fisher is on board with this team and this season.

By: Pmd12931 on 10/23/09 at 7:26

I think enough has been written and said about a harmless act by Fisher, and very amusing, of course I can't afford those expensive tickets to watch losers, who appeared to have quit, regardless of what they say. What does 0-6 mean to these guys who still make their millions and live and drive in a state that most of us can't even think of, although we help pay the upkeep on LP Field. Quit being such a prude!

By: jwk6179 on 10/24/09 at 8:33

The problem with people in general is that they take this little harmless stunt by Jeff Fisher WAY TOO SERIOUS. Has your world changed at all by Jeff Fisher wearing a Peyton Manning jersey? If Tony Dungy had come out there wearing a Steve McNair jersey, would all the problems of the world have been solved? Didn't the sun still come up on Wednesday, the day after the Fisher stunt? If all the Titan fans were just half as concerned about the problems facing the world, such as the health care crisis, homelessness, people going hungry, world peace, etc., as they did over this non-issue or rooting for the Titans, half of the world's problem would be SOLVED!!!

By: courier37027 on 10/24/09 at 10:14

McCormick, I often give you grief for many of your articles. This one I agree with you. Congratulations on a worthwhile article. I especially liked "their" used as implication fans have some kind of moral ownership stake in this team and its coach's actions. Your NCP poll result closely matched what Willy Daunic reported in another poll that apparently ruffled ol' Plaz and Darren McInterrupting.

Apparently 3,000 in Allen Arena crowd also got the joke.

jwk, while you make valid and intelligent points, you are appealing to Titans fan who is probably in debt up to his eyeballs, has no savings, whose kids may or may not go to college but they MUST have that PSL and season tickets. They don't care what their kids watch on TV or see on the internet, but by gawd their coach ain't gonna wear no Peyton Manning jersey.

By: jps13pat on 10/24/09 at 4:28

jwk and courier - thank you for stereotyping me as an unintelligent, broke, ignorant redneck whose existence on earth is unfortunate. It's funny how the both of you have decided that we cannot be a sports fan AND a social activist.

It took me approximately 5 minutes to read this article, form an opinion, and post that opinion. I've got to tell you, I think I could have solved Africa's AIDS crisis in that time... Give me a break, and get off your high horses.

By: TITAN1 on 10/25/09 at 6:19

jps13pat, remember jw is a packer and Farve fan. He thinks it is ok for him to support his team and QB, but when we show support for our home town Titans he thinks that is all we think about. He is lost in Titans town and it makes him crazy. courier, he just hates everyone and everything. As for the jersey, I said when it first came out it was very funny and for a good cause. Go Titans!

By: jwk6179 on 10/25/09 at 9:02

This post shows what an IDIOT TITAN1 is. Brett Favre has not been the Packers QB in two (2) years. The Packers QB is named Aaron Rodgers. While it was true I was a fan of Brett Favre when he played for the Packers, I also stated that he should have RETIRED following the 2007 season, when he first retired and then tried to come back to the Packers during training camp. The last time I looked, Brett Favre was the starting QB for the Minnesota Vikings. Of course, that IMBICLE TITAN1 would have known that if he didn't have his head up the ASSES of anything Titan!!!

By: jwk6179 on 10/25/09 at 9:04

Plus, you IDIOT, it is spelled F-A-V-R-E, not F-A-R-V-E!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 10/26/09 at 5:01

jw, I knew I should have given instructions at the beginning of my post for someone to read and explain it to you, but I thought I kept it simple. I said you are a packer and Farve fan, (the spelling is always just for you) never said he still plays for them. You see Titans fans comment on Titans stories and you think that is all we do. This IS Titan town and we love our Titans when it comes to the NFL. Posting a few comments takes very little time. Your comment "anything Titan" proves your jealousy and envy that we have for our home town Titans. Our passion for our team is just like the passion that other fans have for their home town teams. Your fellow packer fans that live in Wisconsin are just as passionate about their team. Are you trashing them, also? Bottom line is our passion for our team is no different from other fans' passion for their team. You just happen to live here in Titan town. They could go 0-16 and they are still the home town team that has sold out every game since the stadium was built. One more thing, couldn't YOU have solved some world problems instead of commenting on the Titans?