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Professional athletes are a little too sensitive about team logos

Minkah Fitzpatrick made headlines on Thursday thanks to a story from ESPN’s Brooke Pryor that highlighted the All-Pro safety’s decision to rope off the Steelers team logo that’s located on the locker room floor at Acrisure Stadium.

It’s a very interesting piece by Pryor that covers Fitzpatrick’s great attention to detail–including his film study and practice habits. Give it a look because it offers insight into Fitzpatrick’s mindset as a professional athlete, and how he’s sort of taken the reins as a team leader and is determined to get the organization back to its winning ways. It all starts with the little things–including taking pride in keeping the team logo clean.

OK, I wasn’t expecting to be charmed by this ESPN article and impressed by Fitzpatrick’s pride and determination.

I came here to be a jerk, damn it, and I can’t turn back now.

I’ve never understood why athletes at all levels are so sensitive about team logos. It’s just a logo. It’s not a real thing.

I guess I can sort of understand when an opponent intentionally disrespects the logo that’s located at the 50-yard line or in the end zone. Former Steelers receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster, got into a bit of hot water a few years ago for posting TikTok videos that showed him dancing on opposing logos right before road games. Former Cowboys defensive back, George Teague, once famously “clocked” receiver Terrell Owens when he defiantly stood on the “Star” logo after scoring a 49ers touchdown at old Texas Stadium in Week 4 of the 2000 season.

Tim Green, a former player who was working in the Fox broadcast booth as a color analyst that day, made no bones about the fact that Teague did the right thing by attacking Owens and getting himself ejected from the game.

It’s just how an athlete–current or former–is wired.

I personally think it’s silly when athletes fight one another over the sanctity of their team logos, but if that’s what motivates them to succeed, more power to them.

But don’t expect everyone else to play along. Yet, professional athletes do expect us mere civilians to respect the logo, including the reporters who must enter their locker rooms/clubhouses on a daily basis.

“Yo, watch the logo, bro.”

Sorry.

“Hey, bro, you’re standing on the logo.”

My bad, bro, but maybe the main bro should have painted the logo on the wall or ceiling.

Seriously, why would you put a giant logo right in the middle of a locker room floor and then whine and complain when people walk on it? It’s part of the carpet. There must be dozens of people in a locker room or clubhouse at any given time. Someone is always going to be standing or walking on the logo.

What’s the big deal?

Hockey players are supposedly notorious for this sort of thing and are always reprimanding reporters for “disrespecting their logo.”

No wonder reporters would rather cover the NFL Draft than an NHL game. Unfortunately, the second these NFL draft picks enter their new locker rooms, they bring their college traditions of respecting the team logo with them.

“I’ll answer the question the second you stop standing on the logo, bro.”

My bad, bro.

Maybe that youngster was trying to score points with his veteran teammates after they taped him to the goalposts for committing the sin of being a rookie.

“Welcome to the team, bro.”

Maybe that rookie was still a little raw after being forced to stand up in front of the entire roster and sing his school fight song.

“Sing for your supper, little bro.”

“I ain’t singing bleep! You can kiss my bleep!”

That was supposedly what rookie Jack Lambert told his new veteran teammates when they asked him to sing for his supper back in the summer of 1974.

Lambert is arguably the most popular player in Steelers history, so you’d think fans would side with him in this regard.

But I’ll bet they don’t agree with how defiant Lambert was as a rookie teammate. After all, you have to earn respect.

You do? Why? What does singing have to do with respect? What does being taped to the goalposts have to do with respect? Why should a rookie have to carry a veteran’s shoulder pads during training camp? What does that have to do with respect? And are veteran players looking for respect when they make a rookie pay the bar tab for the entire team, or are they just trying to humiliate him?

“We’re trying to make you a part of the team, bro.”

I’d be like, “Well, aren’t we all wearing the same uniform? We all have the same logo on our helmets, right?”

I get it, professional athletes are wired differently. I can’t begin to understand their mindset.

But you shouldn’t expect me to not stand on a logo if it’s located on the carpet right in the middle of the locker room.

This is why I admire Fitzpatrick’s approach. Evidently, he didn’t scream at reporters, and neither did any of his teammates (as far as we know). He just consulted with other Steelers players about how they should handle this logo thing and took action to ensure that nobody from the outside–or even the inside–could tarnish the shield.

In other words, you can’t really control what others do, you can only control what you do.

It’s a great metaphor for life in the NFL, especially when it comes to preparing for an upcoming opponent.

However, I still think painting the logo on the ceiling would have been the best move.

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