Occasionally this issue will crop up and I always feel like I need to defend the players. Here's a letter to the editor on Philly.com. It's from a mother who took her son to get an autograph from Eagles RB LeSean McCoy only for her to have the son say afterwards "I can never be a fan of his again."
I was shocked to hear his statement and when I asked why he felt that way, he said, "LeSean plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Phillies are opening this week, and he is wearing a Yankees hat."
My first instinct was to minimize my son's reaction and appropriately did so, but later thought Philadelphia fans are very loyal and spend their hard-earned money endorsing these athletes - we even have LeSean McCoy's jersey. So it would be nice if the athletes would have the same regard for the people supporting them, especially impressionable children. If a 9-year-old can pick up on these things, why don't these athletes get it?
First off, your kid is the one who doesn't "get it." Second, how on earth is an athlete wearing a Yankees cap not showing "regard" for fans in Philadelphia? It's completely meaningless. This woman acts like because she watches McCoy and owns his jersey that he owes it to her to apparently also wear the clothing of every other sports team in the area.
So this guy goes out and plays his tail off for the Eagles every Sunday. As she admitted in the letter he's very nice to fans and was happy to chat and give her kid an autograph... But that's not enough? You'll "never be a fan of his again" and he has no regard for Philly fans because he's wearing a freaking Yankees hat? Give me a break. Of the most ridiculous overreactions to something an athlete has done, that has to be top 3.
And by the way, the kid was not so offended by the Yankees hat that he refused to get himself an autograph.
Like I said back when the little mini firestorm about Clinton Portis wearing a Phillies camp cropped up, it doesn't mean anything. These young guys wear sports clothing as a fashion thing more often than they do to show off rooting interests. Portis told reporters that he wore a Phillies hat because it was red and matched his outfit that day.
I went to college in New York City. Every day I'd see tons of guys walking around in sports apparel from every team in every sport. That's what young guys like this wear. Just because you or I might wear a Phillies cap because we like the Phillies doesn't make them wrong or bad.
Like I said, McCoy was probably wearing the hat because it matched his jacket, but so what if he was a Yankees fan? That's his prerogative. Now, it just so happens that he's from Harrisburg so he's kind of a local guy... but most of these athletes aren't from Philadelphia. They're under no obligation to root for the other local teams. Honestly, if I grew up to be a pro baseball player and I played for the Chicago Cubs or something I wouldn't cease being an Eagles fan. Pete Orr, who just made the Phillies this spring and is from Canada, freely admits that he's a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Is anyone offended by that?
Sometimes athletes do wear apparel of teams they're a fan of. Philly guy Rasheed Wallace could often be seen in Eagles or Flyers gear. Kobe Bryant will wear Eagles stuff, probably much to the chagrin of all the Lakers fans who root for the Cowboys. That's their prerogative as well.