Blog Entry

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Posted on: October 23, 2008 4:07 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2008 12:41 pm
Like running a marathon or driving an EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle into the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, life is full of checkpoints.

Some are formal occasions, like a Bar Mitzvah, graduation or wedding.

Some are informal occasions, like a first smooch, first pint of Guinness and eventual first relapse. Jay Z

Some are inevitable occasions, like going bald or losing a pet.

(What daaaaaayaaaaa mean fish need food?!)

Then there are checkpoints where one must decide, what am I really about? And by that I mean jerseys. Namely, when do I stop wearing them? Not when do I stop wearing a jersey to the mall or to the beach, but when do I stop wearing a jersey altogether? When does the jersey cease to be a staple of my wardrobe?

This my friends, is our Weekend Debate.

Let's begin with an expert on the subject, Jay-Z.

In the fall of 2004, the rapper-cum-NBA owner told Time, "you can't be running around in jerseys when you're 30 years old."

That's a good place to start. A nice clear-cut number. Three decades into one's existence wearing a jersey becomes unacceptable.

Imagine the possibilities if this, in fact, were a rule. Being 29 and 364 days old would have new meaning. It would be like being 20 and 364 days old, but instead of doing 21 shots you'd try to squeeze on 30 jerseys. Not at once, I'd imagine.

But there are other voices to be heard. A 20-something CBS video producer in L.A. (by way of Connecticut) says, "late '30s, but keep in mind, I'm getting buried in my Red Sox uniform."

A self-described fellow curmudgeon like me and editor here at says, "It's never acceptable for a grown man to wear a jersey." Another said, "I don't own one." (He actually just sold his [and what was only] custom TrailBlazers jersey on EBay to somebody in Japan. Yes, somebody across the world just purchased a Portland jersey with a random guy's name on the back.)Dick Vitale

I move too fast. Some quick background: This all got started while watching ESPNews and seeing Dick Vitale adorning a Rays jersey while being interviewed.

Now Vitale predates America's entrance in World War II, Watergate and Twitter. But there he was, in alopecia glory, sporting a baseball jersey on a cable sports network.

Let's speed back up. There are two types of jersey wearers: those sporting a jersey with a real player's name on the back and those with anything else. We'll classify those with blank jerseys as leaning toward the former and those with nicknames or funny sayings on their back as leaning toward the latter. But they are clearly sub-sects of the two jersey genera and not their own.

Our assistant managing editor says, "Only player names on the back." I say, "Not a big deal either way." He says, "You're an idiot."

Maybe so.

But here are my thoughts on jerseys. Basketball, football and hockey jerseys are no dice for grown-ups. Basketball jerseys are meant to be worn without anything on underneath, and the public doesn't need to see that much skin or arm pit hair. Football and hockey jerseys were meant to be worn with pads, so unless you have a hecukva set of traps, you're probably not filling out the apparel. In short, you look silly wearing a synthetic nylon top with jeans. The worst offenders are people who dress in suits or slacks and a shirt and head to the NBA arena after work with a jersey on top of their Brooks Brothers oxford.

(I'll also add, and this has since been touched upon below, that wearing the name of another human being on your back [particularly somebody younger than yourself] is a bit awkward. Wearing another human being's name on your back represents a sort of adulation of somebody's talents or persona [as expressed below in the comments] or brand [players as products] you align yourself with. Maybe it's just me, but there are few athletes I feel that strongly about. In this current sports atmosphere I align myself with organizations, not players, more often than not and I tend to find that few athletes are well-rounded enough human beings to want to show my respect for by wearing their name on my back.)

I'll leave you with my thoughts on baseball jerseys. I think they fly no matter how old or young you are. Baseball jerseys are only jerseys in the loosest sense of the word. Most of the time they are cotton (or polyester), feature buttons and a collar. In short, for a big slice of the population, it's an upgrade from the normal day-to-day attire.

Enough from the news desk, if you feel strongly about wearing jerseys regularly you should probably go enroll in Madden Nation. Or share your thoughts if you're inclined. 
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Andy Samberg and Terry Tate both encourage you to vote
Category: MLB

Since: Sep 29, 2008
Posted on: October 24, 2008 11:38 am

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

AS I read this I am 31 and I have my Josh Cribbs Jersey on... I will always wear jersey of the teams that I support. I am not trying to aport them when I go clubbin, but fridays at work to show my team support as well as at the events. Eveyone is also forgetting that Jay-z is talking about the XXXXXL trend that is going on out there. You dont want to wear your jersey 15 sizes too big. That isnt professional at all. There is a classy way to do it, as well as a way where you are trying to look like your 18.

Since: Jan 26, 2007
Posted on: October 23, 2008 11:38 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

My McNabb one got thrown in the corner in disgust much of last season, now it hangs collecting dust.

I have a Carolina Hurricanes sweater, two UNC jerseys, Appalachian State two peat jersey, and a Westbrook *(throw up jersey) and my mcnabb...

They all get wear (except mcnabb it's jinxed).

I don't think there should be a rule, male or female. So what if we wear jerseys, it's to support our team, show pride.

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: October 23, 2008 10:04 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Jerseys are really a marketing ploy by the teams, especially when a name and number are on the back.  Take the NFL In Cleveland.  About 8 -9 years ago there were thousands of Tim Couch jerseys.   After a few years when he was beaten and done, most of the Jerseys disappeared..... I suppose to the back of closets.  Next came thousands of Kelly Holcomb jerseys.  Everybody wants new.... the number and name of the latest stud.   I'm sure this is true in other NFL cities and for the other major sports as well.

Browns fans still see a few of the Tim Couch jerseys at the games.... only with a line drawn through the C, like this "Tim C Ouch".  It's tough being a Cleveland Browns fan.

I've never been a jersey guy myself.  T-shirts, sweats, jackets, hats, and even gloves yes.  But no age limit.  Whatever floats your boat.

Since: Aug 26, 2008
Posted on: October 23, 2008 8:24 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Is a fan allowed to cheer their team, jump up and down when they score, high five when a linebacker pummels an RB or blow raspberries at Terrell Owens? How is that childish behaviour any different than showing your allegiance by wearing a jersey. I don't buy the lack of confidence argument. I say to each his/her own. (except the hairy back brothers cannot wear basketball jerseys)

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 23, 2008 8:12 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

What about a woman wearing another woman's jersey? In such a case, the "30" year old rule should apply in full effect for the outlined reasons above.

Now see, I disagree here.  Women have no problem admiring another woman and her accomplishments.  Remember, we are the gender that freely hugs each other, shares nail polish, tells stories to our closest friends...and go to the restroom in pairs.  There's not an issue with whether our "masculinity" is in danger of being challenged. 

We can even sleep in the same bed together (platonically of course) without the yuck factor going.  And ... ummm... no need to comment on the thoughts running through the mind abour two women in bed together...

Sorry Eric, really didn't mean to lead your blog into that 

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: October 23, 2008 8:03 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?


A good question. Great actually.

Here's my line of thinking. The reason men should not don the jersey's of other men is because it shows a level of admiration which is construed as reflecting insecurity and to a certain extent, weakness. By wearing a jersey, one is essentially saying they want to possess the qualities that make the jersey owner so special. As a grown man, one would hope you would have the confidence necessary to establish yourself in the world - rather then spending your time and money worshiping another that has already achieved that desired success.

Looking at that same issue from a female standpoint is interesting. Pride may or may not be the backbone of the argument. I guess it comes down what it means for a woman to wear a man's jersey. There is still that quality of admiration, however I'm not sure insecurity and weakness can follow. A woman admiring a man's efforts is not as socially taboo as a man admiring another man's efforts. Even with that said, I would have to hold true to the "30 rule" for the sake of consistency.

What about a woman wearing another woman's jersey? In such a case, the "30" year old rule should apply in full effect for the outlined reasons above.

And a man wearing a woman's jersey? Again, the rule must hold true. Women are in no way inferior to men, therefore admiring or idolizing a grown woman at a older age would by definition present as much insecurity and weakness as if it were a man.

I hate playing off social constructions of gender, but for the sake of entertainment, I must.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: October 23, 2008 7:27 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Wait...this is for old for women? 

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: October 23, 2008 5:49 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Amen....... I wear my #17 Cleveland Browns (Braylon Edwards) jersey every Sunday.........I'm forty. I've always worn a jersey on Sunday.  I probably have an old #17 jersey too! (the Brian Sipe edition).......Who cares how old you are?  I just love the game.........

Since: Jan 26, 2007
Posted on: October 23, 2008 5:09 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Hmm, I am 37 and do not have any intention of NOT wearing my jerseys. I have a few, and wear them with pride. Who gives a rat's patutty if you are older and don a jersey. Well for basketball if you have old wrinkled skin and such, just wear a team tee underneath. I would laugh if my 67 year old dad wore a jersey, say go Dad. I have an authentic throwback Brian Westbrook jersey from last season, I wear it all the time as my McNabb jersey is son affectionately refers to it as the throw up jersey.

So my point, if you did not get it, don't tell me I am too old to wear a jersey. I might be 100, and a granny and great granny, but if I still have my scrupples, I will don a jersey.

Since: Jun 30, 2008
Posted on: October 23, 2008 4:56 pm

Weekend Debate: What age to stop wearing jerseys?

Let me open the floor by saying baseball jerseys should be lumped into the same category as all other jerseys.

What defines a jersey? Any piece of clothing made to resemble or replicate that which is worn by an individual's favorite player. That said, I strongly agree with Jay-Z the legal jersey-wearing age for men should end 30 years old.

Grown men should not resort to wearing another man's last name on the back of shoulders. It's just one of those unwritten codes we should all adhere to. That would be like me wearing a shirt with "Obama" on the back of it. I may support him, but he is not my pimp.

For those jersey-loving men fortunate enough to be over 30 - a piece of advice: there are replicas without last names on them which are okay to wear. For Yankee fans, it's perfectly acceptable to wear Yankees attire with the number "2" or "13" on the back - so long as the name that accompany are no where to be found. Thankfully, the NFL has so many other options aside from the traditional jersey for fans of all ages to wear. Basketball is no where as close to football, but it is making slow progress.

I nominate a MAN LAW stating men over 30 years should not be allowed to put another man's last name on their back.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or