Dallas Cowboys: Are jersey number changes fair to the kids?

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Said in emotional Helen Lovejoy voice, “Won’t somebody, please, think of the children!” Using kids to dial up emotions and mask otherwise rational thought is nothing new these days. Whether we’re talking news, politics, or Dallas Cowboys, it’s a cheap way to sway public opinion.

But in the case of jersey number changes, I can’t help but think of the children. Particularly those who are finically disadvantaged and unable to pivot with the masses and keep up-to-date on the latest jersey numbers.

When players change jersey numbers it impacts disadvantaged Dallas Cowboys fans the most.

It makes great business sense for the league to allow players the freedom to change numbers. Not only does the move add harmless publicity to the brand, but it compels fans to update their wardrobes. And by requiring the players themselves to buy out remaining inventory of the outdated jersey, it avoids losses.

Financially speaking, it’s a no-brainer.

But the bottom-line isn’t without its collateral damage. Not all fans are financially capable of buying a new jersey every year. Younger fans are almost entirely dependent on their guardians to foot the cost, and let’s face it, not all parents can/want to spend money on a simple number change. And suddenly that favorite article of fandom becomes a statement of social class and/or source of embarrassment.

Now, I know it sounds like I’m a bleeding heart- and I promise you I’m nothing of the sort. I just can’t shake the image of a kid mowing lawns all summer to afford that prized jersey. Or the kid using their baby sitting money to represent their favorite player. Or the mom tirelessly working overtime shifts to afford the perfect Christmas present. All just to be gut-punched by a number change.

Players are buying back the league inventory in order to compensate the NFL, but they aren’t offering anything of the sort to compensate fans. The NFL clearly sees the importance for their bottom line, but there’s nothing set up to help out the fans.

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Solution: Make kids jerseys exchangeable  

Don’t complain about a problem unless you’re coming with a solution, right? How about allowing kids to return their old jerseys for a new one with an updated number? That’s no small ask, to be sure. But it protects the segment of the fanbase who’s most vulnerable.

Adults can fend for themselves. Helen Lovejoy won’t fight for you and neither will I. But it seems like an act of goodwill and compassion for the little people. The people who care the most and the people who are largely dependent on the resources of others.

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Number changes come at a cost. The NFL protected themselves against loses but haven’t done anything for the fans. While a large scale exchange system may be an unreasonable request, how about just exchanging youth sizes? Won’t somebody –PLEASE- think of the children?

  • Published on 05/29/2021 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 05/29/2021 at 12:05 PM