Other than mustard-stained shirts, orthopedic shoes and white gym socks, media guys like me don't wear uniforms to work.
I suppose if I did, I'd have the word "cynic" across the back.
Or perhaps "non-athletic."
Of course I bring up the notion of uniforms and names for one reason and one reason only: Namegate.
See, we in the media tend to gravitate toward controversies and when we find them we like to stick the word "gate" on the end, just to be cute. Most folks who still read newspapers probably know where this comes from, but for those who get their news through less conventional means -- I'm looking at you, "new media" -- slapping the word "gate" relates back to Watergate, the real-world story that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon 40 years this month.
So, anyway ... Watergate spawned a thousand other "gates" in the news media, some significant and others far less important.
Namegate falls under the latter category. Still, for our purposes here in the toy department, I suppose it's meaningful enough to warrant a column.
Namegate -- or perhaps a better moniker might be No-namegate -- came to us last week after BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall announced his players' uniforms wouldn't have their names on the back. Instead of having the likes of "Hill" or "Van Noy" above the numbers, this year's jerseys would be adorned with one of three words: "Honor," "Spirit" or "Tradition."
Well, it turns out Mendenhall's idea didn't go over so well. Apparently he didn't clear it with anyone else and instead surprised everyone with the announcement at the team's annual media day gathering.
Within hours of the announcement, Mendenhall took to social media to say the Cougars, as a team, decided to wear the nameless uniforms only for their Oct. 12 homecoming game vs. Georgia Tech.
He punctuated the Twitter revelation with "PERFECT" which must have been to signal his acceptance of the team's decision. Unfortunately, it also could be taken as sarcasm as in, "The team just decided to throw me under the bus. Just PERFECT."
His use of the word "perfect" also unwittingly conjured up those "Quest For Perfection" T-shirts from a few years ago.
That concept didn't go over all that well, either.
Honestly, though, there's a part of me that wants to salute Bronco's initial decision. I think his instincts were good; his heart was in the right place.
Some of his critics -- some of the school's critics -- ballyhooed the move as yet another example of BYU's having some sort of a superiority complex, that it somehow was holding itself up as being better than everyone else.
Maybe, maybe not. But I've got no problem with them touting a higher standard just as long as they constantly maintain it.
And that's where the cynic in me comes out. See, throwing around words like "spirit," "honor" and "tradition" is perfect in a perfect world. Unfortunately, college football is far from perfect, even at BYU.
Don't get me wrong, I love the spirit, honor and tradition of the college game. Sadly, though, I've decided those things have been overrun by lying, cheating and greed.
Once celebrated for its competition, sportsmanship and feel-good amateurism, college athletics -- specifically football -- now seems as murky as pond water and as crooked as Fido's hind leg. Yeah, I know, not every program as like that, but dirty little secrets have become the norm, and not just at the big-time level.
It's an epidemic and even though Mendenhall's effort to promote positive values is commendable, it's so unrealistic it's laughable.
Spirit? Honor? Tradition? In a morally nebulous world, they're worth shooting for, of course. Unfortunately, their meaning has been tarnished by a win-at-any-cost mentality.
But what do I know? My jersey has mustard stains on it.