One of the best stories this NFL offseason is turning into another example of how uptight the league is.
Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif completed his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal over the summer and celebrated it with the ultimate fashion statement by putting “Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif” in Chiefs colors on the back of his lab coat.
This is it! Today I become a doctor! It also marks the beginning of a great new adventure for all 2018 graduates of @mcgillu Faculty of Medicine. #LDTMD #graduation #passion #nfl #chiefs pic.twitter.com/j4oD1BCuXJ
— Laurent D. Tardif (@LaurentDTardif) May 29, 2018
That gave him another idea: Why not put “M.D.” on his NFL jersey? After all, the league has taken numerous steps to ease up on celebrations recently and there are numerous examples of players adding “Jr”, “Sr” and “III” to their name plates. This would be simple enough for the league to O.K. and give football a nice story from a public relations front.
It would appear, unfortunately, that the league feels the addition of two letters to a jersey would put a dent in the sacred shield.
No Fun League strikes back
According to Canadian media, that request was too much fun for a single player to have on the field in 2018.
.@LaurentDTardif a fait une demande officielle à la NFL pour ajouter les lettres «M.D.» devant son nom de famille sur son chandail, mais la NFL a refusé. Il espère que le récent buzz médiatique entourant sa graduation puisse faire changer les choses. @TVASports #Chiefs
— Andy Mailly-Pressoir (@AndyMPressoir) June 21, 2018
Translation: “[Duvernay-Tardif]made an official request to the NFL to add the letters “M.D.” in front of his last name on his jersey, but the NFL refused. He hopes that the recent media buzz surrounding his graduation can make a difference.”
Never mind that the NFL has already used Duvernay-Tardif’s medical degree as part of their social media strategy, it’s such an easy win for a league desperate for PR victories that it’s almost hard to believe it wouldn’t want to use this success story as much as possible.
But Duvernay-Tardif is right about one thing: football fans — and those who think sports take themselves way too seriously — should keep up the campaign and hope the NFL eventually relents.
The hero Duvernay-Tardif needs
There is one man out there who has made bending the NFL’s rules as vital to his career as anything he did on the field and he should be Duvernay-Tardif’s next call.
That’s right: Chad Johnson, formerly Chad Ochocinco — also formerly Chad Johnson — is the champion Duvernay-Tardif, and really all football fans, deserve. If the man who changed his name just to get around NFL rules can’t get the lineman the respect from the league that he has rightfully earned, no one can.
Barring that, the NFL can risk losing Duvernay-Tardif to the revived XFL, where creative nameplates aren’t just allowed, they’re encouraged.
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