Greetings fellow Teal Warriors,
The purpose of my post is simple. I am here to bring awareness.
Several weeks ago a member of the Bold City Brigade reached out to us via Facebook. She had great concern for what she saw inside the stadium early in the season and she was pleading with us to assist her in her quest.
I have but one regret. You see, I did not immediately respond to her plea. We were knee deep in preparing for the Tennessee away trip. You know, the game where we were humiliated on national TV by the awkward ass coach that we ran out of town? Yeah, that one. So, right or wrong her request for help was brushed aside and pretty much forgotten.
Let me publicly apologize for that, Marge. I am sorry.
Fast forward to today and during halftime I took a walk to a different area of the stadium where I knew they had some tasty J-Ville Lager on tap. I found myself perusing some of the merch in one of the larger Jaguars Apparel shops.
That's where I stumbled upon it. An area dedicated to opposing fan merchandise.
Now, I know what you're thinking... "No way! Not inside our stadium! Who would do that?" Well, that's where Marge's story actually begins.
Marge, being the vigilant and passionate lady that she is, spotted this early on in the season. She was so upset that she asked the woman working the register right then and there, "What the hell is this shit?" The reply she received was simple. If she had an issue she could call Legends/Fanatics directly and complain.
Well, you guessed it, Marge being the badass that she is called the next day. She called and demanded an answer to why in the hell someone, anyone thought this was okay. The response she got was simple. She was told that Fanatics and the Jaguars were testing the sale of opposing teams' merchandise out on the collective game day crowd. If it was ill-received then it probably wouldn't be kept. A relief, right? Not in this case. Marge was crestfallen when she heard that she was actually the first person to call and complain. The first and only. That's where we let Marge down. Her plea was simple. She asked us to spread the word. She requested that we join her fighting this.
Now, some of you may be reading this and you may be saying to yourselves, "Okay, Cap. We have plenty of other shit to worry about" or you may even not find anything fundamentally wrong with any of this. If so, cheers. You may want to stop reading now. Me, I do take issue with it and why I do just keeps pulling at me. So much so that I was compelled to write this tonight.
Let me tell you why. Several years ago I had the pleasure of sitting down for lunch with a senior member of the Jaguars front office staff. This individual was new at the time. He had some great ideas for engaging the fan base and some of the diehards that Bold City Brigade represents in general. We chatted for quite awhile. I was encouraged by this conversation both then and now. This individual spoke about how he didn't know much about our fan base when he took the job. One of his first questions to his new co-workers was what kind of fans we had here in Jacksonville. He wanted to know if the national narrative was right.
I remember him telling me what he was told. Someone within the braintrust of the organization spoke glowingly of the fan base. My new contact was told that the Jaguars had tremendous fans. The kind that were passionate and loud, but respectful and welcoming enough to opposing fans and opposing ideas that they (the Jaguars) rarely had serious issues with the fans. At the time, I didn't necessarily disagree with this description.
So you'd imagine my surprise when my new contact told me he was disappointed when he heard our fan base described like that. This gentleman went on to tell me how he was hoping that we had a rabid fan base with a bit of an edge. One that was so passionate that we didn't take shit from anyone. A fan base like Philly that you almost had to settle down and harness that wildness. To this individual it was clear that he'd rather have to deal with folks that cared too much and were too vocal than ones that didn't care enough.
Now, those that know me and that know Bold City Brigade and Teal Street Hooligans, know that that describes us pretty accurately. Both then and now. I was encouraged at the time by hearing this. I remember thinking to myself, "This guy gets us. I like this guy. This guy is gonna be good for this franchise."
Cool story, Cap. I've just read 700 words, but why the hell did I read it? Truthfully, I laugh as I write this. I ignored Marge's plea several weeks ago. I ignored it as we continued with our plans. I ignored it as we continued to support this team even though we felt like it was futile. I ignored Marge until today. Today is when it all hit me. I saw that merchandise in my stadium. I saw it on a shelf next to the Jaguars logo. The logo that I love. I saw Titans gear inside our stadium. It was so clear in that moment for me. So much so that I was pissed at myself for just now taking this stance. What it came down to was one simple question. I asked myself, "Would this shit fly in Philly?". I think we all know that answer.
So, Marge, you're the real MVP. Thanks for taking a stand. My apologies for just now taking up the cause. But better late than never.
If you want to stand with Marge and I, pick up the phone and call 633-6000 and ask for Dave Mitura. Tell him what you think about having opposing fans' gear being sold inside our stadium. I ask that you be respectful, but be honest. If phone calls aren't your thing, you can always go here and voice your concerns.
We don't have a lot these days. But we have each other and we have our pride. I'll be damned if I let go of any of that anytime soon.