In a Black Friday column bemoaning the state of patriotism and consumerism (or something, it's Clyde Haberman, so it's hard to tell), Clyde Haberman mentioned an excursion
to two sporting goods stores in Times Square to see if Corporal [Pat] Tillman is remembered in any way. Sports lovers are often vocal in proclaiming their support of the military. These two stores, visited by people from all over the country, stock jerseys bearing the names and roster numbers of football, baseball, basketball and hockey players. Do you, we asked, have one for Pat Tillman? In both places, the clerks said: "Who?" Exactly.
What, then, to make of this Sunday Styles piece that appeared in Haberman's paper two days later?
THE National Football League sells hundreds of styles of replica jerseys at its official Web site, nflshop.com, and fans can add to the choices by customizing jerseys with the name and number of a player. In almost every case, though, the best sellers are replicas of those worn by the most popular players in the league today, including Reggie Bush, the rookie running back with the New Orleans Saints, and Peyton Manning, the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.One notable exception is Pat Tillman, who last played for the Arizona Cardinals nearly five years ago and was killed while on duty as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan in April 2004. Of the top 10 jerseys sold in October, Mr. Tillman ranks No. 7, the league said.
A couple of explanations present themselves: Perhaps the NFL sells most of its merchandise on line. Perhaps New Yorkers are exactly going to shell out for Arizona Cardinals jerseys, no matter whose name is on them. Or maybe - just maybe - visiting two places and drawing a sweeping conclusion is, we don't know, shoddy journalism. Just a thought.