Sometimes when a player leaves town or wrongs a fanbase, the people who owned his jersey modify it to get a taste of revenge.
There’s an inherent risk when a fan buys a pro athlete’s jersey. (Beyond that you’ll look like a goon when you wear it to church and/or well into your 40s.) In virtually every case, the player will eventually leave town — either in a trade, a free agent bolt, or because he stops producing and everyone rides him out of town on a rail. And then you’re stuck with a jersey that’s at least a decade away from qualifying as ironic.
Fortunately, that gives fans an opportunity to express their creativity — often through the strategic use of tape-based editing on the back of the jersey. Below are 11 wonderful photos of fan-modified and fan-edited — and, in most cases, fan-catharsis-seeking — MLB, NFL and NBA jerseys.
1 | Ryan Braun, post-PEDs
It was a pretty intuitive journey from “BRAUN” to “FRAUD” — almost too convenient. Almost makes you think the next player who’s going to get caught up in a doping scandals will be Dustin Pedroia.
2 | The Lin movement
This is the only instance on this list where someone modified the jersey of a player who was still on the team. In fact, Carmelo Anthony is still on the Knicks — while the Jeremy Lin fad came, went, and packed up and left town for Houston. Sure, Carmelo’s time in New York has been a bit rocky and the team hasn’t been spectacular with him as the superstar, but still. He remains, Lin is gone. So the lesson here is… I don’t know. Dance with the one who sort of brung you?
3 | Peyton Hillis and VD
Prior to this excellent jersey modification, the only disease Peyton Hillis had been diagnosed with was fumbilitis.
4 | The Albert Pujols modifications
There are photos of — no exaggeration — 100 different modified Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinals jerseys on the Internet. I’m fairly sure everyone in St. Louis bought a Pujols jersey when he was there, and everyone in St. Louis was furious when he got out for big money. (Even though, based on how he’s performed since, that might be a bullet dodged.) I picked this Pujols jersey modification because it shows excellent sewing and craftsmanship and it’s risque without going too aggressively vulgar.
5 | OWEN 16
The Detroit Lions are the only NFL team ever to go 0-16 for a season. I love this way of eternally, subtly belaboring that point. It’s so clever, in fact, that it apparently leads to women licking your palm in admiration.
6 | The perils of bandwagon hopping
Here’s what I assume is going on here. This woman, like so many regrettable people, once upon a time jumped on the Yankees bandwagon. That worked fine for her. It was safe and easy and mainstream. She never watched the games — maybe the World Series, if friends were going to a bar — but she had the jersey and therefore had something to wear to the ballpark. Then… wait! Suddenly, after almost two decades of misery, her hometown Baltimore Orioles were good again. And not just good — probably a better near-term bet than the Yankees. But buying a second sports jersey just wasn’t an option. So, she hopped bandwagons, converted her Derek Jeter Yankees jersey into a Matt Wieters Orioles-ish jersey, and hit Camden Yards ready to root for her brand new team against her old team.
Or maybe she was just thought this would be funny. Either way.
7 | Bradley becomes Brand
I feel for this Philadelphia 76ers fan. He bought the Shawn Bradley jersey… but then Shawn Bradley’s body was taken over by basketball-playing aliens and it ruined him. He even believed he could fly AND he could touch the sky. Many years passed and then — yes! Elton Brand signed a contract to come play for the Sixers. A brand new hope!
Of course, he turned out to be a disaster and probably can’t blame it on basketball-playing aliens, but this guy and his duct taped monument to hope still persist.
8 | Revis to REFUND
Yes, the New York Jets are extraordinarily difficult to watch and yes, that’s a horrible seat — but it’s presumptuous to request a refund when you’re already sitting at the game. It’s almost as if Jets fans have unreasonable expectations and demands.
9 | Joe Mauer, he’s got your back
No, this isn’t technically a modified jersey — it’s back hair modified INTO a jersey. And if that doesn’t deserve recognition on this list, than what does?
10 | The Cleveland Browns modern quarterback history
This jersey is just brilliant, running down every man who’s started at quarterback for the Browns since… 1999. Yep, the Browns are on starting quarterback number 19 in only 14 years. Call me crazy, but I think Brian Hoyer just might stick. Then again, I also had high hopes for Spurgeon Wynn.
11 | Dwight Coward
My favorite part here is that he’s besmirching Dwight Howard AND paying homage to Kris Kross.