It’s certainly a novel concept, but not without precedent. We all remember the “GU” patch worn by NFL players in 2008 following the passing of then NFLPA President Gene Upshaw. It similarly couldn’t hurt the league to recognize another former union chief in such a way.
But I’m not particularly concerned with what they do elsewhere in the NFL. “Mobtown Sports Beat” host Thryl Nelson and I discussed the idea of the Indianapolis Colts honoring Mackey in a public way Tuesday. I recommended Colts owner Jim Irsay do so, despite the fact that Mackey had no connection to Indy whatsoever.
If he’s going to keep the records and history, he should certainly be willing to honor that history in a significant way.
But I’m not concerned about Indianapolis, as I don’t host a talk show in “The Friendly Heart of the Midwest.” (Thank God for that by the way.)
I’m only concerned about what is done in the city of Baltimore to honor one of the great athletes the city has ever known.
I received my answer this week, and it will be a public tribute all can see Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
In my opinion, the Ravens did INDEED “owe it” to the community to honor Mackey in a public way.
It’s probably not quite as black and white as some fans will want to make it. Mackey never wore a purple uniform and never really made a significant contribution to the organization that calls the “1 Winning Drive” address in Owings Mills home.
The obligation comes simply because the Ravens have a civic responsibility to recognize the legacy of Baltimore pro football that started when the Colts first called Charm City home. The Ravens have taken that obligation very seriously over the years, involving Colts alumni at practice, in games and in the community. Both versions of their “broadcast team” have included a former Colt (Tom Matte before Stan White), and they’ve inducted the Hall of Fame Colts into their Ring of Honor and erected a statue of the greatest Colt (Johnny Unitas) outside M&T Bank Stadium.