NFL keeping low profile regarding “M.D.” issue

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Why won’t the NFL let Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif apply the initials signifying his status as a Medical Doctor on the back of his jersey? The position on the M.D. issue has become the latest million-dollar question regarding the No Fun League.

And this one really isn’t about fun. It’s about celebrating excellence and inspiring others to emulate it. From persuading players to make early preparations for the post-football existence that Chuck Noll called “your life’s work” to making an impression on inquisitive children who learn that the “M.D.” next to Duvernay-Tardif’s name means “doctor” and who may decide in that moment to do the same, only good things would flow from granting the request.

PFT contacted the league by email on Saturday for confirmation of the story that had emerged from Canada regarding the no-M.D. edit. There was no response. PFT contacted the league by email again on Sunday, after MDS posted a story on the report from Canada, for confirmation and explanation. Again, there was no response.

The response from fans has been largely universal: It’s a bad decision and a worse look for a league that already allows “SR.” and “JR.” and other designations to appear on a jersey. So why not let Durvernay-Tardif to attach a designation that is used just as commonly?

There’s no reasonable argument against it. Often, the league takes the position that, if an exception is made for one player, exceptions will have to be made for other players. In this case, they should want other players to become the exception, by demonstrating the intelligence and work ethic necessary to get a medical degree while also working as an NFL player.

What’s the problem with celebrating this achievement? Does the NFL hope players won’t develop the kind of marketable skills that won’t make them completely dependent on professional football, ensuring that the NFL will have full and complete access to the players until the moment when the NFL decides it no longer wants or needs them?

That surely (I hope) isn’t the case. But the NFL usually has a reason for everything it does, even if the reasoning is misguided. In this case, there’s simply no valid reason to keep Duvernay-Tardif from letting the world know via his football uniform what he has accomplished.

58 responses to “NFL keeping low profile regarding “M.D.” issue

  1. Let’s see, we can have these guys dance around in groups like idiots after a score but we can’t let a man have 2 letters on his shirt??

  2. NFL hasn’t yet figured out a way to profit from allowing this. A rational view would be that it reflects well on the NFL and that it would be good PR.

  3. in truth, the MD designation is not part of his name, any more than Dr. would be in front of it;

    however, one would think the NFL would want to champion any measure of excellence given the quagmire of scandals the league have embroiled themselves in, from ludicrous retirement and medical benefit plans, questionable substance abuse testing and practises to the 60+ year-old concussion problem they first denied like tobacco companies once did their cancer-causing products, then stonewalled investigations with in-house doctors serving as human shields and now seriously underfunding medical care for victims;

    of course, they could be concerned about theirblessed image;

    imagine the viral video of a player stumbling around falling down on the field, only to roll over and reveal on the back of his jersey he’s a doctor…

  4. Based on comments to the earlier article, I think the response has been far from “universal.” As far as a “reasonable argument,” how about the fact that MD is not part of his name?

    Maybe you should list your name with “JD” after it. Or Esq., you know, if you’re ok with the sexist tradition that was founded on.

    There’s other ways to celebrate his achievement. I’m fine with the stance taken by the NFL.

  5. If Chad Johnson CAN be permitted “Ochocinko” on his jersey by filing a piece of paper – then this guy ought file the same way but with M.D. as part of his last name.

  6. Comparing Jr, Sr, III to MD is just trolling for story. Your not “awarded’ those suffixes. As a rule Jr and III you have all your life.

    I’m not saying the the NFL is right in not allowing MD, I’m just saying that your Sr, Jr, III argument is very bad comparison.

  7. “The response from fans has been largely universal: It’s a bad decision”
    =================================

    Um, what?!? Do you not read the comment section, which is far from universal condemnation?

    In fact, most fans agree that it opens new issues like guys with CFA, CPA, ESQ, USMC, MDiv, MBA, P.Eng, etc…

  8. “What’s the problem with celebrating this achievement?”
    ======================================

    Why does it need to be “celebrated” on a jersey during a football game? Did he not a graduation ceremony? Does he not have a diploma to hang on his wall?

    JJ Watt has raised over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery – should he be allowed to “celebrate his achievement” by changing his jersey to something like “Hurricane Fighter”???

  9. I don’t agree with the “slippery slope” argument here (the “what about CFA, CPA, etc?). As long as the NFL retains the right of approval, the standard can be made whatever it wants. The fact is that the NFL can choose whatever standard it desires. The REAL QUESTION is: why not include this in the standard? The fact that it is so unique among NFL players means it’s probably worth celebrating, and it isn’t a big deal that would open up a Pandora’s Box unless the league lets it become one.

  10. With all the problems the NFL has, allowing a Doctor to put MD on his jersey is an Easy Win for the NFL. Of Course, they will screw it up. Weak leadership

  11. Another example showing how the league does not care about the fans. They are more interested in appeasing corporate “partners”, pushing the games into Mexico and London, and celebrities.
    I gave up all my season tickets 3 years ago, and have not attended a game since. the Super Bowls can hold up to 100,000 or more people, but the league allows the true fans 500 tickets.
    Yet you see hundreds of celebrities getting free tickets. But, some stupid people just dont care if the league/teams continue to charge higher and higher outrageous prices for food/drink,merchandise. tickets and parking, while taking more home games away and giving them to Mexico, London and soon China.

  12. uhhh…..
    it’s not a part of his NAME…. it’s a reference to a profession….
    so, if he wants to be a doctor, then go be one…
    what would be next… advertisement references?

  13. This is just foolish….. to compare MD to JR or SR is a poor analogy…..
    What’s next, a dentist will have DDS on his jersey…… what if a player becomes a gynecologist??? OBGYN after his name??? LOL??!!
    I’m with NFL on this one….. NAMES ONLY!!!
    That this is even being DISCUSSED just shows you that it’s the SLOW OFF SEASON hunt for a topic to hammer on to create a controversy where there should be none….. SMH….

  14. akira554 says:

    June 25, 2018 at 10:17 am

    “What’s the problem with celebrating this achievement?”
    ======================================

    Why does it need to be “celebrated” on a jersey during a football game? Did he not a graduation ceremony? Does he not have a diploma to hang on his wall?

    JJ Watt has raised over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery – should he be allowed to “celebrate his achievement” by changing his jersey to something like “Hurricane Fighter”???
    _____________________________________________________

    I agree with the NFL’s decision on the MD thing, but I’d be 100% in favor of JJ Watt wearing a hurricane fighter jersey

  15. Good – why does he need a job title of a different job from a potential different employer on his jersey? Dumbest thing ever. I cant even believe this is an article. Like i saw on a previous article – when he goes to be a doctor he isn’t going to put his football position on his MD title. This is ridiculous.

  16. NFL hasn’t made a right decision in a long time. Since Goodell keeps his job you have to point the finger at ownership. This is how they want the NFL ran otherwise they would make changes. How many owners are now the sons who inherited the team and don’t remember the time when the NFL wasn’t popular? I think the old guard is almost all gone.

  17. hagemeisterpark920 says:
    June 25, 2018 at 10:59 am
    Good – why does he need a job title of a different job from a potential different employer on his jersey? Dumbest thing ever. I cant even believe this is an article. Like i saw on a previous article – when he goes to be a doctor he isn’t going to put his football position on his MD title. This is ridiculous.

    ——————————

    I can’t believe people are so worked up over this. Let him put it on there. For a league that likes to fake it cares about education why not put it on there? Who is it hurting? Fans call players all sorts of bad names when they leave school early but now if you go that extra mile you can’t put that on display? Your not making a lot of sense.

  18. redsoxu571 says: “The fact that it is so unique among NFL players means it’s probably worth celebrating, and it isn’t a big deal that would open up a Pandora’s Box”
    ============================

    Point is, why does it need to be “celebrated” on the back of a jersey during a football game? The NFL rule book on uniforms exists for a reason – only the SURNAME to identify the player, no nicknames or anything else. If you want to be a snowflake and have a “special” celebration, then put in the gameday program, online player profile, etc.

    And the slippery slope is where the achievement cutoff is determined. Is a medical degree more difficult to achieve than an engineering master? What about an actuarial science designation? Or what about Alejandro Villanueva who spent 4 years on active duty in Afghanistan and decorated Bronze Star?

  19. The guys who have other degrees should be celebrated too. M.D.; PHD; B..A.; M.A.; GED. Put them all on jerseys!

    Let’s celebrate, Kool and the Gang style!

  20. “The response from fans has been largely universal: It’s a bad decision”
    =================================

    Um, what?!? Do you not read the comment section, which is far from universal condemnation?

    In fact, most fans agree that it opens new issues like guys with CFA, CPA, ESQ, USMC, MDiv, MBA, P.Eng, etc…

    __________________________

    I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t be allowed to have it, but this is a ridiculous argument. How many players actually have any of those degrees or titles? Surely not a lot, and by all means lets not encourage people to get more education!

  21. “ In this case, there’s simply no valid reason to keep Duvernay-Tardif from letting the world know via his football uniform what he has accomplished.”

    =========

    Shouldn’t his first accomplishment be wearing that jersey to block? Unless he’s planning to go all “Moonlight” Graham on some kid choking on a hotdog, I don’t see the point of having a title on a jersey.

  22. Let’s see, we can have these guys dance around in groups like idiots after a score but we can’t let a man have 2 letters on his shirt??
    ================================================

    And here come the conservatives bashing players for daring to show emotion after scoring. They expect players to not celebrate and just hand the ball to the ref “like ol’ Barry Sanders did back in the day”. Meanwhile the crowds go berserk, music blares, fireworks go off. Yet, players are accused of dancing “around in groups like idiots”.

    This is why the NFL = No Fun League

  23. In this case, they should want other players to become the exception, by demonstrating the intelligence and work ethic necessary to get a medical degree while also working as an NFL player.

    So any player that earns a degree post-college should get to put whatever the degree is after their name?
    Doesn’t seem well thought out:
    Accounting degree
    Liberal arts degree
    Drama degree

  24. They probably realize if they allow that a large number of players will want “MC” on their jersey and other stupid things.

  25. skmad2014 says: “Surely not a lot, and by all means lets not encourage people to get more education!”
    =======================

    Seriously, you’re delusional if you think having the letters MD on a football jersey will somehow encourage people to get more education, instead of the “boring reasons” like:

    – higher paying job careers
    – pursuing a life passion
    – expanding their intellect and personal development

    “But hey, I saw a football player with MD on his jersey, now I’m inspired to spend four years in college that I wasn’t intending to go before!!”, said no one ever.

  26. whenwilliteverend says:
    June 25, 2018 at 11:52 am
    They probably realize if they allow that a large number of players will want “MC” on their jersey and other stupid things.

    You’re all missing the big one, ThD. That’s right, the next profession for many of these guy who couldn’t possibly stand up to the rigors of a real job. Right from entertainment to scam artists who dodge taxes and don’t have to answer to any real authority. No, football’s not a real job any more than pounding on a pulpit on Sunday mornings. A real job is a 5 day a week all year long for 40+ years. That’s not football.

  27. This very same rule was the reason Father Mulcahy never tried out for the Loyola football team.

  28. Comparing “MD” to “Jr” or “Sr” is not an apt comparison. If the NFL allows “MD” they will also have to allow “PhD” and even “BS”. It’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not part of his legal name.

  29. There’s no slope. Policy could be ‘players with a doctorate (M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D.) from an accredited university can request adding their degree to jersey’. And still have the NFL hold approval to adding it (so we don’t have Doctor Hate Me with his PhD in hateology).

    And, I’d love to see ‘Capt Villanueva’ on a jersey. Heck, I might break down and buy one if that happened.

  30. vikingsvoice says:
    June 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm
    Comparing “MD” to “Jr” or “Sr” is not an apt comparison. If the NFL allows “MD” they will also have to allow “PhD” and even “BS”. It’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not part of his legal name.

    —————-

    Simple rule can be put in place. They will only honor graduate degrees of the doctrine level. That should keep it to about 1 every 50 years. Now the slippery slope argument is gone.

  31. If we start allowing PhDs on jerseys in the NFL, there will be initials every…

    well ok, maybe no one.

    But if start allowing MDs on jerseys in the NFL, there will be initials every…

    Ok, that one Chiefs guy.

    But there’s got to be a reason to oppose it because I made fun of education in high school…

  32. bergumblog says:
    June 25, 2018 at 10:01 am
    If Chad Johnson CAN be permitted “Ochocinko” on his jersey by filing a piece of paper – then this guy ought file the same way but with M.D. as part of his last name.
    —————————————————————————–
    I can promise you that Tardiff paid a lot more money to get MD after his name than Ocho did.

  33. 12strikes says:
    June 25, 2018 at 10:04 am
    Comparing Jr, Sr, III to MD is just trolling for story. Your not “awarded’ those suffixes. As a rule Jr and III you have all your life.

    I’m not saying the the NFL is right in not allowing MD, I’m just saying that your Sr, Jr, III argument is very bad comparison.

    fantastic 54 says:
    June 25, 2018 at 10:12 am
    Does it say MD on his birth certificate like everyone that uses JR, SR, or III?
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    I am in the LAST NAME ONLY camp … no suffixes. BTW, I don’t think there are many folks with “Sr” on their birth certificate … so, it is rarely part of one’s LEGAL name (unless they are one of the few to go through a formal name change to add “Senior” as a suffix.

    I realize I’m in the minority opinion here, so I’ll take it a step further: No first initials for players with the same last name on teams. I promise, real fans of teams know the difference between players without the stupid first initial. #lastnameonly

    Finally, I am a “II” and absolutely hate it, so maybe that’s where my stupid opinion comes from.

  34. What a stupid argument. Totally worth the NFL not allowing non-name designations on the jersey.

  35. I’m a third, as in, I was named “Billy Bob III”. It is part of my name, it is on my driver’s license and my passport. I can see that being the reasoning for it being allowed on a jersey, whereas “MD” is a title, an honorific, not actually part of the name. So while I don’t care if they allow “MD” or not, I think that is a reasonable justification for allowing “Jr” and “III” (but not “Sr”) and not allowing “MD”.

  36. I could be wrong here, but that “your life’s work” quote should more probably be attributed to Paul Brown, Noll’s first pro coach with the Cleveland Browns ca 1953-4. Not saying Noll may never have used it also, but he likely heard it himself first from The Old Man. Knoll did not even become Steelers’ head coach until 1969, one year after Brown had already begun coaching the AFL Bengals in ’68.

    I know Bob Trumpy’s book from his early days with the expansion Bengals circa late ‘6os recounts a PB anecdote pertaining to this quote.

  37. NFL earned this idiocy when they started allowing JR, SR, and Roman numerals just so RGIII could put “Griffin III” on his jersey. Prior to that the only thing allowed other than last name was first initial(or more) for multiple players with the same last name on a team. That’ll teach you to suck up to the military families, NFL.

  38. ‘A name suffix, in the Western naming tradition, follows a person’s full name and provides additional information about the person. There are academic, honorary, professional and social name suffixes.’ (Wikipedia, granted).

    ‘Jr.’ and ‘Sr.’ are personal name suffixes.
    ‘Esq.’ is a professional name suffix.
    ‘MBA’ is an academic name suffix.

    Follows the name, and is not part of the name………

  39. Well, if you let this guy put M.D. on the back of his jersey, next thing you know every player with a Ph.D. will want to do the same thing. Oh, wait, this is the NFL. Nevermind.

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