Remember Rod Smart?
He was the XFL player who wore the jersey with the name “He Hate Me” emblazoned on the back.
While the wrestling/football mash-up didn’t make it past one season, Smart gained national recognition and parlayed his fame into a short-lived NFL career. Smart even spent some time on the Eagles’ roster in 2001.
Now the Philadelphia Wings will make headlines this Saturday, when they host the Buffalo Bandits at 4 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center. Wings players will wear jerseys with their Twitter handles on the back, instead of last names. Players were required to create Twitter accounts before the season just for the occasion. The Wings are auctioning off the game-worn jerseys with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
“It’s perfect, right?,” said backup goaltender Kurtis Wagar, who added half of his teammates had no clue how to use Twitter two months ago. “It’s gotten us a lot of exposure already and it’s for a good cause. The more people that know about the league, the better.”
The 26-year-old Wagar is one of the most active Twitter members on the Wings’ roster. His handle is @PatrickSwagzee.
“It’s pretty funny, I think,” Wagar said of his handle. “Plus I’m a big Patrick Swayze fan. “C’mon, Point Break? … Youngblood is probably my favorite Swayze movie.”
But not all National Lacrosse League (NLL) players share Wagar’s enthusiasm.
“One game too many. Gimmick like this sets the league back and makes us look like a joke,” Washington Stealth forward Jeff Zywicki tweeted Dec. 20 from his account, @Zywicki67.
That sounds a bit like sour grapes. After all, most professional athletes already use the social media network, so why not use it to help promote your product? In this case, that’s the Wings and the entire NLL.
“It’s the perfect league to do something like that in,” said Wagar. “The NFL, the NHL, they couldn’t do it. I know the nay-sayers are calling it a bush league kind of thing, but why not? It’s a fun thing and the money is going to charity.”
Why not is right.