— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 18, 2015
By Jeff Moss
October 20, 2015
On March 9, 2014, William Clay Ford, Sr. — the sole owner of the Detroit Lions since the fateful day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated — passed away due to complications from pneumonia. Predictably, the organization honored him the following season with a patch on both the team’s home and away Honolulu Blue and Silver jerseys.
This is the patch the Lions players wore in 2014 when the franchise enjoyed their best season in years, which ended with a heartbreaking and controversial playoff loss against the Dallas Cowboys.
These commemorative jersey insignias are very common amongst professional sports teams when a member of management, an executive or a player passes on. What was completely bizarre about the Lions’ Ford, Sr. patch is that it has remained on the jersey THIS season.
One season of honoring a deceased contributor to an organization is pretty much the standard in the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL. In fact, the NFL has very specific rules about this sort of thing — as you can imagine from an entity that won’t allow DeAngelo Williams to wear pink wristbands year round to honor his late mother who died from breast cancer.
Anyway, prior to the 2015 Lions season commencing, current Lions owner Martha Ford made it perfectly clear to her subordinates that she wanted her late husband to be honored again this season with the same patch.
This request was passed along to her current errand boy and Team President Tom “Breath Mints” Lewand, Jr., who probably figured it was ridiculous. But with the power shift from Bill Ford, Jr. to Martha, Lewand was in no position to tell the 90-year-old woman that this just wasn’t done.
From what our Allen Park insiders tell us, Lewand, Jr. is doing everything possible to keep himself in Martha’s good graces for OBVIOUS reasons. Major ass-kissing is the phrase I have heard repeatedly. Junior wasn’t about to upset the widow Ford over THIS sensitive issue.
So the Lions contacted the NFL league offices and were told they could not wear the patch again this season. That it was prohibited.
After some back-and-forth negotiations, the DSR has learned that the NFL gave Lions management two options …
1) They could accept a $50,000.00 fine each week for wearing the banned patch. Including exhibition games, this would have cost the Ford Family one million dollars. A lot of money, yes … but a mere drop in the bucket for a nonagenarian who is supposedly worth over 1.5 billion dollars.
2) The Lions could wear the patch but it would mean that this alteration to the jersey would be their ONE league-approved apparel modification for FIVE YEARS!!!
So, the Lions obviously just ponied up the million dollars to further honor the owner who presided over this abomination of a franchise for 51 years, right ????
Nope. From what I have been told, the Lions decided to forego any modifications to their jerseys for another five seasons just so they could wear the patch in 2015 — the stitching that honors the worst owner in the history of the league.
According to my sources, the Lions now cannot change the lettering on their jersey, add any sort of pinstripe or basically do anything to modify the 2015 uniform for another FIVE YEARS!!!! Which means they will have to wear the William Clay Ford, Sr. patch for the duration of the five-year period.
Now, at the unknown point when Martha Ford is either deceased or no longer owns the team (one can dream), will the NFL insist that the team STILL wear the WCF, Sr. accoutrement?
I am waiting to hear back from the NFL regarding all of these issues and will update you further when I know more.