Classic card of the week
Carl Pickens, 1992 AW Sports
Few players loved America as much as Carl Pickens, who refused to be a part of this Carl Pickens card unless America was adequately acknowledged. And while it may be difficult to notice unless you look closely at this card, the American flag is, in fact, waving above Carl Pickens’ head. It is widely assumed that, going through Carl Pickens’ mind at this very moment as he waits to field a punt, are the emotional words of the National Anthem, which go, “And I’m proud to be an Americaaaan, where at least I know I’m freeeee…” That, I’m being told, is actually not the National Anthem. But it should be.
Besides loving America, Carl Pickens also played for the Cincinnati Bengals in the early 90’s, who were quarterbacked by Boomer Esiason, who also loved America, but not nearly as much as Carl Pickens, as evidenced by his mostly flagless cards. (Said Pickens, “You look great, Boomer, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t tell what country you’re playing in.”) Taking their cue from their forefather Pickens, the 2006 Cincinnati Bengals displayed even more love for our great nation, one-by-one actively traveling through America’s swift legal system in search of justice. Because Pickens considered himself a “star” on a team that wore “stripes,” he inevitably began to feel as much loyalty to his team as to his nation. According to his Wikipedia page:
He is also known for the "Carl Pickens Clause". This was a loyalty clause that the Bengals created and added to Pickens' contract which would cause him to forfeit all or some of his signing bonus if he insulted the organization in public. This clause has since been used in contracts with other players.
In stark contrast to the “Carl Pickens Clause” is the “Clause That Every Other Player Besides Carl Pickens” currently uses, which encourages said player to publicly trash/embarrass the organization, force a trade or flee for free agency, and then enact some sort of nonsensical “revenge” against that organization by scoring a touchdown or something. Pickens himself has likened this strategy to Benedict Arnold, which is a statement Terrell Owens did not take offense to, as he thought Benedict Arnold was the kid from “The Wonder Years.”
Did you know?
On the back of his pick-up truck, Carl Pickens displays an image of a pilgrim riding a bald eagle over Mount Rushmore.