So, it’s come to this

Tonight, Mike Richards felt obliged to apologize on Twitter for a hat he may or may not wear in the future. He said:

Ok so today I was given a lot of nice hats from New Era. 3 phillies hats to go along with the other 3 I have but also some other teams.

Apologize in advance for wearing the hats. I just like how they fit

Richards, captain of the Flyers and a hockey hero in Philadelphia, had to feel uncomfortable about the prospect of wearing one of these hats if it moved him to publicly apologize in advance for the potential action.

In the past, Richards has been criticized for wearing hats of rival teams, like the New York Yankees, in photos or videos of postgame interviews. It’s reasonable to believe that, in the age of social networking, fans have commented to Richards directly or publicly in a location where he could notice those comments.

Philadelphians are notoriously  tough on their teams and do not hesitate to say what they feel about the players. Richards knows that, if he plays poorly or does something to hurt the team, he will get criticized by both the fans and the media. Being vocal and critical is in our nature. It is part of our identity. That won’t change and Richards is aware of that. However, the line needs to be drawn somewhere between his personal life and his professional life.

Since Richards is a public figure, I hesitate to use the terms public and private. He’s in the public eye constantly and, like it or not, people will continue to snap cell phone pictures of him on the street or wherever he may be — but hasn’t he at least earned the right to not be criticized about his tastes?

If Richards, or any other athlete, chooses to wear an article of clothing displaying the logo of any rival team, whether it be the Yankees, Mets, or even the Devils, then so be it. It’s not anyone’s place to heckle or criticize another person for this.

I say we echo the opinions of Eric Superfan, Dan Mac, and others:

@MRichie18 As long as you rock the Orange & Black who cares about what hat you wear .

Wear what you wanna wear @mrichie18. The haters can deal with it.

Mike Richards, wear whatever you would like. We will continue to be vocal about your play on the ice, both good and bad, but you should never be made to feel uncomfortable about your personal choices.