HBO Hard Knocks- Did he really say that?...Really?

In my 30+ years of autograph collecting I had one of my worst collecting experiences recently. It was not an in-person experience or through-the-mail, it came while watching Episode 4 of HBO’s Hard Knocks. Carson Palmer is the 2002 Heisman trophy winning quarterback from USC and the Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback. HBO spent training camp with the Bengals in Georgetown, Kentucky filming a documentary of the day to day experiences as they happen leading up to the start of the NFL season. Their numerous off the field problems in recent years made Cincinnati a prime candidate for the show and not their quality of play.

During the episode a young boy is shown approaching Palmer for an autograph. The problem is that Carson’s younger brother Jordan also plays for the Bengals and looks strikingly similar. The boy is shown walking up to Jordan with a Carson Palmer jersey. You then hear an adult tell his kid as Jordan is signing: “That’s the brother, not the star. That ain’t #9.” The moment was more than awkward and I had to wonder what Jordan Palmer was thinking?

I attended Bengal training camp during the filming of the documentary. The Bengals held a half-hour autograph session and I took my twin 6-year old boys. There were no formal lines which led to a flood of mostly adult men pushing their way to the front of a chain link fence in a chaotic quest for signatures.

I look back after both events and I have a new respect for celebrities and their willingness to sign for fans. If Jordan Palmer never signed again, I can’t say that I would blame him? As fans do we have an obligation to give back to the celebrities that we admire enough to ask for a signature? What respect or "payment" do the celebrities deserve when signing? I have seen Tommy Lasorda and Bob Feller stop and reprimand people who just received signatures for not saying “thank you”.

Feel free to share your thoughts or similar stories…

Views: 131

Comment by Brandon Mysinger on September 25, 2009 at 7:09am
You should see a NASCAR race where you can have up to 20,000+ people in one area fighting for autographs. Thankfully, he drivers sign EACH week. However, even when Dale Earnhardt Jr. stopped to sign autographs for one hour last March in Bristol, THOUSANDS of fans were left out..It's always fun but always a madhouse!
Comment by Josh Board on September 25, 2009 at 9:48am
Thanks for that story. A great read. I think with Palmer #2 (not #9...hehehehehe), he really may not have been paying attention. I've seen a lot of guys sign stuff, and not realize until the last minute. I've also seen other guys try to correct someone, only to have the person say "I know, I want you and Carson to sign it." So, that makes them feel awkward for even saying anything. So sometimes, they just go into autopilot mode, just signing everything in their path. And believe it or not, they aren't even really paying attention. It could've been a Carson Palmer jersey, or a Jim Palmer jersey.

Adults pushing, when kids are around, is one of the most disgusting things about the hobby. I like when stars put those people in check, and/or sign for the kids first. Although, some kids are ONLY DOING IT for the adult that's standing 50 feet back, and handed them some 8 x 10s.
Comment by Robert Babb on September 25, 2009 at 7:11pm
I remember a couple of years ago someone i knew seen tommy lasorda at a local restaurant. She asked him politely if she could take his picture on her phone. I asked why she did not get his autograph as well because i would of liked it. She said she did not want to bother him while he was eating any more. That to me was a good example of not the proper moment to get an autograph. I remember hearing a quote by Paul Newman that he hated signing because the invasion on his privacy.
Comment by Josh Board on September 28, 2009 at 10:15am
I love the fact that she didn't think taking his picture was bothering him, but asking for a signature was!
Lasorda, by the way, tells the BEST AUTOGRAPH STORY of all-time.

He was a little boy, and asked a baseball player for his autograph. That player said "F*** off, kid!" Well, Tommy Lasorda became a pitcher and made the major leagues. He might've been 19 or 20, and was throwing to this same guy, who was nearing the end of his career. He purposely hit him with a pitch. Second time up, same thing. The guy yelled out asking "What are you doing?" Tommy said "That's for not giving me your autograph when I was a kid." To this day, he refuses to say who that player was.
Comment by Jeff Browne on July 2, 2011 at 3:55am

Poor Jordan Palmer.. Although who can blame the kid and parent for wanting Carson Palmer's autograph over Jordan, but it is pretty rude or awkward. People tend to forget sometimes that getting an autograph is a priveledge and not a right. I would rather have Jordan Palmer's autograph and the opportunity to meet him than nothing at all.


The best part is getting caught on national television saying it.. Karma?


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