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Brian Orakpo Explains Clinton Portis' Hat Thing

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2010 – 2:27 pm

Yesterday, Clinton Portis wore a Phillies hat during his interviews. This provoked a slightly cranky reaction among certain sections of Redskins fandom, perhaps best exemplified by the 1200+ comments in this post on the subject on Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner blog. Portis’s explanation at the time was that the hat was red (which, in fact, it was) and matched his hoodie (which, in fact, it did), and that he didn’t have a red Nationals hat (which certainly could be true).

Today, Portis very deliberately came off the practice field in the direction of TV cameras wearing a red Washington Nationals cap. He opened by quoting an excerpt from Kanye West’s song Runaway that I’m not sure I can cite here and then explained, “I love the Nationals, you know? As soon as they tried to make it a big story about my Phillies cap, I got the Nationals [cap]. Washington. I’m a Washington Redskin, y’hear.”

The hat was sent over by the Nationals organization, Portis explained, “a good faith thing,” and when Brian Orakpo walked by, Portis told him, “I’m glad you brought it to my attention that they threw me under the bus from wearing a Phillies hat.”

Kelli Johnson of Comcast SportsNet — apparently one of the bus-throwers — was unrepentant. “It’s Philly Week,” she said. “We had to!”

“It don’t matter,” Portis said. “As many times as you done seen me around here with a — I just had on a Texas hat, I had on a Giants hat … who else? I had on a New York hat… I wear a hat every day!”

“But,” Johnson said, “you can’t wear a Philly hat during Philly week!”

Portis seemed legitimately incredulous at this. “Man, you think I woke up, like, ‘Ooooo! I can’t put on this hat, we’re playing the….'” He shook his head. “It says Phillies, not Eagles. You won’t ever see me with green on.”

Since Orakpo was apparently the guy who had brought the whole kerfluffle to Portis’ attention, I caught up with him the locker room to see just how CP had reacted.

“He was just shocked,” Orakpo said, “because — you know, the way we wear hats, we’re not really wearing it symbolizing what’s on the hat. It’s more of a color thing. He wanted to wear red. It’s just different colors you wear; that’s why he was caught off guard. He probably didn’t even realize it was a Phillies hat, knowing him.”

Very possibly true. Also, I feel compelled to point out that Casey Rabach wears a Milwaukee Brewers hat for every interview he does, including the ones prior to the Packers game, and somehow that didn’t cause nearly the same uproar.

For the record, Portis also addressed his availability for Monday night’s game — “I feel great,” he said. ” It’s day to day. I’m still sore. I’m gonna be sore. Every day that I practice I’m gonna be sore, so I’ll be all right.” — but he finished by staying right on the hat message, declaiming very clearly, “NATS! GO NATS!”

So that’s that issue resolved.

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