Earlier today in the Maryland Minute, a particular item grabbed attention -- Maryland legend Juan Dixon reportedly told incoming freshman Roddy Peters that the young guard could not wear his old No. 3 jersey. Some of the reactions to Dixon's dismissal were less than positive, particularly because of the reasoning behind why Peters wanted to wear the number, via Don Markus.
"I kind of wanted to wear 3 because I have a little sister, a big sister and my mother, I was going to wear 3 for them," Peters said during the team's media day Tuesday. "I knew there was a lot of pressure wearing Juan Dixon's number, and I wanted to see if I could wear it. Coach Turgeon was going to let me wear it, but a week later, he called me and said, ‘Juan said, ‘Nah.' ' It was fine."
A common complaint in our comments section was that Markus did not talk to Dixon about the alleged statement. That changed Thursday, as he published a new article after talking to the former Maryland star.
"The more I thought about the more I talked about with my family and closest friends who were at my house at that particular time, I started having second thoughts and I called him back," Dixon said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun on Thursday. "I said 'Coach, that number is a lot bigger than Juan Dixon the individual. That number represents history. That represents the team, it represents so many more things. It's sentimental to the University of Maryland and to the fans.' That was my whole thought process in calling back and saying I had change of heart. I knew nothing about him wearing it or about him idolizing me or wearing for his mom and sisters."
The interview was a lot of that -- Dixon speaking in the third person and saying that his actions were out of respect for Maryland fans in general, rather than trying to preserve his own legacy (which, frankly, is hurt more by speaking out like this than any potential success Peters may have had wearing his number).
Also notable was Dixon repeatedly hinting at a strained relationship with the current coaching staff -- he said it never would have "gotten to this point" under Gary Williams. I suggest you read the whole article on the Sun's site.
While Maryland does not retire uniform numbers, certain ones (like Dixon's No. 3 and Len Bias's No. 34) have been basically considered "off limits" as an unwritten rule. Controversies like these would certainly be made easier if Maryland just decided to retire uniform numbers (especially Bias's), and in the interview, Dixon apparently said his and Bias's were the two that should be considered off limits.
The thing to take away from all of this? De facto uniform retirements are not the way to go. You end up upsetting current players, former players and dividing the fan base. Certain players have a special place in Maryland history, and if you want to acknowledge that by having that number be theirs, that's fine. But to have it as sort of a secret game? That's just unfair to everyone involved.