The top ten: American footballers' names
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 26 May 2013
Each year the National Football League holds a three-day ceremony called "the draft", in which American football teams choose new players from the training grounds of college. This year's draft was once again a window on the mostly black American working-class tradition of invented first names, often with French influences, apostrophes and variant spellings.
1. Barkevious Mingo Drafted by the Cleveland Browns, his brothers are Hugh and Hughtavious. With thanks to Mark Henderson for this one.
2. Tyrann Mathieu Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Nicknamed “Honey Badger”. (No, I don’t know either.)
3. D’Brickashaw Ferguson Drafted seven years ago by the New York Jets. Named after Father Ralph de Bricassart, a character in 1980s TV mini-series The Thorn Birds.
4. Antwaan Randle El The former Pittsburgh Steeler is retired now, but he was an outstanding player with an equally outstanding name.
5. Chad Ochocinco Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, Chad changed his name from Johnson to the Spanish for 8-5, the number on his shirt, in 2008.
6. BenJarvus Green-Ellis Now with the Cincinnati Bengals, he was nicknamed “The Law Firm” by his former teammates at the New England Patriots.
7. Adoree’ Jackson, This top college prospect from Serra High has an apostrophe to test the most exacting pedant.
8. D’Ronzjiah Mathews He’s still in high school, at South Fort Myers in Florida; can’t wait for him to join the NFL.
9. Lousaka Polite Ex-Atlanta Falcon and Miami Dolphin, now an unsigned free agent, this fullback is nothing if not… well, you know the rest.
10. Plaxico Burress The former Pittsburgh Steeler stand-out served time after shooting himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun. As for his name, as my colleague Robert Epstein says, “just because”
Next week: The Top 10 books people buy but don’t read. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to email@example.com
It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'
Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London
...and the perfect time to visit them
Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised
Latest in Sport
Manchester United official team photo: Antonio Valencia and Anderson pull the funniest faces
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt, including Danny Welbeck must be more clinical and Hector Bellerin debut
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal player ratings: How did Ozil and Welbeck do in Germany?
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Liverpool 2 Ludogorets 1 player ratings
- 1 iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
- 2 Sports Direct security guard allegedly banned Jewish schoolboys and told them: 'No Jews, no Jews'
- 3 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 4 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Rapidly developing and growing...
£105 - £120 per day + Expenses: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randstad Educat...
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are curren...