By now you have probably seen the video posted today by @JeffDuncan of the Times-Picayune http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2014/01/philadelphia_eagles_fan_spits.html. It’s vile right? And there is no doubt this Eagles fan is despicable. And yes it would be easy to lump him in with all Eagles fans, after all they did boo when a clearly hurt Keenan Lewis crumbled to the ground Saturday night. And yes Eagles fans rank with Raiders fans traditionally among the most violent fan bases in the league—The Eagles had a courtroom and a jail at the old Vet after all, and there is the example of a Dolphins fan being violently beaten in a bathroom at Oakland during a playoff game. But if you don’t think this is a sports wide epidemic of fans out of control, you’re wrong. You have vile fans too, Who Dat’s, and so does every team in sports.
I can cite plenty of examples of fans being obnoxious, confrontational and/or violent. Here’s just a few.
I was in NY for Jason Garrett’s first game as Cowboys head coach with my friend Jeff (@camosh13) when behind us a Cowboys fan was running his mouth and got into it with Giants fans…the result was one of the most violent fans fights I have seen, with no less than 6 fans involved, where one Giants fan exited with half of his ear hanging off.
When I covered the Nuggets in Denver, fans in the front row were yelling such horrible stuff at then Suns forward Kurt Thomas about him and what they did to his girlfriend the night before, I had to admire Thomas for not jumping in the crowd and beating the hell out of these guys.
And look I am a Red Sox fan, and can tell you I am embarrassed by some of our fans actions at games. There’s a reason Boston fans are called Mass-holes.
So let’s go back to the video. Is the Eagles fan a bad person? No doubt. But did the Saints fan bring it on himself? From what I see in the video, it certainly seems that he is running his mouth and taunting Eagles fans. And so it’s probably not too big a leap to say this was the case the whole game. Does he get spit on if he simply cheers when Shayne Graham makes the game winning field goal? Maybe, but I doubt it.
The point is every fan base has a segment that simply wants to cause confrontation, and belittle others or run their mouth and bring attention to themselves. Some people believe a ticket gives them the power to yell and do whatever they want to whoever they want. Should that come as surprise? It’s reflective of society. Just look at TV. A majority of “reality” shows revolve around the same premise…confrontation and belittling others.
Problem number 2 of course is alcohol, people either can’t handle their alcohol or consume way too much of it. I can give you examples of that from the Saints trip to Seattle. Postgame at a local brewery two men in the bathroom were boasting to me about how the two of them had drank a whole fifth of tequila before the game. They could barely say tequila much less handle that much. Then there were 2 Saints fans in the bar. One was so obnoxious he had to be thrown out for harassing customers. The other was so hammered he exited the bar by running across it. Fortunately for him and the customers he didn’t it a wet spot and wipe out.
So mix fans with too much liquid courage, too much feeling of empowerment, and too much zeal for confrontation, and it’s no wonder more fans and especially fans with families, are electing to watch games from their homes. It is the age old saying “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”. Well there are plenty of bad apples at every sports venue, and more and more they are spoilng it for the rest of us.
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