When Did It Become Okay For Fans To Act Obnoxiously?

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Don’t expect changes anytime soon, if ever. We haven’t ended racism, bullying, and domestic violence, so why should bad fan decorum be any different?

Courtesy: The Undefeated

It isn’t surprising that the Fenway faithful screamed racial epithets and threw peanut bags at Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Sadly, we have become numb to it–numb to saying racial epithets and harassing pro athletes.

It has gotten worse each year and there are no signs that it’s going to get better. In fact, expecting a pleasant atmosphere at a sporting event is too much to ask in this day and age.

That conclusion begs this question: When did it become acceptable for fans to behave badly at a sporting event?

Please don’t say these players are being paid millions so they should take it and deal with it! It’s one thing to have good-nature fun, but it’s another thing entirely to threaten someone or get personal with a player. There’s no place for that in our society, even if it’s in Donald Trump’s America.

A sporting event should be a place for fans to enjoy a day at the ballpark. It’s a venue where people can forget their trials and tribulations. It should be a haven to escape the hustle and bustle. It should be a respite from everyday lives.

Courtesy: Sportsnaut.com

Athletes are doing their job to entertain, but fans don’t want entertainment only. They also want the home team to win. But fans also need to understand that there are limits. If they want to act out, then they should do that at home or at a neighborhood bar.

Sadly, bad behavior isn’t limited to pro games. It happens at college games and even at high school games. I can tell you that from experience.

For six years I covered Ridgefield Park High School athletics for the now-defunct Ridgefield Park Patriot. I dealt with parents and fans who bullied referees and players. Sometimes I heard parents whine about how coaches were using their kids.

I believe that nobody should be the target of that type of abuse, especially at a high school game, but I got heckled for writing a commentary about it. That article played a role in the paper firing me.

It’s all a reflection of today’s society. We live in a world where people are lovers of themselves and money. They are boastful, proud, abusive, ungrateful, unforgiving, conceited, treacherous, and conceited. What’s bad is good and what’s good is bad. We’re cynical, too.

We’ve stopped enjoying the finer things of sports.

That all means that the problem starts and ends with us.

Yes, athletes haven’t done a lot to either improve their relationship with fans or to earn trust. Still, though, their job is to entertain. We should not put them on a pedestal or idolize them. They’re flawed people, just like any of us. But we tend to ask way too much of athletes and I believe that’s one reason why we behave the way we do.

Alcohol use is part of it, of course, but we shouldn’t use drinking as an excuse. That doesn’t give anyone the license to act like a lout. And banning beer at games won’t change anything. Fans who want to drink will find a way, like drinking at tailgates before games.

It’s on us to do better. We need to have a proper prospective about what going to games is all about. That means learning how to conduct ourselves in a civilized manner. Otherwise we’re going to see the same nonsense continue.

Courtesy: New York Times

It was great to see Red Sox’ fans give Jones a standing ovation last Tuesday night, but that’s going to mean nothing if sports fans revert to bad behavior.

My take is this: Don’t expect changes anytime soon, if ever. We haven’t ended racism, bullying, and domestic violence, so why should bad fan decorum be any different?

What type of world makes this acceptable?


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