Fans Acting Fanatically Foolish is not Acceptable

30 Mar

Anyone who is a sports fan knows there is a part of the game that fans get fired up about: trash talking. It comes with being a fan of not only sports but if someone is a fan of anything that has a rivalry. Look at Apple vs Google/Microsoft, Ford vs Chevrolet, US vs anyone not the US, etc. It’s all part of the game and taken in fun, until it’s not.

As someone who was part of one of the most well-known college rivalries (Texas A&M vs. University of Texas) I’ve seen trash talking taken much too far. Sadly, I saw this again but on a grander scale and we have the Internet to thank for it.

A funny thing happens when people get behind the perceived safety of a keyboard, mouse and monitor, or a smartphone. Those people get some “e-courage” and start saying things they (hopefully) would never say in public to someone’s face. The comments made to Ashley Judd, in my opinion are indefensible.

It is not acceptable is to have people respond in a rude, vulgar and out right illegal manner. There is no excuse for a response of telling them they should die, should go to hell, get gang raped, you get the idea. It doesn’t matter if these unacceptable responses are directed at men, women, straight, gay, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc… This type of action should not be tolerated.

To me this is not political issue; it’s a simple right or wrong issue. People will always have disagreements about subjects no matter if they are political, sports, technology, religion, etc. At times those disagreements and arguments can get heated, no doubt about it. However, we can still be civil and if anyone ever does cross the line into incivility they need to be held accountable.

Sometimes when they are confronted with their actions, the person will be mature enough to admit they were wrong. We should all be mature enough to do that. Unfortunately that is not the case all the time. Sadly there are those who would defend and try to justify their indefensible actions.

Please don’t misunderstand; I am not talking about government censorship. I believe people should have the right to speak their hearts and minds. I am not talking about chilling or stopping the conversation of an issue. Doing that would get us nowhere to coming to a resolution.

What I am talking about is taking the comments about saying someone needs to be killed, raped, etc. out of the conversation, as they are likely in violation of laws already in place. Those who make such comments should be held accountable for their actions.

What about continued derogatory insults which don’t violate any laws? I would say report the comments to the medium in which they were made. Many sites on-line have the means to do so. Also, find a way to ban, ignore, and/or block those people. Sometimes it is up to us to take the responsibility to limit the negative voices in our lives. Not that we should ignore a problem as on-line bullying and stalking are real issues which have to be addressed.

I’ve seen bullies go away when confronted and the light shinned on them. Take the vile remarks made to Kurt Shilling about a comment he made as a proud father to his daughter. Once the light was shown on those making vulgar (and possibly illegal) remarks, they fled.

It goes back to what I said previously, those who make such comments would never make them in person. They hide behind a keyboard and throw insults and bully from there. That doesn’t mean everyone not using their real name acts like that. Those who do are either mature enough to admit their mistakes or run and hide when they are exposed.

We are all guilty of going too far at times, I know I have and I was wrong. We’re all human and make mistakes. Not one of us is walking on water. So we should be able to be humble enough to admit when we made a mistake, apologize and learn from it. Most of us were brought up that way and need to put those lessons into action.

Being a fan is fun and the experience should be enjoyed. Talking some smack with a rival teams fan can be fun for both sides. It’s all part of the game. However next time the feeling of “unloading” on someone comes up just because they said something you don’t like, whether it is on-line or in-person; let’s ask ourselves if we would want someone saying those things to one of our family or friends. I doubt any of us would.

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