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Civility 05/13/2009

Posted by sportretort in mlb, NFL, nhl, Sports, Uncategorized.
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Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, yells at the Mother of a Denver Nuggets player as he leaves the court after his Mavs lost a heart breaker to the Nuggets.  There was controversy at the end, and the emotional Cuban was

As a team owner, Cuban needs to set a better example

As a team owner, Cuban needs to set a better example

 mad.  But does that give him the right to go after the Mother of a player from an opposing team?  This incident and others have brought fan behavior to the forefront.  Just what type of behavior is appropriate in a stadium or arena?

I have been attending NCAA, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and minor

league sports for as long as I can remember.  And I will tell you, things have changed.  For some reason, there are now people who think that the purchase of a ticket and the tenant of free speech entitles them to act in the most bile and disgusting way towards opposing teams, opposing players, and other fans in the stands.  They toss F-bombs and other obscenities without any regard to others sitting around them.  They question sexual orientation, parental lineage, personal life choices, etc., of players and fans who disagree with them.   They feel that they can attack verbally opposing team fans and families.  And some will even turn on their own players.  And they feel it ok to toss beer and debris at players.

Toronto player Tai Domi reacts to beer being thrown at him while he is in the penalty box during a game in Philadelphia

Toronto player Tai Domi reacts to beer being thrown at him while he is in the penalty box during a game in Philadelphia by spraying water on fans.

This is not to say that I want every one to sit on their hands.  I have attended, and will continue to attend sporting events in person because I love the energy and atmosphere of the crowd.  Both at home and away.   Lets face it, for most games you get a better view on TV rather than in the stands.  But you can not  feel  the game on TV.  I am not one of those who scream at fans to sit down.  Heck, that type of energy and emotion is what I am there for.  But a ticket is not a license to act as an irresponsible jerk.  Whether we are rooting for the home team or the visitors, we have responsibilities as fans.  And the first responsibility is to keep the arena/stadium safe for all, fans and players alike.

Being at a game allows you to heckle an opponent.  That’s fine!  But confine it to the game.  Leave personal attacks at

Player/fan interaction at Wrigley Field in 2000

Player/fan interaction at Wrigley Field in 2000

home.  And be aware that there are other fans around you.  Try, at least on occasion, to utter something other than a profanity.  There are kids around you.  And others who may be offended.  Try being clever, not just profane.  I once got a MLB player to step out of the batters box simply by referencing an event from the previous nights game.  He was laughing.  Fans in the stands were laughing.  And there was no hint of profanity anywhere.  It can be done.

As a visiting fan, it is ok to wear your team colors.  Go ahead and root for your team.  But if you want to be treated well in an opponents arena, perhaps you should not disparage the city that you are in.  Or the population of that city.  Good natured kidding will be met with good humor most of the time.  Obnoxious and rude behavior will most often be met with a poor response.  My experience in crowds tends to bear that out.  Be respectful to those around you, and 99% of them will be respectful of you.

The lines of civility are being crossed more and more often.  You see plyers and coaches being pelted from the stands.  You see beer being thrown on players.  A ticket to a game is not a license to do these types of things.  And it is never a license to attack a family member of a player who is attending the game.  We need to return to civility.  Have fun, but not at the expense of the enjoyment and safety of those around you.  If the misbehavior continues, you will see more events like the the events of November 19, 2004, when Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers went after fans in the stands in Detroit after having had things thrown at him from the crowd.

Artest altercation in 2004

Artest altercation in 2004

That type of behavior is ugly.  Lets return to sportsmanship.



1. Scott Thomas Photography - 05/13/2009

I couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s have fun.

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