Right off the bat I’m assuming this title is being met with skepticism, disagreement, and denial. Let me explain. In every walk of like, or business, there are issues. We as fans can sit back and point to no less than half a dozen issues with the sports we love and say that said issue needs changing, but we rarely do one thing. Look at ourselves.
As fans, or spectators, we have entered this place in time where we seem to feel a sense of entitlement towards organizations and players. Why is that so? Look, I’m as guilty as the next guy when it comes to criticizing my favorite organizations when it comes to certain things. That in itself is what makes sports great. We all feel so passionately enough about a sport or team that we openly and aggressively want them to do what we believe is best. That’s fine. But what happens when that passion turns into entitlement? What happens when our voices are used not for wanting better for our team, but for actively attacking players? When those things happen, it’s time for a strong look in the mirror.
Have I ever mocked, or criticized a player? Sure, we all have. But have we all just seemingly forgot where the line is drawn? The line between criticizing, and attacking has always been there. Have we all forgot it? Or rather have we just chose to ignore it entirely? Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’ve always had the stance that the line starts and stops where the game starts and stops. Sure, off field issues of a certain level will be, and always have been in play but we can’t act like common sense doesn’t easily sort out what is fair game, and what isn’t. Family issues have never, and should never, be something a spectator should be spewing from their mouth at a player. Ever.
Listen, is Kopech the first player that has had insanely insensitive, or personal things said to him? No. Was what was said to Kopech the worst, or most hateful thing every said to a player? Not even close. But that doesn’t make it any less despicable. What happened at the White Sox game last night is something that should disgust any, and every fan. Not because of what was said, but because it’s become almost accepted, or normalized by many people. Obviously racist, homophobic, and many other horrific things have been said to players since the start of organized sports. I’m not trying to portray the Kopech issue as being as hurtful as those time, but rather using the Kopech instance to bring light to the broader issue. THE “FANS”.
It seems like we have all started to justify our behavior with excuses like “if I made millions of dollars I would let people say whatever they wanted to me.” Would you? I highly doubt it. The entitlement and disrespect some spectators show is mindblowing to me. The fact that you bought a ticket and paid for some over priced beer does not give you the right to be a piece of shit human. Buying a hot dog doesn’t give you a right to an asshole. And buying team merchandise doesn’t give you the ability to be unbelievably hateful towards plays. Going to a game is an experience, not a license to be a trash bag person.
Am I saying that fans can never heckle players? Not one bit. All I’m advocating for it to show a basic level of human decency. I would bet my life that someone in the group who was going after Kopech last night has shared or wrote a social media post about mental health, being kind, or hate speech. So are those issues only something people care about online? Because obviously those disgusting people don’t actual believe in any of it. Once more, what was said is not the issue, it’s the attitude for people who believe it’s not a big deal that they said it. You want to go after a player for his batting average, ERA, or committing an error? Go for it. You want to yell to a player about his children, and family? Go fuck yourself.
Hate is something that has no place in society, let alone the bleachers of stands of a sporting event. Tons of people like to point to the MLB ruining the sport, the length of game ruining the sport, the lack of action ruining the sport and that’s fine. But let’s not turn a blind eye to the racist, and hateful shit that happens regularly at sporting events. Next time you are thinking about all the issues around a certain sport. Do me a favor and don’t forget to list the fans.
Lastly, and most importantly, if you are someone who participates in this vile shit, do society a favor and fuck off.