FANatic Behavior and the Safety of Athletes

In no other situation would it be acceptable for Jeff Orr, a grown man, or any other fan, super-fan, or booster to hurl insults at our sons. So why is it tolerable at a sporting event?!?

Since the Marcus Smart/Jeff Orr incident, there have even been a serge of comments such as, “he’s going to hear a lot worse when he gets to the NBA”, “It’s not fair. Life isn’t. Just walk away” and “those in that spotlight, are subjected to certain levels of disrespect and hatred”.

Is that really ok with us as a society? Do we really want to condone the outright disgusting display of hate and intolerance or bullying at a sporting event, when it would never be ok with us on a city street, in the workplace, or in a school?

What makes us excuse these behaviors in the name of ‘Super-fans’?

Jay Bilas posed the question, “Does a university booster get to say whatever he wants, and a “student athlete” is required to take it? What responsibility does TTU have?”

We, sports fans, parents of athletes, and the media, have a responsibility to stop this from happening and put a spotlight on Fan Behavior and Player Safety!

As a parent of a KU basketball player, I have heard horror stories of spitting, screaming, obnoxious, hateful fans at away games. I’ve been warned about certain rival schools. Am I really supposed to be afraid to be in attendance at a rival school? And if so, should I be worried about the safety of my son and his teammates when they are playing these opponents?

Recently I attended the KU v K-State game. On three different occasions during the game, the K-State fans chanted F*** KU! over and over. It was shameful. And no one, not the coach, the AD, the announcers, no one said a thing to stop it. We, the KU family members in attendance were told to stay in our seats and wait for police to secure the team and our seating area after the game because they knew it would be difficult to control some crazy fans.

I mean seriously, how far are we going to let this type of negative fan behavior go in the name of ‘super-fans’ and universities that don’t reprimand and control it? And even more ridiculous and disgusting if a university’s boosters are acting this way and no one wants to do anything for fear of losing their financial support! Isn’t it possible to have fun and enjoy sporting events without insulting the players or threatening the opposing team and family?   

My son and at least 4,200 other sons playing Division 1 basketball, along with numerous other athletes and families are often subject to this insanely crazy fan behavior, yet they are expected to do nothing and say nothing in response.  Just take it….       

What are we teaching our youth?              

 

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