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Pittsburgh, PA • United States • 48 Years Old • Male

What are a Fan's Rights?

Posted 11:02 AM ET | Comments 11
Professional athletes make TONS of money.

Compared to the average person, they make more money in one year than we will see in a llifetime.

Like television, movie, and music stars, they often have personas that are larger than life.

We put these people on a pedestal...tell them that they are special...and then tell them that along with being special and making all that money, there is a heavy price to pay.

We tell them...

You are fair game. EVERYTHING you do is fair game.

If you do what WE WANT you to...what you get PAID to do...we will stand and cheer as loudly as we can.

But if you don't do what we want...if you DON'T EARN YOUR PAY...we will let you know how unhappy we are...in EVERY way we can think of.

We legitimize this behaviour, as fans, by saying "They make all of this money, and I help pay them, so I have a RIGHT to do and say as I please."

But is that really true?

Do we really have a right to scrutinize them to the nth degree?

Is the money they are paid really a justification for treating them like they are not people?

I have always tried (sometimes unsuccessfully) to live by this rule.

Don't say anything about someone, verbally or electronically, that you would not be prepared to say to them if they were standing right in front of you.

That doesn't mean that I can't say something negative about someone...it just helps keep my "human decency" meter working.

I think too often today we think it's OK for media folks to do and say whatever they need to in order to "SELL" a story.

From the over the top TV talk shows where ex-lovers are pitted against each other...to tabloid TV where we follow Britney from her car to her house - daily...to the 24 hour sports channels that disect each aspect of every game played...we are obsessed with finding all the dirt and making sure EVERYBODY else knows about it.

And we are ready to point the finger in disgust each time someone fails to live up to the expecations we have of them...and we think we have the right to ridicule them any way we see fit because they KNOW what they signed up for. If they can collect the pay check, then they can take the abuse.

So what do YOU think?

I want YOUR opinions!

Say whatever you think...I will not DELETE your post!

This is America and you have the RIGHT to disagree with me!

I only ask that you try and show some decency in your remarks.

You don't have to scream at me or swear to get your point across...in fact...it will be much better received if your response shows that you thought about what you said.

BTW...along these lines (somewhat), there has been an interesting series of events involving Georges Laraque and Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun. If you don't know the story...read this...
Filed Under:   sun   ottawa   banned   playoffs   sens   pens   fans   pittsburgh  
April 11, 2008 11:30 AM ET | Delete
We do have a right to voice our displeasures, because not only are they making more money in one year than most do in a lifetime, but who do you think pays their salary. Would your boss say it is OK to do half the work that would normally be expected from you? On the other hand, if you had your boss yelling at you all the time, would you be happy with your job? Would this make you perform better? Probably not. In short, damn right we can do what ever we want, but will you see the player improve? No chance.
April 11, 2008 11:47 AM ET | Delete
BandW - you are absolutely right. We CAN do whatever we want forall the reasons mentioned. But SHOULD we?
April 11, 2008 12:01 PM ET | Delete
I think that a fan has a right to cheer or boo all he/she wants -- if the team wants us to pay top dollar to attend games to pay these people's salaries, then we have the right to voice our opinions on them. There is a difference, however, to voicing a reasoned opinion and one that is off the proverbial deepend -- especially if you write under the guise of a reporter. That being said, I write (or I try to) with the POV of a fan, and I will continue to do so. Because really, are the players or other fans more likely to read what I write? If I get fired up at Redden for being a complete and total disaster and write accordingly, am I really off the deepend? Every Ottawa fan feels the same way, and those are the people I am talking to.
April 11, 2008 12:05 PM ET | Delete
good blog and funny storyjust an FYI about the OTtawa media, take anything that comes out of the Sun with a grain of salt, we do.
April 11, 2008 12:51 PM ET | Delete
The way I look at it is, would you like it if someone who had absolutely no idea of what is going on behind the scenes at your job criticizing you and calling you out? What we see on the ice is merely a fraction of what these players go through during the season. Do we have the right to criticize and admonish these players when they do something wrong? Undoubtedly. Should we take advantage of this right? Use your best descretion, but yes, we should. But should we feel the sense of entitlement that many fans feel towards their players and their teams? That's the real question. I, honestly, don't know if I can answer that one. Many fans talk about their teams owing them something (e.g. Wild fans at the trade deadline). Yes...The fans drive the team, but the General Manager does not OWE it to the fans to do anything. It is his job to make the team better and, quite honestly, what we see in the media is just a small sample of what many GMs do and try to do in the signings and the moves that they make and a small sample of what the players do and how hard they work. The fact that many GMs and players, get thrown under the bus for what the end result ends up being is, in my mind, sickening.
April 11, 2008 1:10 PM ET | Delete
I think this leads to the question of why we put these players on a pedestal. I think in professional sports we feel that the players represent us and our cities and we want them to represent us in the best possible way. The players are paid by the people of a city and if they do not do the best they can to make their employers happy, then the employers have a right to complain about it. As far as doing it publicly and loudly, that is the only way to critisize or compliment them. If every person could have a private conversation with any player on demand then public condemnation is wrong but that is not the case. If the only way to get the message across is booing during a game, then so be it. Also, dont forget the flip side, the cheering that the good players are rewarded with. If we can cheer someone in public, why cant we admonish them?
April 11, 2008 1:11 PM ET | Delete
By the way, good blog and excellent topic.
April 11, 2008 3:40 PM ET | Delete
http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2008/04/11/lebrun_crosby_mature/Good story here. My final comment on this -- without the fans support, there is no team. So yes, they can express outrage, but should do so by not buying tickets.
April 12, 2008 3:29 AM ET | Delete
If you spend your hard earned money on tickets, concessions, merchandise etc., you are in effect partially paying that players salary...making you their boss sort of. So, yes you absolutely should be able to criticize someone's performance whose salary you help pay...as long as it doesn't cross the line into personal/slanderous/malicious type of stuff. Every boss who's paid my salary has reserved the right to critique my performance, so why shouldn't athletes be held to the same standard? And the sensationalist type of media is entirely our own fault...if we don't watch it, read it or buy it then it would cease to exist.
April 12, 2008 5:14 PM ET | Delete
I think if you keep it in the sports arena, and on the play of that player it's fair game. Anything personal against a player of a family, anything threatening, or anything outside the arena (if you see that player out in public), should be totally off limits.
April 13, 2008 1:22 AM ET | Delete
rival22 has pegged this in my opinion. A consumer buys a ticket and as such can cheer or boo or mock or scream or anything else they darned well please. As long as its legal, there really shouldnt be a problem with that. This isnt unique to athletes. If actors dont perform, they get ridiculed. Politicians face the same scrutiny. It is the price to pay for being a public figure. However, there are lines that can be crossed. A public figures private life and family life should be protected and should be off limits. A player gets paid the big bucks and as such can expect to be cheered or boo'ed vigorously - they can expect media to be stuffing microphones in their face post game, they can expect countless hours of signing autographs at the rink for example - but, that athlete needs to have time "off the clock" to spend with their families or friends - however they enjoy spending their time and doing whatever it is they like to do - without public scrutiny, without media snapping pictures and without hordes of people demanding autographs - anyway, just my opinion... thanks for the blog - interesting topic and discussion...
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