It comes with sadness that an article like this has to be written. With so many struggles that people are facing in the world, the National Football League should offer the American populace some good entertainment.
I, like many others in this world, am in love with social media. Twitter has become the best way to interact with #CowboysNation and fans alike. It offers an outlet of sorts for fans to express their emotions. While it is acceptable and understandable for fans to vent through this outlet, I’m afraid that it is reaching a level that has left me feeling sick.
Yesterday, after news of Ray Lewis’ injury, Twitter exploded with Cowboys fans celebrating the season-long injury of one of the best players to ever play the game. Things like, “That’s what you get” or “Who’s tough now” were posted, and that’s heartbreaking.
In a completely separate matter, this morning I was going down the league news feed and came across a very interesting article. NFL News re-posted an Associated Press story that states a man was stabbed outside of Candlestick Park because he was wearing a Cowboys jersey.
What has happened to people?
I understand having passion for your team and “wearing the colors” if you will. There was a time when football teams defined a city. I grew up in the Philadelphia area and remember how everyone seemed happier when the Eagles were winning. See, teams like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia aren’t just sports teams to their towns. Those teams represent stability in a hard-working, blue-collar city that is constantly in economical and personal struggles.
So I understand what football teams mean to their fans.
Obviously, I’m a Cowboys fan, and Cowboys fans are notorious for being fair-weather. So it’s hard for me to ask Cowboys fans to temper such emotion after it has been missing for so long. I plead with you to stick with me, though.
We have become jaded somewhere along the lines. We have now associated a single bad season with the end of someone’s career. When players make mistakes, we assume that they aren’t worth anything and don’t offer them any forgiveness or second chances.
Dez Bryant got kicked out of the mall, and to this day I haven’t heard the end of it. I made some stupid mistakes in a deployed environment that could have affected 11 other people with me. They forgave me within 10 minutes.
I think we’ve created an unfair dichotomy for an athlete, which makes their potential for success very slim. It’s either a player is very good and well behaved or a diva who tears apart locker rooms and shouldn’t be allowed on a team.
That same unfair dichotomy doesn’t leave much room for second chances. A player can be both, he can be a diva who plays well and can succeed. In situations like that, it helps if fans aren’t making threats on a player’s life or future with the team. Instead, we should support them.
OK, I’ll get off my pedestal now.
Every Sunday I wake up and turn on NFL Network. I watch the pregame and the Cowboys game. If they lose, I’m frustrated. If they win, I’m ecstatic. However, I don’t let that frustration affect the livelihood of others. I don’t take that and try to slander or hurt other people. I don’t find the nearest fan of an opponent and stab him.
We should be people of peace, who can enjoy the freedom of having an NFL team to root for of our choice without any worry of retaliation or violence.
After all, it’s only a game.
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