Recently, someone sent me the link to an article posted by Wayne Smith. The headline alone caught me reading, "The Heavy Hand Of the NCAA Targets Crimson Tide Fans ." Obviously, as an avid Alabama fan, I was curious.
I went on to read about how the NCAA was going to pass a ruling stating that the Tide's famous Rammer Jammer cheer could not be cheered at games and that if it was still cheered by the fans, it would cost the football program a set number of yards each time.
This article had more than 8,000 reads and close to 200 comments. The irony of the situation?
The rumor isn't true.
Yes, while the NCAA has been talking about this for years, there is no way the Alabama athletic department or the fans for that matter, would ever let this happen.
However, even if this article was published because the author "was running out of ideas and had to fill a story quota as a Featured Columnist," the comment section of the article and the idea as a whole, have raised several questions both regarding the NCAA and BleacherReport.
First, since when did BleacherReport and the editors here allow things like these to be posted? There was no fact checking. The "Featured Columnist" grouped together a whole bunch of message board postings and started typing away. Some of them were even word for word from this message board.
When did BleacherReport's top writers become people that took things straight off a message board, didn't check their facts, and posted an article that gets over 8,000 reads and close to 200 comments simply to fill a quota? What happened to integrity? Did I click on The National Enquirer's site by accident?
BleacherReport has apparently become more involved with which nude chick is posing on the latest "Barely There" articles and which slideshows of the "Hottest Female World Cup Fans" are most popular than to actually let people know the facts. A once credible sight has become a bunch of pictures of naked women. Maybe next time, instead of an article, I'll just post a picture of a naked woman with a rumor posted on it for the sake of extra reads and comments.
Over the last few months, this site has lost several of the credible, prominent, talented writers. They checked their facts, they connected sports to other issues, and they were all around amazing people. These people don't come around much anymore, because of this exact reason and who can blame them?
So I guess, when all the great BleacherReport writers left, they had to fill these top rolls with new people. And gems they got. Publishing completely untrue allegations and on top of that, plagiarize it from a message board which you later cite as your credible source? A jewel you've got.
In my opinion, this guy's "Featured Columnist" title should be removed, but I'm just one person. We'll check the polls later on that one. But not only his, every "Featured Columnist" that doesn't produce quality work to just get articles out to fill a quota.
Second, there were almost 200 comments on this article and there were some excellent points made. Along with the excellent points, there were those that made you cringe at what schools have taught and are teaching children. Then you realize these are adults, and the cringing turns into finding your nearest garbage can.
Among these points sure, there were minced feelings. There were hard feelings. Apparently, BleacherReport has said that many of the comments were offensive and the writers of said comments would be booted from the site. Truthfully, I did not read all 200 comments because well, I get tired of people bickering back and forth. However, from the ones I did read the comments were about trying to prove each person's point.
Below are just some of the most common points I saw being made from the comments section and my opinion following it:
- "Rammer Jammer and cheers like this hurt the feelings of the other team." Really? These are 19-22/23 year old supposed men. If the victorious team's fan's erupt into cheers and you then erupt into tears you might as well play for Florida in the QB position. This is College Football. Actually, this is College Football in the SEC. However, this is a free country and we were all made individually. Therefore, if you would rather attend a function where there is more twirling than tackling, far be it from me or anyone else for that matter, to stop you. However, the two don't mix. Unless your The Rock anyway.
- "Cheering like this is harmful to the other team and the game." Now, I understand that Bryant-Denny gets incredibly loud at times. Alabama fans, and SEC fans as a whole are loud. This is why people say you haven't been to a football game until you've been to an SEC game. Since when did yelling "Roll Tide!" over and over again harm other people in a serious way?
- "These cheers are rude and obnoxious."
- Rude: There are a lot of things I would consider rude at a football game/sporting event. Feeling up the girl's skirt in front of you would classify as rude. Spilling a beer on a fan in front of you when you win would classify as rude. Throwing bottles and cups at the opposing team when they head back into the locker room would be classified as rude. All of the aforementioned would win you your designated sign. Cheering for your team however, would not be classified as rude in my book.
- Obnoxious: Each college program has their traditions. Mississippi State insists on ringing cowbells in your ear, Florida fans try to mimic an alligator with their hands in your face, LSU fans yell at you. Every college has their thing. It's a part of SEC Sports and especially football. Obnoxious? Possibly. Tradition? Yes. Bottom line: At the end of the day most football and sports fans realize they are just traditions.
- "These cheers are taunting the other players." If cheering on your team and celebrating a win is taunting then we should probably regulate every cheer. Yelling "Roll Tide" over and over again to undermine the other team is unfair. And if we are going with this scenario then clapping is also prohibited. In fact, talking or wearing your school's colors is also not allowed as the crimson color or heaven forbid that Volunteer orange might burn your retinas if not taken in small doses. This includes at little league games. Imagine if someone came up to you and said, "The cheering for your son or daughter along with the clapping is making the other kids fill insecure. You're going to have to stop. Thanks in advance for your cooperation." Would you not look at them and laugh? I would, and then I would probably proceed to clap with one finger.
- "There is no reason for a cheer or a game to stop you from becoming a decent human being." Yes, this was seriously a comment on this article. And it didn't just appear once, but over and over again. Again, since when did cheering for the team you love make you an indecent human being? I think I might have missed something altogether. For the record though, most (if not all) of the people cheering at these games will help someone if they need it, even if they are from the opposing team. Not a decent human being? Please.
- "Where is the line?" If the NCAA ruling about this had been true, there would have been an uproar like none other. For the simple reason as to ask what business it is of the NCAA to tell fans what they can and can not do at a game as far as cheering? Streaking is a delay or obvious distraction in a game, and could be a harm to the players depending on what the streaker looks like. Throwing things on the field during play is obviously a potential harm to the players. The NCAA was designed to regulate the game so that it was a safe environment for the players. Cheering is not endangering anyone. Except maybe the NCAA if this should ever pass.
- "The SEC officials have enough problems keeping up with the regulations they are already supposed to call." This one is actually my argument. I think it explains itself if you haven't been living under a rock during football season.
There were several other legitimate concerns about this, but the main one that caught my attention is this: If the NCAA is more concerned with the fact that Alabama fans sing Rammer Jammer at a win or that Mississippi State fans like to ding a ling a cowbell, but they ignore some of the other things going on like LSU fans throwing trash at the opposing team as they head into the locker rooms, there is a serious problem.
Rammer Jammer is a cheer. Much like "Roll Tide!", "Yea Alabama," and many others. It is no more offensive than UGA's cheer which says that Ga Tech can go to hell, the Gator Chomp that the Florida fans do, or the cowbell ringing that the Mississippi State fans do. These are cheers that have been around forever, and that at the end of the day, harm no one. Are we going to have silent games where the motto is, "People don't kill people, cheers do?" I would certainly hope not.
The final point about this is as followed: It has been brought to my attention that several of the comments and people in this section have already been booted or are about to be for "offensive comments." As I said before, I did not read every comment. I had about enough about 3/4 of the page down. However, most of the comments I read were heated, but not offensive and there is a difference.
Maybe some of the staff on BleacherReport should be more concerned about one of their top writers posting things that aren't true than worrying about comments that aren't peachy by any means but that are also not offensive in my opinion. There's a difference in reading something that you don't like and disagree with and it not being all roses and peaches, and between something being offensive.
My, how things have changed.
Roll Tide! (You may mark this as offensive now, or if you agree and want to help spread the word, like it and help spread it around)