Philadelphia Eagles: Was Jason Avant's "Bandwagon Fan" Comment Out of Bounds?
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You're reading him wrong.
When Jason Avant said he didn't want those who bailed on his once 2-4 and floundering Eagles back on board, he wasn't taking a shot at the fans. At least not as explicitly as another indelible Philadelphian did in 2008.
“You know, they're front-runners. When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad, they're completely against you," Jimmy Rollins said then. (And tweeted now, in the wee morning hours following Part 1 of his Phillies' NLDS ouster ... 38 times.)
It wasn't about you.
It was about him. About them.
He wanted to establish that his Eagles hadn't re-established anything. Even with what's become a quiet two-game win streak. Even with a deconstruction of the hated, division-rival Dallas.
So far as Avant saw it—which you can see in the quote if you're looking—they were always this good.
Don't get tripped up by accuracy. Avant would be completely wrong in saying that the Eagles hadn't redefined their season since their four-game losing streak, hadn't re-discovered their offense as a run-and-gun and hadn't redrafted their defense into something bigger than a gimmick.
They did on all three counts.
Do you think Jason Avant's comments were a shot at the fans? Or a (poorly articulated) team-building message?
But when Avant says this...
“We realize it’s going to be just these guys in the locker room, that’s the way we take it,” he said post-game Sunday. “We don’t want people jumping on our bandwagon now. We want people to go out and still talk bad about us.”
...realize he's only banding his team tighter together, kind of how he did when he organized the team-only meetings before the Washington game, just one stamp of the pressing team leader he's been all year.
Had this been someone mouthier, say, DeSean Jackson, fans would be rightly miffed, because they'd be reading him right. But this wasn't D-Jack or any other team jackass.
This was Avant.
Even if it was, wouldn't the fanbase be forced to reconsider their roles in it? Rather than reaching for the "I Pay Your Bills" card, venting to sports radio about how they bankroll Avant's five-year, $18 million contract and how ungrateful he sounded Sunday, shouldn't they take ownership of their own baggage?
Honestly. Didn't some of you throw in the towel? Enough to justify an Eagle taking the defensive?
(Giving you a silent moment for self-reflection...)
How do his comments jive with you?
But don't forget: That's not what this was or what Avant is.
Were his comments tactful? In poor taste? As well communicated as Tony La Russa's Game 5 calls?
And Avant should've known better, especially in a post-"John The Sign Guy" city. Shame on him for that, and on Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis two times each for not warning him.
But that's not what he was going for.
However understandable their reaction, the fanbase shouldn't villainize where they weren't: themselves.
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Why is this article poorly edited?