By now, everyone has heard of what happened at Fenway Park a few days ago. During a game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said that he had racial slurs and peanuts thrown at him during the game by fans. This has become a hot topic ever since, between fans going too far and the problems the city of Boston still has with racism and many other conversations that all stem from what happened.
What I found so interesting, or confusing really, is whenever there is an incident of fans going too far, there’s a good amount of fans that come to their defense. They have certain cliché responses to deflect the severity of the situation, making it seem almost ok that this occurred. Take this instance in Boston for example, there were way too many people pointing the finger elsewhere or saying “I don’t condone what happened, but…” followed by some excuse as to why this might’ve happened. It’s become somewhat of a defense mechanism, deflect the problem at hand and talk about the surroundings of it instead, place blame elsewhere even.
Fans sometimes cross the line, and when that happens, full blame should go to the responsible party with no add-on’s to diminish what occurred. It gets to a point where people seem more upset that fans are being called out than they are upset about what the fans said or did, which is completely backwards. There is no “but” or “well” when dealing with racism, throwing things at players, hurling deep personal insults at them or even running onto the field/court, once it gets to that point it’s not about anything other than what the fans did.
But again, there’s always those excuses. So let’s go ahead and talk about those here and discuss why these excuses really have no validity. From blaming the players to blaming alcohol to bringing up our constitution, we’ll run down the major excuses and debunk them all.
2. “Look at what the players did” – Classic example of “victim blaming” going on here whenever the players become an at fault party. Players, in the eyes of some fans, should be held to a higher standard. They are the ones that need to have the cooler heads, they are the ones that shouldn’t provoke it, they are the ones that should turn the other cheek, and the ever popular “without us, they wouldn’t be making millions of dollars to play a game” line that fans feel they deserve ultimate respect over. Some fans think of players in the gladiator mindset, where their sole purpose is merely to entertain us. But these players are human with real emotions, and sometimes when fans go too far, they let those emotions take over and we always need to remember that their actions are the effect and not the cause.
3. "We have the 1st amendment though, so they are allowed to say it" - Bringing up the constitution is a very cliche statement whenever there's an issue with verbal abuse, so I will use a cliche here as well and say "freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences." The 1st amendment grants us a right to speak freely without it being a crime, words (non-threatening) are not a punishable offense and no one will be handcuffed and tossed in the slammer for simply talking. So while the 1st amendment protects people from oppression, it doesn't protect anyone from the potential punishment elsewhere. People have lost their jobs over saying the wrong thing, people have been banned from places for saying the wrong thing, people have lost relationships over the saying the wrong thing, so there's plenty of things that could still happen despite having the freedom of speech. So fans deserve the blame and the judgment from others for saying the wrong thing regardless if they are allowed to say it, because being allowed to say it doesn't mean it should be said.
These are the few main excuses that some people will give whenever fans go overboard and they look for reasons to excuse the fans' behavior. As you can see though, each of those excuses really doesn't have much validity overall and it's mainly a way to just get away from the actual problem. In future, let's go to what needs to be done to really stop these incidents with fans first and make necessary changes instead of immediately going to the fans' defense and maybe we will have less and less of these incidents going forward.