(Photo from Fox News)
In May Philadelphia 76ers fans were under fire after a fan threw popcorn on then Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook as he was helped to the locker room after suffering an injury. That act was absolutely unacceptable.
I wrote an article on that horrible night. Check it out here.
I never thought I would write a part 2 to that article. However, last night's actions from the University of Tennessee' student section warrants a part 2. There was a lot of emotion during the Tennessee vs Ole Miss game on Saturday night. Lane Kiffin made his return to Tennessee for the first time as a head coach since leaving for the USC job in 2010. Obviously his departure 11 years ago upset students and after last night's actions from the Tennessee students, there is still some hostility.
With 54 seconds remaining in the game, Tennessee TE Jacob Warren was ruled short of the line to gain on 4th down. After the review, the play was upheld and then all hell broke loose Neyland Stadium. Tennessee fans started throwing various kinds of debris on the field. Many of the Ole Miss cheerleaders were hit and Head Coach Lane Kiffin was hit with a golf ball. Not sure why a student brought a golf ball to a football game, but it makes me feel that he was never planning on leaving the game with the ball in his pocket.
The game was delayed after the Ole Miss bench was pushed to mid-field while officials discussed what the next steps should be. Eventually the student section was evacuated away from the Ole Miss bench and the game was resumed. That is ridiculous. I know the last minute of most sporting events takes 30 minutes, but that is usually because of excessive time outs, not a delay to clean the field of water bottles.
What was the fan hoping was going to happen? Kiffin would realize he made a mistake leaving in 2010? After last night, Kiffin is probably thinking to himself that going to Tennessee in the first place was a mistake. The fan is lucky that Kiffin was not hurt, because that would have been a nice criminal charge. Glad to see Kiffin saw the humor in this.
There is a line that can not be crossed in this situation. Tennessee fans not only crossed the line, they ran a mile past it. Kiffin and every college football fan in the world knew he was going to hear it from the fans. He left on bad terms and he is finally returning. It is okay to boo him consistently, especially in a close game. It is okay to talk some smack, but to physically assault him is way to far. College football is a business, and he left for a better opportunity. It also happened over a decade ago. Get over it.
This is not the first time fans crossed the line during a college football game. After a victory over Marshall, App State fans are seen on video yelling, cursing, and talking about Marshall player's families after the game. It is okay to talk smack, but to bring someone's family into the conversation is way to far. Football is a game. It brings our country together. However, these fans are turning this not into a game.
It is okay to be passionate about your teams. However, as a fan you can not cross the line. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I hate Chip Kelly with a passion. If he would ever coach a game in Philly again as a vistor, I would love to boo him consistently. However, I do not wish physical harm on the man. Just because his tenure in Philly ended terribly, does not mean he is a bad person.
If you consider yourself a real fan you do not cross the line. Real fans enjoy the game and get involved. Getting involved does not mean, verbally abuse or physically assault any coach or player on the opposing team. The way we are headed with fans, then we will only be able to watch on TV. It is absolutely ridiculous that fans are doing this during games. The Ole Miss vs Tennessee game was an incredible football game. However, instead of talking about this game, we are talking about how terrible the fans were.
I know all Tennessee fans are not like this, however one person can change how the entire fan base is perceived.
Being a football fan is one of the best parts of this country. However, fans need to learn to not insert themselves into the game. If they do, do not cross the line. These athletes and coaches are human. They have a job to do. I am assuming most of you would not appreciate having a water bottle or golf ball thrown at you during work.
Fans need to realize one thing. They do not care what the fans think. They really do not. NFL players do not care about your fantasy teams. If you get mad at a player for not scoring enough points in fantasy, do you know what my message to you is? Get better at fantasy. As a society we need to learn to enjoy the game. Yes boo Lane Kiffin. Friendly banter is always good for the game, but physically assaulting him is crossing the line.
I am assuming those Tennessee fans who threw stuff at Lane Kiffin think they are hero's. In reality they are bid fools. They ruined a great game and are horrible representatives of their school. Not sure what they were trying to accomplish. Not only do they look stupid, but Lane Kiffin did not even care. I just wish football fans would learn to enjoy the game without crossing the line.