1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Rooting for athletes vs. personal feelings: Where do you draw the line?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by MisterCreosote, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

    I REALLY don't want to revisit the Michael Vick pissing match from last week, but something outofplace said during that debate resonates: How much are you willing to forgive an athlete's personal behavior? Does that increase depending on the team he/she plays for? Does it matter what the crime is that they are guilty of? Do you use your judgment in determining the merits of charges/accusations that never get proved?

    To be honest, I've found this to be a challenge since I left journalism and am hence "allowed" to have an opinion on things again.
  2. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    Yes it depends on the crime.
    Those of us in San Francisco loved Barry Bonds. He was the biggest jerk off the field, he was the epitome of the steroid era, his slimy half-truths make you hate him even more, and breaking that hallowed record because of the roids turned more people off. But he was our player and we loved watching him play. So, yes, it's subjective.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Jemele Hill was right -- Kentucky fans would root for Hitler as their coach if they were winning basketball titles. So would any other team's fans.

    In fact, fans seem to revel in rooting for their bad boys anymore. All it took was Michael Vick running all over the shitty Lions and Jags for people to roll out the redemption storyline. Watch Pittsburgh's reaction when Roethlisberger takes the field and throws four TDs against the Browns in a couple weeks. Giants fans loved Bonds even more because everyone else hated him.

    Winning is ALL that matters.
  4. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    I'm not very tolerant of any athlete who wanders too far off course.

    The NFL team of my allegiance has a wideout who has broken the noses of two teammates. He was incredibly lucky that the latter forgave him and gave the team an opportunity to bond as opposed to divide. Lucky, lucky break. I don't excuse his behavior, which is why I usually use the nickname given to him by some teammates some years back ... fits him perfectly.

    The NHL team of my allegiance, fortunately, has had only two immense jerks the last dozen years or so. One got dealt for a probably HOFer and was booed mercilessly - and pretty deservedly so - during his returns back to the home games. The other was a massive jerk that, while talented, was not worth it and was someone I saw treat people rather poorly for no reason. Luckily, he's now a coach and hopefully offering the good Xs and Os pointers to an outstanding kid and keeping his tool-like behavior to himself ... I hope.

    My alma mater has had plenty of embarrassments ... and a few folks worthy of the highest praise. Some coaches there have been worthy of every compliment they get on and off the field of competition and some others seem to be pretty good people regardless of the fact that they back the same school I do.

    I don't play the "he's a jerk, but he's MY jerk so that's OK" card. They are what they are ... and a coach I know would probably grin a little at that line.

    Could not disagree more.

    I have a friend who used to feel that way. He was all but handing me my rear end on a platter because a good coach and better man fled to a school where he's beloved now. My alma mater never warmed to him, and those who felt that way were, IMO, foolish and short-sighted. Funny part is the current coach hasn't come close to what his predecessor accomplished.

    Moreover, the same friend is now enduring some embarrassment at his school. He never gave me the impression that he understood that any price is worth it for a few more wins. I think he gets it now that it has happened to his alma mater. Tough, tough way to learn that lesson.
  5. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    Character matters, absolutely.

    Every time I see Michael Vick the Dick playing, it makes me sick. The man should still be some Big Bubba's bitch right now.

    As far as "it's my jerk, so it's OK" goes, hell no. I always swore when I was a Blowrioles fan that if I were in Camden Yards when Albert Belle played for them that I'd boo him mercilessly if I were ever in the stadium.

    I resented the living fuck out of the Redskins' decision to sign that noted homophobe Larry Johnson and did not shed one fucking tear when the Redskins cut his sorry, overpaid ass.
  6. Shoeless Joe

    Shoeless Joe Active Member

    Here's a couple of examples that come to mind.

    I'm a major Lance Armstrong supporter. I'm pretty sure he's guilty of some of the things folks claim, but I don't care. He was riding on a level playing field. Was/is he a dick? Absolutely. That's what I like about him. If you can make the rest of the peloton you're bitch they've got two options, step up and beat you or settle for second. We know how that worked out.

    My wife, who is feminist to the core (we're actually a funny couple), always hated Mickelson because he's a choker but looooved Tiger. Well, when all the stuff went down last fall combined with reading about Phil taking care of his wife and kids, she did the biggest 180 in human history.

    Another one, although I was never a Vick fan in an way, shape or form either from an athletic or personal standpoint, I don't give a shit what he does going forward, what he did to dogs, he deserves to die a scalding death in a vat of oil. I don't care if you're an NFL superstar or some inbred living down the street, you do that to an animal, there is absolutely nothing that is too bad to happen to you.
  7. farmerjerome

    farmerjerome Active Member

    I thought I was a big believer of the redemption story, but it really goes by a case by case basis.

    I can never get past what Michael Vick did. Ever. Nor Big Ben.

    It sounds terrible but I can get past Donte Stallworth. In that case, he did his time and as I read in one account covered up details of the crime that made him look -- I don't know -- better in the public's eye. That case almost went away faster than Vick's.
  8. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    That is an interesting point, one I have struggled with the last few months. It is obviously not news to anybody here that I am a big Steelers fan. But I am truly disgusted with Ben Roethlisberger. I hate the idea of rooting for the guy, but I know when it comes down to it I will root for the team to do well and he will be a big part of that.

    I do believe the team the player is on matters. If Roethlisberger played for any other team, I certainly wouldn't be rooting for him. Or James Harrison for that matter.

    I have players I like on other teams. A few guys I covered along the way. Others that I just found interesting for one reason or another. If they were in Roethlisberger's position or Vick's, I'd be done rooting for them. If the only reason to root for the guy was something about the individual, having them do something terrible would certainly be enough to turn me away.

    The level of crime does matter. Barry Bonds is a good example. I remained a fan of his after he left the Pirates in the '90s, though I stopped rooting for the team at that time. He is a jerk and I absolutely believe he did steroids. I don't really care. Has he hurt anybody? Tortured and murdered animals? Nope. Not a good guy, but certainly not a horrible human being, either.
  9. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    I don't think that is true at all.

    I don't think most football fans give a shit about steroids, but plenty of them hate Vick and Roethlisberger, and understandably so.

    Steelers fans don't give a shit about steroids. Plenty of fans of the team supported the idea of trading him this past offseason. I certainly would be more comfortable if he was gone, but I also understand why that didn't happen.

    I know if I was in the stands for his return, I wouldn't be cheering when he was announced. I want the team to do well, but man, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of rooting for him as an individual.

    Little is a different thing. Unfortunately, we aren't harsh enough with drunk drivers in this country. Way too many people thinking that could have been them and sympathizing with Little. Also, not enough fans realized that the asshole got himself busted for DUI again after killing that woman. He should have been banned from the NFL when he did that.

    Woods doesn't even compare to the other three guys you listed. I wouldn't say he is a good guy, but fucking around isn't nearly on the same level as what Roethlisberger, Little or Vick did.
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    If you're not going to like someone for sticking in anything that moves, you're not going to root for anyone, from the biggest of superstars to the scrubbiest of scrubs. Except maybe Mookie Wilson.
  11. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

  12. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I root for the team name on the front of the uniform. I never, ever root for a professional athlete in team sports; this can only lead to disappointment, anger and a lot of other negativity.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page