I’ve painted my face before. I’ve traveled the country, spending hundreds upon thousands of dollars to attend different sporting events. I watch SportsCenter eleventeen times a day. I run a sports website. My affinity for sports has even cost me a few relationships.
I’ve lauded Steve Spurrier, Urban Meyer, Billy Donovan, Ron Zook and Lon Kruger after wins and cursed them after losses. I’ve booed and heckled. My allegiances are unquestioned. But I still like to think I keep things in perspective.
Upon meeting a sports personality, I treat them with respect just as I would anyone else I meet. I respect their profession and their privacy. Do unto others, right?
One thing I have NOT done, however, is show my ass enough to make them feel uncomfortable or even threatened for their safety. Don’t get me wrong. I can be as critical as the next fan but certain lines should not be crossed. That’s exactly what happened lately to Kirk Herbstreit and his family.
For those of you who don’t know, Herbstreit is ESPN’s premier college football analyst. He’s also a former Ohio State quarterback.
Buckeye fans are as fanatical as they come. Trust me, I’ve known a few. Fortunately, those I’ve known have never resorted to threatening the family member of another for merely doing their job. At least not around me they haven’t.
After comments he made on ESPN, Herbstreit felt compelled to move his family out of their Columbus home because a ‘vocal minority’ of ‘relentless’ Buckeye fans felt he was too critical of his alma mater. Turncoat Herbstreit. How dare he!
Let’s say, down the road, Florida isn’t living up to its potential or its new head coach, Will Muschamp, gets busted for recruiting violations, or any one of another million cardinal NCAA sins. I would expect, if not be totally disappointed, if Urban Meyer, now an analyst for ESPN, were not openly critical. I certainly wouldn’t egg his house for it.
If anything, Meyer and Herbstreit know their respective (former) programs better than they know anyone else’s. Why NOT hold them to a higher standard? To do otherwise would be irresponsible.
It’s time to put things in perspective, people. Sports is important to us all but it’s still entertainment. If the NFL lockout has proven anything, it’s that the professional athlete and the leagues for which they play care about one thing… and it’s not us. Maybe it’s about time we take a lesson out of their playbook and start doing the same.