Barking up the wrong tree

An editorial in today’s Statesman, “Booing kids not becoming of adults,” railed against the crowd for booing UT quarterback, Garrett Gilbert. It suggested, “the boos that rained down on Gilbert – and we understand some perhaps were aimed at Brown for not changing QBs sooner – made for an unfortunately ugly scene at the big stadium.”

What? Give me a break.

What “ugly scene”? As far as know, there were no riots, there was no violence, and the game was not disrupted. The boos were seemingly harmless.

Moreover, the team subsequently played better after the boos. Should the crowd be given credit for expressing its opinion of the teams strategy and performance? Maybe it got the team going or helped in the decision to change personnel, which may have been a good thing.

From where I sit, the booing wasn’t a big deal. And, Gilbert was reported to have taken it (being replaced at quarterback or getting booed [if he was or if he took it as directed at him]) or both quite well.

While I’m not much for booing, I think fans paying the kind of prices they paid for tickets were entitled to verbally express their displeasure with the way the team performs and, especially with the way the coaches prepared the team and the decisions the coaches make.

The coaches get paid a lot of money to put on a good (read: “winning”) show. Why shouldn’t the fans get to express their assessments of poor performance?

The players get ripped off by not getting a decent piece of the multimillion dollars generated by the show they put on (which, of course, is another subject), but they probably, or at least should be trained to, ignore boos from a crowd composed almost totally of people who are incapable of performing any physical skill as well as Garrett Gilbert plays quarterback on his worst day. Nevertheless, the fans paid for the right to make some noise. Does the Statesman’s editorial staff object to the fans cheering?

Moreover, last time I checked, a 20-year-old is an adult, albeit a young one, not a “kid.” Gilbert ought to be able to take a little noise, which all reports say he did. Heck, he apparently does a great job of taking 300 pounders smashing him at full speed. I don’t want to find out what that’s like, but I’m guessing it’s harder to take than a little loud criticism.

Now, if the Statesman’s editorial staff wants to take on verbal behavior related to football, maybe they should write about the yelling, profanity and all sorts of verbal abuse the majority of football coaches (they’re adults aren’t they) regularly pile on college football playing students for their mistakes and poor performances. I think that’s much worse. My guess is the first time a professor got caught similarly verbally abusing a college student in class for the college student’s mistakes or poor classroom performance, the professor would be looking for a new job. And, so he should. Coaches should be held to a similar standard. The professors don’t get paid as much as the coaches and I’m not even writing about the fact that coaches regularly get shown doing it on tv. Football coaches don’t all engage in such abuse, but when was the last time you saw a football game in which one or more coaches didn’t verbally abuse players? Surely that’s worse than some harmless booing from the paying crowd.

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