After driving 250 miles each way to the Oakland Coliseum, a caller to last Sunday’s Raiders postgame talk show said when his beloved Silver and Black played as poorly as they did against the Broncos, they deserve to be booed.
Judging by the barrage of criticism that rained down from the stands with every errant JaMarcus Russell throw, it wasn’t just out-of-towners venting their displeasure with the struggling quarterback.
Now, what exactly is the fan etiquette in such situations? In my book, anything short of mayhem and profanity goes.
You can’t muzzle the masses and nobody should try to. The lifeline of professional sports is the emotional ties a team makes with its fans. Fueled by Terrible Towels, Thundersticks, pulsating stadium music and dancing cheerleaders, organizations do all they can to rouse the passions of the paying patron.
The stronger they can build the identification with the modern day warrior and his tribe, the more visceral the fan response. So if you can’t complete a simple pass or stop the opposing running back before he runs through half of your defense, of course the “12th man” will let you know how they feel about it.
When a fan pays a day’s wages to see a game, he has earned the right to boo, cheer, heckle, laugh or cry. The worst thing he can do is stay home and not care.
Here’s a brief list of things worth booing:
– Mike Singletary for refusing to throw a single pass in the 49ers’ final two possessions in Minnesota and then deciding not to blitz Brett Favre even once during the Vikings’ game-winning drive.
– Stephen Jackson, for telling me and a dozen other “vultures” (his words) at Warriors media day in Oakland on Monday that he, “brought this organization from the bottom back to the top” in 2007. Revisionist history aside, Captain Jack also said although he stands by his words of wanting to be traded, it won’t undermine his efforts to help Golden State this season.
– Monta Ellis for saying he “can’t play” with Stephen Curry on the very day they put on the same uniform for the first time.
– The NBA for planning to begin the regular season with replacement referees.
– The NHL for opening the regular season tonight, barely three and a half months after they crowned a Stanley Cup champion.
– The A’s for modeling their perpetual rebuilding plans after “Groundhog Day.”
– The Giants for being the wayward home of overpriced, past their prime free agents.
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news and is also the co-host of “Raiders Gameday” and “Recap” talk shows on KSFO (560 AM). He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.