The disconnect fans perceive
By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer
In a week five NFL game between Baltimore and Kansas City, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was hit and injured by the Ravens defense. The crowd’s response? They cheered.
Did I miss something here? A living, breathing h
uman being was seriously injured (sustained a concussion), and a number of those in attendance were happy about it? Concussions may seriously reduce one’s quality of life, yet the crowd at Arrowhead had no misgivings whatsoever about rejoicing at the misfortune of their quarterback. In the words of Chiefs tackle Eric Winston, it was “sickening.” Cassel is both a husband and a father. He had a hand in saving someone’s life last year when he alerted a woman to a fire in her house that she was unaware of; witnesses called him a “hero.” And yet, this man’s injury brought not tears, but joy to Chiefs fans.
I’ve always found sports to be a great indicator of the kind of person you are. It brings out your raw character, the basest you can be. If you’re a faker and a coward on the field, you’re probably like that in real life. If you’re a dirty player, there’s generally aspects of your life that are less than savoury as well. On the flipside, an honest, hard-worker on the pitch tends to be the same off of it.
However, there is a point where you have to think people just get lost in it all. A disconnect with reality. Here we fall into the realm of the armchair quarterback and fantasy footballers. As fun as it is to go to a game, it’s an ugly scene. Painted beer bellies hanging out for all of the world to see. Hunks of cheese and hollowed watermelons masquerading as hats. Seats lined with a never-ending stream of expensive grub. And fans cheering on the non-stop violence of the game. Players can be reduced to a stat line in the world of sports. The specks on the field can be seen as nothing more than tools to help achieve a victory. Famous people are already viewed differently. Being a sports star on the field just means that you’re even less/more of a person than anyone else.
Following in this vein, I like to think that the fans can be given at least a partial pardon for cheering Cassel’s injury. They weren’t cheering a man getting hurt. They weren’t celebrating the concussion of a father. They were simply thankful that their overpaid and underperforming quarterback, not person, was out of the game. It’s normal to have an ever so slight thirst for violence, and that’s why we have sports. Sports offer an opportunity to have all those emotions and thoughts that we usually keep to ourselves, manifest themselves. And that’s ok, to an extent.
I’m not saying don’t scream your head off when your team makes a huge tackle, but just keep in mind that those are people out there. People with friends and family just like anyone else.