Disclaimer: I am guilty of everything I am about to say. These are not a judgments. These are merely observations.
The Hypocritical Fan
In this day and age of social networking, and increased global connectivity, everyone is equipped with a powerful vehicle to have their voice heard. I can broadcast any opinion I want, to any of my followers on various social networks, located anywhere in the world, and they can respond with an equally emphatic opinion within seconds. This is an extremely powerful and compelling concept, but it is also a dangerous one. It allows anyone in the world to become a moral authority on any topic, at any time.
And without the possibility of ever meeting that person in real life, there is a certain emboldened demeanor that inevitably surfaces, which often results in quick and unfounded judgment. The “I am right, you are wrong, nanny nanny boo boo” mentality. It even goes one step further as the digital exchanges escalate in intensity. As soon as you become fatigued with a particular person, you have the option to disconnect with them just as easily as you connected. In fact, you can block that person from ever contacting you again. This means that nobody actually has
to defend their position until a resolution is reached. You know, the lost art of productive debate.
So where am I going with this? Well, the ease with which one can become a moral authority on a specific subject, can also lead to some very hypocritical behavior. Reasons for being averse towards certain people are often things that very person is just as guilty of.
Let’s look at some examples.
The Steroid Era & Beyond: Baseball is America’s sport. It is considered to be a sacred
institution. The sanctity of the game is first and foremost in the minds of most traditionalists. Cheaters have been banished from the Hall of Fame. Records have fallen that now have asterisks attached to them. Full season suspensions have been handed out for failed drug tests.
Countless articles and blogs have been written questioning the integrity of an entire era athletes. I have joined in the denouncement myself.
But look at the All-Star voting so far this year. Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera, both of whom have strong ties to performance drugs, are among the leading vote getters at their respective positions. And Ryan Bruan, who missed 65 games last year due to a suspension resulting from PED’s, is also one of the top vote getters. And let’s not forget that he was welcomed back with a standing ovation at Milwaukee’s home opener. This is a man who flat out lied to Brew City for more than a year by saying he had never used PEDs. He later admitted he lied.
So what message is this sending? We care about cheating only when its convenient.
Oh, and not to mention that nobody cares about the level of PED usage in the NFL. Does anybody even know, or care, about Robert Mathis being suspended for the first four games for violating the substance abuse policy? Fred Davis has been suspended indefinitely for the same violation. Where’s the outrage? Right, there is none.
The Relativity Theory: For those of you who might follow me on Twitter (@CourtZierk), you already know about my intense dislike for Russell Westbrook. I detest everything he stands for on the court, the selfish tendencies, the brazen arrogance, the condescending facial expressions, the lady-like clothing. The list goes on, and on for me. There are just some people that rub you the wrong way, and he is that guy for me. I have more recently developed a similar dislike for Lance Stephenson, but that is a topic for another article (shameless plug).
Having said all that, I am certain that if Russell Westbrook was on the Denver Nuggets (the team I support), I would be just as adamant in my adoration for him. The things that drive me crazy about him would suddenly become endearing idiosyncrasies. Similarly, if Lance Stephenson were to blow in LeBron’s ear, as a member of the Nuggets, I would certainly attribute it to gamesmanship.
So what message is this sending? My tolerance level for player behavior is completely relative to the team they’re on, and whether or not it benefits my personal enjoyment. Yes, folks. I am a hypocritical fan. The moral judgments I make, relating to sports, are bounded by how convenient it is for me.
Hey, at least I admit it. Doesn’t mean I will change. Thank you Twitter for giving me a vehicle to form opinions intended to be controversial. Thank you Google+ for giving me a platform on which to set my soap box. Thank you Facebook for giving me a forum for people to access my moral spewings. But, most of all, thank you internet for letting me be my contentious and hypocritical self.
Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. I’m out.
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