The League

Charles Mann
Pro Bowl Defensive Lineman

Charles Mann

A 12-year veteran lineman, elected four times to the Pro Bowl.

Less Booze, Less Boos

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When you're in the public eye, when you're a "celebrity," as athletes today are, you aren't just a regular fan. You lose that when you sign your contract. As a result of that high salary you now have to be held to a higher standard.

You get no get out of jail free card. You're representing your NFL team. You can't act like you're there representing yourself. Raiola was wrong for what he did. When you are a professional football player you are never justified in responding.

I was fortunate enough to never be booed during my career. However some of my teammates were not so lucky. Mark Rypien got booed pretty good over the years, Joe Theismann too -- especially in Philadelphia. But they both had what I consider to be the appropriate responses: no response. It's like turning the other cheek. Ignore the boos and they will go away. If you respond they will come back worse.

That being said, fans are absolutely not justified in booing players. It's a sad state of affairs that people in stadiums aren't civilized anymore. They pay a lot of money and get drunk and then it's the liquor talking. If arenas had no booze in them you'd only have 5-7% of people acting the fool. Instead it's more like 30-40%. I wouldn't want to take a young kid to a ball game anymore. It used to be a family thing, now you know it's a whole other level of athletic event.

But no matter how bad it gets, athletes cannot respond. It's like a beehive. Walk around it carefully and you'll be fine. Agitate it and you'll get stung.

By Charles Mann  |  December 10, 2008; 8:40 AM ET  | Category:  Detriot Lions , Fans Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Bird Ain't the Word | Next: Raiola Was Right

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"That being said, fans are absolutely not justified in booing players. It's a sad state of affairs that people in stadiums aren't civilized anymore. They pay a lot of money and get drunk and then it's the liquor talking. If arenas had no booze in them you'd only have 5-7% of people acting the fool. Instead it's more like 30-40%. I wouldn't want to take a young kid to a ball game anymore. It used to be a family thing, now you know it's a whole other level of athletic event."

Booze causes all sorts of problems, that's for sure, but let's not confuse issues and try to turn it back on the fans.

Please.

I could be as sober as a preacher standing in my own living room, and if Rothlesberger gets sacked for the fifth time in the half, I'm gonna "boo" all by myself.

I don't know where you get this "fans shouldn't boo" stuff. Maybe we shouldn't cheer, either. Maybe we should just sit there like obedient church mice, an outdoor Quaker's Meeting for 60,000, no laughing, no talking, no showing your teeth, everybody passing around books and pretending we're at the library. Maybe that'd work.

I agree that booze will amplify the belligerence, no doubt about it. But maybe if the team won a game or two their fans wouldn't need to drink so much -- ever think of that?? (Oh, I'm KIDDING of course...sorta...)

Posted by: trippin | December 10, 2008 11:42 AM

Really, no one is allowed to boo? I spend $80 for a seat, $20 for parking, $5 for a soda, $10 for food, $150 for a jersey, and I am only allowed to cheer?

I will agree that college & high school athletes should not be booed but if you are a professional it is fair game. If you don't want me to express my disappointment with the player's or team's performance cut all of their salaries and reduce my expenses. Until then.....

Posted by: Seriously | December 10, 2008 1:56 PM

Oh, yes, fans get to boo.

Players are professionals, being paid to play. This is their JOB. It's their chosen career and they get paid exorbitantly for it. Same goes for ownership and management - they get paid to deliver a quality product.

Fans are the CUSTOMERS. We are paying for that product - a good team, playing well or at least to the best of their ability. We deserve a quality product.

Would you allow a car dealer to charge you Cadillac or Hummer prices but deliver a used Gremlin without your making a complaint? Well, when a team charges NFL-level prices for seats, parking, team logo merchandise, and food, then delivers dropped passes, lousy defense, allowed sacks, fumbles, and no wins, they're going to get booed.

Instead of flipping off fans, try looking embarrassed and playing better.

Posted by: LB | December 10, 2008 4:56 PM

Charles didn't say you can't boo. He said you shouldn't. I agree. Because it doesn't just make you look foolish, it self-defines you as such. Nobody's putting a gun to your head making you buy $80 seats. If the product is that awful, save your money. But don't embarrass yourself.

Posted by: Steve in LA | December 10, 2008 8:19 PM

Maybe I'm just stuck in a bye-gone era, but when last I looked fans paid good money for the privilege of attending sporting events and voicing their opinions at same. Mr. Raiola and his brethren get paid more money than most in the stands will ever see in their lifetimes and, if this includes putting up with fans and their insults, well, it's all part of the deal.

Beyond that, sporting events are certainly better venues for people to release their pent up frustrations than in their cars or on their dogs. I don't know what previous era Charles is talking about, but I can assure you that nothing that you hear in stadiums these days even comes close to that which Mr. Raiola's predecessors heard on the best of days when I was a kid (who didn't even understand the words at the time) going to games from the late 50's on.

I could go on, but I have to get back to work (where, by the way, for a few hundred extra grand I would be more than happy to have someone looking over my shoulder and booing, cheering or insulting my ancestry).

Posted by: truke | December 12, 2008 8:16 AM

No booing indeed. I wonder what Mann's coat of arms looks like. Once again, we have an athlete here that wants all the perks, attention and money that goes along with being a pro athlete but none of the down side. I am not talking about obscenities, just a good old fashioned booooo.

Posted by: chopin224 | December 15, 2008 5:28 PM

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