The League

Gene Wang
Fantasy Guru

Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Raiola Was Right

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Detroit center Dominic Raiola probably became a hero to many NFL players, and professional athletes in general for that matter, when he raised his middle finger to jeering fans. Raiola made the obscene gesture on Sunday as he was leaving the field after the Lions lost to Minnesota, 20-16, and fell to 0-13.

While not endorsing Raiola's actions, let's be honest here and agree they were completely understandable. How would you feel if thousands of spectators were allowed to come to your job and boo you? Maybe you'd do the same as Raiola.
We all know fans support players' salaries and have helped make the NFL the most profitable and viable professional sports league in America. But that doesn't mean paying customers should feel entitled to use profanity or personal insults just because their favorite team is playing poorly.

Fans long have overstepped the bounds of decorum and simple good taste when voicing displeasure at players. I remember covering a game in Dallas and seeing Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston, Emmitt Smith and the rest of the Cowboys getting booed as they walked off the field at halftime. Ridiculous.

Raiola was right in telling fans to stop coming to games if they are so down on the Lions. That's really the best way to send a message. Franchises will change how they do business if they are hit hard in the pocketbook and not because fans are booing each week.

By Gene Wang  |  December 10, 2008; 4:09 PM ET  | Category:  Detriot Lions Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Comments

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What were the fans actually saying to him? Inquiring minds want to know!

Posted by: Let's just call me "Bob" | December 11, 2008 4:17 AM

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 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 8:02 AM

We have suspended and fined players for bad interactions with fans.

Why the softshoe? Precident has been set.

Posted by: fresno500 | December 19, 2008 2:33 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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