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UK Fans Rip Orton For Leaving, Further Prove That Things Are Becoming Nastier

On May 11th, a story was posted saying that Florida’s basketball team will be over the NCAA’s scholarship limit next season.  That means that UF will have to “run off” a couple of players this offseason.

I wrote on that day that this is one of the great double-standards in sports.  Most Fans could care less if a school or coach runs off a player, but they will show no mercy toward a player who transfers.

I was ripped for being anti-Florida. 

The very next day, The Knoxville News Sentinel ran a story on its website regarding former freshman All-American football player Aaron Douglas who is leaving Tennessee.

Beneath the column, dozens of negative, ugly comments were left by Vol fans attacking Douglas — who they had once praised — and even his parents — who were Tennessee athletes themselves.

I pointed out that this reaction proved my point about a double-standard. 

I was ripped for being anti-Tennessee.

So I guess I better get ready to hear from angry Kentucky fans.

Daniel Orton is projected by some to be a Top 15 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.  But that hasn’t stopped many UK fans from firing verbal shots at the freshman they once cheered.

“There was a lot of feedback that was telling me that this was probably one of the dumbest decisions I’ve very made in my life,” Orton said yesterday.

“People weren’t happy with my decision.  They really thought that I really didn’t do that well and that I really needed to come back.”

Taking things to another level, one Big Blue buffoon accused Orton of using his mother’s death as an excuse for his low productivity at UK.

“Using my mother as an ‘escape-goat.’  He said, ‘escape-goat,’ not scapegoat,” Orton said.  The fan’s message drew the ire of Orton’s brother who reportedly wanted to fight the fan.

“I kind of shook my head,” Orton said of receiving the message.  “I tried to move on.  That’s what my mother always told me: Kill them with kindness.”

Let me make some things perfectly clear here:

1.  This type of nonsense goes on everywhere.  Whether it’s fans from several schools sending ugly messages to a player who chooses to play at a rival college or fans sending threatening messages to a coach’s wife, this Neanderthal behavior does not come cloaked in any one set of school colors.  We can all share some of the shame of such actions.

2.  This is a product of a society that is now remarkably self-centered.  It seems that everyone now feels that all things must go their way at all times.  We have become frighteningly soft.  Our forebears survived world wars and a depression.  An influenza epidemic could kill millions at any time.  Bet they kept on swinging.

As for us?  Well, we become outraged if someone decides to go make millions of dollars for himself and leaves our favy-wavy school in the process.  We lash out.  At a player, a coach, or his wife or his kids.

I’ll tell you, if someone is so frustrated by the comings and goings of a 20-year-old that he feels personally wronged in some way, it’s a pretty good sign of some narcissistic traits.  “MY team should always win and MY players shouldn’t leave because that’s what makes ME happy.”

3.  This also shows what happens when everyone is given a microphone.  Quite frankly, not everyone deserves a microphone.  Example: if you don’t know the difference between “scapegoat” and “escape-goat,” you probably shouldn’t have too much sway in this world. 

Nevertheless, we all do have a voice these days.  A big voice.  A big ANONYMOUS voice… and that only makes matters worse.  Being anonymous, we can rant or rave over any little thing that we don’t like.  Instead of an old fashioned shrug of the shoulders and a move along, now we zip people nasty texts and threatening emails.

And the more we do it, the more acceptable this behavior becomes.  We’re desensitized to it a little bit more every single day.

I don’t know for certain what this world will be like in 10, 20, or 50 years.  I can’t predict how future generations will behave when something doesn’t go their way. 

But I can formulate a pretty good guess just by paying attention to the behavior of some of today’s most extreme and most maladjusted sports fans.

I only hope like hell that you agree with me, because the idea that fans like these are in the majority — and not the minority — frightens me to no end.


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