Inside Conditions…Tit for Tat

Geno Smith
In this photo taken on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith walks off the field after losing 24-17 to the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in East Rutherford, N.J. Frustrated after a third straight loss and calls for his backup increasing, Smith was caught by a TV camera yelling an expletive at a heckler in the stands as he walked off the MetLife Stadium field following a 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Here we go again. Another pro athlete having to apologize for being human.
The latest casualty is New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
c5aubreybruce
Aubrey Bruce

Smith had the nerve to respond without candy and flowers to a few unkind utterances from one of the NY Jets faithful. After the Jets/Lions matchup Sunday resulting in a 24-17 loss yardbarker.com posted an article that said; “According to multiple reports, Smith  snapped at someone in the stands after the game, yelling “(expletive) you” to a fan as he was walking off the field.
“I’ve got to get better with that. I’ve got to let that stuff roll off my back. But today, I didn’t do well with that.”
Smith wouldn’t divulge what set him off, but he did admit that it wasn’t related to Michael Vick.
“No matter what happened I’ve got to not feed into it,” Smith said. “It’s a part of the job. I understand the fans want to come out and see victories. And at times they get heated and we do too as players.”
“We want Vick!” chants rained down on him throughout the game, but he didn’t make any excuses for his behavior after the loss, as he opened up his postgame press conference by apologizing for his actions.
“Before we start this off, first of all I want to apologize if any kids saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field,” Smith said, via NJ.com.
“I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation, and it’s a part of my learning process.”
Why can’t athlete’s breathe or take a tinkle without having to apologize?
The fans pay to see the game.  The price of admission does not give any fan the right to verbally assail or physically assualt anyone, anywhere at any time, period.
A few years ago I was covering a Steelers/Browns game in Cleveland.  My significant other went to the game with me.  She proceeded to her seat and I went on to the press box.
She never calls me during the game except at halftime and after the game has concluded. My cell phone vibrated before the first quarter ended.  “Hey honey,” she said. “I apologize for the interruption but I was standing in line to get some nachos and someone tapped on my shoulder and when I turned around they were walking away “mooning” me.”
I asked her, “what did you do? She said, “I just stood there trying to figure out; where the rest of his butt was and why his “tool shed” was so empty, if you know what I mean?”
I asked her about the general vicinity of that vending stand because I wanted to make sure that when we returned to Cleveland we did not want any “remnants of the booty” floating around our future orders of nachos or anything other food source.
Recently, I wrote an article titled, “Respect Yourself.” Part of that article chronicled how Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen dealt with a game long heckler.
“They like to talk to you as if you’re an animal in the zoo, and you can’t say anything back,” McCutchen said.
“I had a little bit of that going into that at-bat and I hit the big home run. I couldn’t hear anything. It was as quiet as a church.”
Whatever happened to free speech?
Do players lose their constitutional right of verbal expression when they sign a performance contract and do fans gain additional freedom of speech privileges when they buy a ticket?
The purchase of a ticket should only guarantee a fan the privilege to be admitted to the contest, not the right to have an “orgasm” by saying evil and vicious things to another human being.
Remember the NBA brawl back in November 2004 when players and fans exchanged punches in the stands near the end of a Pacers-Pistons game that was and remains one of the worst brawls in NBA history.
Indiana’s Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson charged into the stands and fought with fans in the final minute of their game against Detroit, and the brawl forced an early and ugly end to the game.
Fans had been throwing objects, so Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson decided to give these hellacious fans some “work.”
Fans do not have any more of a right to do and say things to athletes than athletes has to disrespect fans.
However, in my opinion if an athlete issues a an occasional harmless butt kicking to a few “blood seeking fanatical’s”  it might keep some of them (the so-called super fans)  a bit more grounded.  (The sources for this article were yardbaker.com and espn.com)
Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412.583.6741
Follow him on Twitter @ultrascribe

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