The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

When supporting a football team turns into a moral battleground

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Sunday, for some, is the day of worship and relaxing. While for others, myself included, it is the day for one thing and one thing only.


Growing up, the game is as big of a tradition as any. You wake up and watch football basically from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The focus is mainly on the game of your favorite team while also constantly monitoring your teams division rivals game. For a second people forget about that eight-page paper due the next day, and instead the TV becomes the altar. Watching the games on Sunday becomes a form of worship in itself.

As fans, people stand by their favorite teams and players like family.

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The banter of fans turns living rooms into debate rooms. “Tom Brady sucks! Peyton is better!” “Well at least Tom wins in the playoffs!”

For the most part it’s completely healthy, but at what point does defending your favorite player leap beyond the bounds of morality and common sense? When do the fans decide to put on blinders regarding the people they love to cheer for?

For this we look back at this year in the NFL. Whether you watch football or not, you have most likely heard the names Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson in the past couple of months.

The first example takes us back to August 7th for a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Coming off the arrest for felony aggravated assault, Rice’s first game back home started on an interesting note. Instead of the distaste and ‘boos’ you would expect from the public, Ravens fans answered his return with cheers and a standing ovation. Yes, a full-fledged standing ovation.

Second chances are great, but is cheering really the right reaction to a player returning from arrest with a suspension looming? This makes me wonder how an illegal act that would normally have people calling for someone’s head, brought up a positive reaction. It is most likely because fans view players as beings that function on a different level of society. Of course this is false, as they operate under the same legal rules as any normal citizen, but it does raise some questions.

If the Ravens fans will cheer for Rice, then why do they use the 2008 and 2010 sexual assault lawsuits to taunt division rival Steelers QB, Ben Roethlisberger? If fans really do scrap their moral compass while watching football, who’s to say they fully possessed one in the first place?

Now of course with these situations will always be two sided. In the Adrian Peterson case, there is a much stronger reaction of opposition towards Peterson. It went so far to the point that Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, made a statement on the circumstances.

“It is an awful situation. Yes, Mr. Peterson is entitled to due process and should be innocent until proven guilty. However, he is a public figure; and his actions, as described, are a public embarrassment to the Vikings organization and the State of Minnesota,” said Dayton.

Fans proceeded to send mail to the Vikings demanding for Peterson’s suspense and even dismissal from the team.

At the end of the day the influence these sports figures have is so immense that people often choose to see them do no wrong. This however, is not the way the players want themselves to be viewed.

“Everything I went through, I don’t take anything for granted anymore, especially going out there and playing in front of our fans,” said Rice. “It’s a lot of respect that I have to go out there and earn because of the position that I put myself in.”

As fans of these teams people need to realize the time to cheer and when not to cheer. If the lines of what is ethical are being crossed, people should take a step back and ask themselves how to approach the topic. Bias has no place in the legal system.

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