Former player sits in the stands, finds fans awful

Submitted by MikeCohodes on October 30th, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I came across a really interesting article this morning and thought it'd make a good read for everyone here. A recent former Oregon player (who is currently anonymous) decided to take in his first ever game from the stands, and wrote a piece about it and the awful fans he had sitting around him.

He raises some really good points about some bad behaviors many fans have when they are disparaging their team from the stands, and I have to say I completely understand his point of view. Maybe we can learn something from this and reflect on how we act when we take in a Michigan game.

TL;DR version - don't be an asshat in the stands, you never know who may be sitting nearby.



October 30th, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

The other day someone tried to make a point about Michigan "not winning anything" in a while. When I pointed out that he was wrong, and that I had a B1G championship ring to prove it, he still went on and made his false claims. Also kind of called me an asshole. An asshole I might be, but I am an asshole that won a championship at Michigan. This doesn't make me anything special, but it makes his claims patently false.

Fans are, by and large, not reasonable. Former players have a strange relationship with them. We love them. We are them. But they are liable to tell you that your blood, sweat, and tears are just not good enough. This is particularly egregious when your accomplishments including winning your conference.

Section 1

October 30th, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

Your good nature, and good training in the bumps and bruises of life probably leads you to be more generous toward asshole fans than they have a right to expect.

Again, I say that the anonymous Oregon player was right. I know that my own game day experience would be vastly improved without jerkoff knowitall experts yelling their conclusions and complaints.

Toasted Yosties

October 30th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

The last Michigan game I attended, the people sitting behind me spent most of the game sitting on their hands, critiquing the music playing on the stadium speakers than paying attention to the game, "Robin Thicke has so many better songs on his album than that one."  They did chime in for every bad pass Gardner threw with a "Gardner!" or a "Why is Gardner sucking so bad?"  It was great.


October 30th, 2013 at 1:32 PM ^

I usually sit in the student section as an alumnus, and my old roomate from school came back to town for the IU game. I told him how bad the student section had become, and they did not disappoint... worse than normal, for sure. Quiet, disinterested, and generally ignorant of the things they could be bothered to comment on.

That said, my experiences in the real people sections has not been much better. Sad days, indeed.


October 30th, 2013 at 9:29 AM ^

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of fans in full-out criticism mode about their team that hasn't done worse than a 21-point victory yet this year.  I guess... the game in question (against  #12 UCLA) they were only tied at halftime?

Plenty of us around here get worked into rages and start yelling to fire Borges or bench Gardner or whatever, but that's when we're losing to average teams or barely beating horrible teams.  Hard to picture us dominating the first half of the season and then losing our cool when we're tied with a top-15 team at halftime.

Mabel Pines

October 30th, 2013 at 9:35 AM ^

for Oregon and Alabama.  They expect 30 point victories, and freak out if they don't get it.  They become more critical.  Can you imagine Ohio fans when they lose???  It will be total meltdown.  Because no one thinks these "great" teams will ever lose! 


October 30th, 2013 at 9:36 AM ^

Heck, go back to the Notre Dame game thread BEFORE we started looking shakey. Or go back and look at the reaction to the Sugar Bowl in an 11-2 season.  Heck, people STILL bitch about losing 2 games out of 13.

And I don't know how old you are, but if you can remember pre-2008 it wasn't that different. Going back through Bo. Being better only raises expectations, and then anything less than perfection and multiple national championships isn't enough. It was one of the reasons Spurrier left Florida. Great wasn't good enough to fans.  And then they get a Zook.


October 30th, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

I moved to the west coast in 2005 and unfortunately haven't been to a game at the Big House since then.  But the experience that the ex-Oregon player described in the article could just as well have been written by a former M player attending a game in the Big House back then (I don't know if things are different now that we've been through the doldrums, but I suspect not). 

CRISPed in the DIAG

October 30th, 2013 at 12:23 PM ^

Going to games in 2008 and 2009 were frustrasting because most people continued to expect excellence when our talent wasn't where it needed to be.  I remember specifically wishing that I had brought my iPod so that I didn't have to listen tot he whiney dentist sitting behind me complain about every mistake made on the field.


October 30th, 2013 at 9:30 AM ^

The 1 %. Spoil it for everyone around them. sadly I remember the bad incidents in my 30 plus years as a season ticket holder much more than I remember the good games maybe because there were so many more good games.we just go and get the ushers now no use to fight.


October 30th, 2013 at 9:37 AM ^

1% may be the vocal asses at games - the rest post....  I would add basically add every poster here who  3 weeks ago went after Borges in the same way the article describes the fans.  

Another point - because you are a fan of a school or went to the school is irrelevant.  Someone who went to Saginaw Valley is less a fan than someone who went to Michigan?  That's a bit of the problem here....



October 30th, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

But drinking is too. Drinking isn't new to games, not hardly. But it almost seems you don't drink to have a good time at a game, you go to a game so you can drink yourself silly.  College is actually tame in that regard, as NFL stadiums have become toxic environments. They were just talking on the radio what a zoo a Lions game is now. Liquid courage abounds.  


October 30th, 2013 at 9:47 AM ^

His account of the game sounds an awful lot like the live-blog here during games sometimes. *sigh* Honestly, the tone of the whole board really is moving that way unfortunately.

I spent quite a few posts arguing with someone a few weeks ago who thought because he bought a ticket, he had the right to criticise and boo the players and coaches all he wants from the stands. I wish I had this article, because it makes my point perfectly.


October 30th, 2013 at 10:49 AM ^

It's just bad, man. It's why I take periodic breaks from MGoBlog, especially during the season. I try to stay away from the board as much as possible, and show up to post on game day. A lot of times the stupidity, impotent rage, and toxicity are all a little overwhelming. You try to fight it, but it's an endless wave of nonsense, and sooner or later you just have to go, "What's the point?"


October 30th, 2013 at 9:55 AM ^

Authentic must have changed over the past 2-3 years because I typically see one game a year there and the fans have always been great. The last few years I have not gone. Maybe fans changed as the team improved.


October 30th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

I'm guessing you meant "Autzen" and got auto-corrected.

Oregon fans are an interesting breed.  Obviously each individual is uniqure, but in general they tend to exhibit the following characteristics:

1) Most Oregon fans think their team would defeat the Chicago Bears if they met on a neutral field.  I have seen fans who are irratonally optimistic about the quality of their teams before, but nothing like the Oregon fan base.  And because they are obviously going to be in the BCS Championship Game every year, all of the other games are just annoying formalities that must be quickly dealt with so they can get on with the winning of the crystal football.

2) Oregon fans are convinced they have been cheated out of multiple national championships in the past two decades and continue to suffer from anti-west coast bias.  In fact, nothing that occurs east of, say, Denver, is of any importance.  The people who vote in AP polls and whatnot should discount such events due to the backwardness of the participants.   

3) Because Oregon probably defeated your team last season (and the season before that, and the season before that...), every Oregon fan is obviously smarter and more knowledgeable about football than anyone who is not an Oregon student, alum, or fan.  If you happen to follow a team like Michigan or Washington, then discussing football with you requires the Oregon fan to come down off his or her pedestal and risk being soiled b the unwashed masses. 

4) Also, there is no such thing as tradition.  Aything that occurred before about 1998 is old, boring, and irrelevant. 


October 30th, 2013 at 10:32 AM ^

Who was a little put off by him likening his college football experience to slavery? Oregon has world class training facilities, world class equipment and is a pretty good school. If you were to add the costs of all that up and call it compensation it would easily exceed $40k a year. That's a pretty good wage for an 18-23 year old.

While I agree with most of what he said about ignorant fans, I find it hard to take him seriously when he makes outrageous comparisons like this.   Did he stop to think that his place in life now is possible because he played football?  Even if he, or his parents, could afford to foot the bill for college thats $100k+ that they were able to save, or debt they were able to avoid.  Maybe I take slavery too seriously, but I don't think that's the case...


October 30th, 2013 at 10:40 AM ^

I know what he is getting at. It may even have a kernel of truth to it. But it is so FAR removed from slavery -- for the reasons you mentioned, plus the fact that if the player doesn't like eat/play/train, he can quit at anytime (unlike, you know, an actual slave). Those words should just never come out of a player's mouth.

Just shows a complete lack of perspective on his part, while (ironically) his article shows that fans don't exactly keep things in perspective about college football & its players.

Everyone Murders

October 30th, 2013 at 12:49 PM ^

Being a scholarship athlete is exactly like being a slave.  You know, since slavery (A) was wholly voluntary, (B) allowed you to quit if you didn't want to to be a slave any more, (C) came with a university education, (D) allowed you advantages afterward making you more employable and at higher wages, (E) had tutorial and nutritional support better than the average citizen enjoys, and (F) punished low performance by decreasing your time in the field.

Yep - it's just like slavery!

UofM Die Hard …

October 30th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

but Oregon is pretty bad.  I just went to a game there a couple weeks ago to check out the atmosphere and while it was very cool the fans were ridiculous.  

Went to the Washington State Cougar v. Oregon game, wore my Michigan hat and Cougar sweatshirt (yes also a Cougar fan, sad I know) 

Lets just say they didnt like me too much.  I was feeling good after the Indian win, drinking brews, talking to the older alums (nice people), and we all  knew the Cougs were going to get was all good.

Different story when we ran into the students, they were looking for fights.  The Michigan hat upset them more than the Coug shirt..haha.   I have seen some bad fans but Oregon is close to the top.  I can take the trash talk when its all in good taste but the fighting BS was weak...leave that stuff at home. 


October 30th, 2013 at 11:14 AM ^

There is a general decline in civility in all phases of life ... here, football games, in traffic, you name it.  It's a sad reality of today's existence.  Best any one person can do is try their best not to participate in the incivility.  I'm reminded of a salmon swimming upstream ...


October 30th, 2013 at 11:22 AM ^

So, uh, back to Oregon, the subject of the OP, I like the piece.  Since Oregon has been blowing everyone out this year, their "fans" must be assholes of the lowest caliber to berate "their" team while they are winning.  I wonder how bad it gets there when they lose?

His Dudeness

October 30th, 2013 at 11:23 AM ^

CSB : Last night I was sitting front row right behind the players bench for the Louisville vs. some-cupcake-school exhibition game. Louisville has these two really skinny white boy freshmen. I lean over to my GF and say (while pointing)  "How are those two kids on the returning national championship team?? Those kids have to prove why they deserve to be on this team."

Later in the game one of the kids (actually the least imposing one) gets in and makes an incredible spinning layup and-1 and makes the FT.

An older lady sitting next to my GF leans over to me and says "Did my son prove to you why he deserves to be on this team?" and just smiles ear-to-ear.

I felt like a dick-burger and she got me pretty good.

Moral of the story: Don't say dumb shit. Don't get got. Don't feel like a dick-burger.



October 30th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

Don't say dumb shit.

Truer words have rarely been written.

There's this tendency in today's modern world to think that "being honest" (or "being real") gives license to say dumb shit.  It doesn't.

Exercising good judgment and good manners is good for its own sake, and it pays dividends in the long run.  I'm 54 and have been in the professional business world 30+ years and I can't count how many people I've seen say dumb shit where later it's come back to burn them.

Roy G. Biv

October 30th, 2013 at 12:30 PM ^

Never having played D1 football, I'm not speaking from experience but rather logical reaction to the letter:  slavery?  I can only guess at the physical demands required of players, but I think slavery is, at the least, excessive.  In terms of cash in their pockets, no, they're not compensated.  But it's been covered many times on this blog and elsewhere the lifelong benefits for those who take advantage of the education offered.

As much as I hate to say it, I've seen "that guy" generally referenced in his letter in Michigan Stadium.  Happily not often, however.  It's one thing to yell "make a catch/throw/tackle/whatever" when a play isn't made.  That's our right for paying exorbitant $$ to attend games.  But a monologue/tirade personally directed at players?  Totally uncalled for.  Coaches? Not so much (insert "I'm 40.  I'm a man" jokes here), but it is just bad form.  It really shouldn't be that hard to have a bit of respect, especially for players who are often still teenagers.

I don't know that drinking can be used as an excuse.  I, and I'll bet a huge number of other users of this blog as well, have gone to games stumbling drunk and never felt the need to do the things recounted in the letter.  I think it's more accurate to blame the decline of respect and civility in our culture as a whole.  Or maybe the people yelling unsavory things are just bad people, plain and simple.  Don't blame the booze, blame the person--all the booze does is remove whatever thin veneers cover the asshole inside.


October 30th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

"All during the time I was telling my friend how embarrassing it was to have her on our side. And then I started hearing laughter from the surrounding crowd and encouragement of that behavior. Is this really what goes on in the stands? Is this really the type of people we attract???"

It would actually be sort of interesting if a former player from several schools were to do what this player did and then have them report back on what they observed in their own home stadiums from where they sat. That would be a very sobering study in the decline of manners and civility, I imagine, but a fascinating look into fan behavior in different parts of Division I. 


October 30th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

As a former player, I find the slavery thing to be nonsense. I always felt than I was extraordinarily lucky to play at Michigan and have my education paid for me. I honestly didn't know anyone who felt as this guy feels. There might be something to be said for Michigan Men or whatever.


October 30th, 2013 at 2:22 PM ^

"I always felt than I was extraordinarily lucky to play at Michigan and have my education paid for me."

Bravo ... that's the admirable way to put it.

I went back and re-read the linked article in the OP to get the context of the "slave" reference.  My sense is it was written as slightly overheated rhetoric ... as a way to lash back at the unruly fans who don't understand or appreciate the effort that goes into playing the game at the level Oregon plays it.

Or at least that how I read it.  If it was truly meant to imply he and his teammates were little more than slaves to the football machine ... then I concur with you: "nonsense."


October 30th, 2013 at 4:28 PM ^

When people brush off "The Michigan Difference."  Are there other programs that probably engender the same feelings? Sure.  Are there exceptions and people who really didn't have a good time playing for Michigan football? Undoubtably.  But I think any poll would show the majority of guys who played for Michigan feel a lot different about their experience than guys who played at a University that didn't care at all about academics, was just a football factory, and only interested in winning. Both were a part of something; maybe both something successful. But you hope someone from Michigan feels they were part of a family, and some of the best times of their life were the 3-5 years they played for Michigan.


October 30th, 2013 at 2:00 PM ^

First time caller, long time listener. Was behind even a more obnoxious fan at a high school JV game. He wasn't cussing but loudly criticizing the coach. I was embarrassed for him. Re Walmart wolverine fans...proud to say i am one, was a teenager during the 10 year war. Could not sleep Before " the game". So maybe i am nuts, but even though i now live in Texas, my son graduated from bama ( he has been to 3 national championships), my girl is a senior at texas a&m and my oldest is working on her phd at georgia tech, my heart will always belong to the Wolverines. Obtw I'm just a Ferris State college grad like some transfer lb


October 30th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

I've heard the same kind of thing at Michigan games. Sometimes the people you sit near are cool, and sometimes they're idiots. I think that's what happens when you get a random 109,000 people together.

M Fanfare

October 30th, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

Yeah, I've sat near people who are just as awful at Michigan games, most notably the 2011 ND game.

Though my personal favorite was the guy at the Minnesota game this year loudly bitching about the team not throwing the ball ("what the hell are the offensive coaches thinking???") in the 4th quarter up 35-13 and trying to run out the clock.


October 30th, 2013 at 10:04 PM ^

Ok guys its been over 30 years since I caught a game at the big house is this the type of trash talk you all see, expletives all over etc. My memories don't go there. As a comparison my now 19 year old son and I are on our 11th year of season ticket holders at the Rose Bowl for UCLA football (got to have that up front college experience but not at the coliseum for USC football). We have sat all over including end zone now on the 30 yd line 1st row near the alumni section. I've heard tons of smack and trash but only very explicit expletives outbursts on two separate times from separately drunk asian girl college students who were both promptly removed by security staff. There is no beer in the stadium and tail gating while sometimes a bit loud seems mostly in good fun even when the Trojan rowdies show up. There was a very notable assault in the parking area at a USC vs Ucla game a few years ago but I've not seen anything of much not within the stadium. Security was ramped up after that. Could it be that with the stadium a bit away from campus and it being Taxifornia (the more common name for California these days) and pretty calm Pasadena we have a clearly more subdued crowd. Or could it be differences in the security presence. Get out of line in the Rose Bowl in any way and they will politely ask you to calm down and if not so you will be ejected and have a nice meeting with the Pasadena PD. Get ejected and you will be banned from the stadium.


October 30th, 2013 at 10:29 PM ^

if youre gonna permanently scar your obese body with UM related ink you should be able to say or do whatever you want re UM.  re: oregon dudes article - agree, the spartacus comment is ignorant.  people, particularly politicians, throw around the term slavery and similar language way too casually and its insane.  race baiting nonsense aside, i agree with much of his comments.  you never know whos sitting around you and people can be rude at games, especially when lubed up.  completely different animal when commenting on a blog while engaged in some debate vs yelling insults or disparaging comments at some kid from the stands.  at my college games my mother used to sit next to our star rb's mother and some people just hurled awful comments at this kid and were oblivious his family was easily within earshot - i heard some pretty bad stories after games  (thank god i was a special teams warrior and random fans didnt knwo my name or care).  sure certain things are to be expected when you accept a DI scholarship and play big games and you know it going in but never expect home fans to scream like that.  i have no problem typing on this blog that so and so is not very athletic and , while still a real nice kid, simply does not have the brightest future on the field at this level...but theres a difference bw honesty / realistic expectations and disparaging comments in public


October 31st, 2013 at 12:36 AM ^

It is tough to compare fanbases' behavior when there are crappy fans everywhere. But I honestly think that UM has respectful fans, relative to the others I know. When I left A2 for Texas to go to college, I was horrified at the hatred and lack of support from the Texas fan base toward their own players.