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Players should not try to silence fans

Solomon WilliamsApparently in today’s sports world it takes higher education to voice an opinion about the performance of your favorite team.

Why didn’t anyone inform me this was rocket science? When passionate fans are watching their teams make head-scratching decisions, it feels like the lines quickly become blurred between simply going for it on fourth down and hitting the red button in the White House. No fan wants to watch their team make poor decisions and cost the team a win. And when those game-wrecking play calls result in more losses, teams and players hear it from fans and the media. In 2015, we’ve seen highlights of multi-million dollar heads go brain dead on the biggest stages.

Remember Seattle deciding to throw the ball from three yards out? They watched the Patriots intercept their Super Bowl championship trophy by not giving the ball to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch. In week one of the NFL season, the St. Louis Rams stuffed Beast Mode on a fourth down run by the Seahawks, helping jumpstart an 0-2 start by Seattle.

The predictable run call sparked social media criticism from Lynch’s mother, Delisa Lynch. Mama “Beast Mode” took to Facebook to call for the firing of the Seahawks offensive coordinator, saying he is the worst play caller ever while referencing the Super Bowl blunder. Lynch’s mother said she was only venting as a football fan. She should have that right. Mama Lynch is not the first and won’t be the last fan to express frustration with a team.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars suffered a 20-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers, many of their fans griped over the offensive play calling. It’s hard to say they didn’t have a point after watching their team only put up nine points. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, insisted fans need to stay in their place, calling it the equivalent to a kindergartner criticizing a college kid.

It doesn’t take a degree in clock management to know the New York Giants had no business stopping the clock when the Cowboys were faced with 98 yards to drive and no timeouts.

This is not advocating for the critiquing of everyone while they perform their jobs. It takes an abundant amount of hours spent with any skill to be considered an informed individual, let alone expert. But it’s never okay in any industry for obvious details to be overlooked. It doesn’t take a mechanic to let you know your car needs gas. For athletes to pretend as if devoted fans cannot recognize blatant mistakes when they are right before their eyes is unrealistic and, in fact, insulting.

Fans who help sustain $100 million payrolls should not keep their mouths shut. There are only eight home games in the NFL season. Season ticket holders who hand out dollars by the thousands to be in attendance have every right to voice displeasure. Fans are the backbone of a city’s sports franchise. The attempt to muzzle loyal supporters is foolish. Players should be happy the people paying their salaries still have enough interest to boo poor performances. In many businesses, the customer is always right. It might not be the rule in sports, but the right to boo, complain or be disgruntled has always been the exception. We should keep it that way.

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