May 2, 2007

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe hopped on his VERY high horse today to slam both the Boston sports teams and their fans for their supposed “hypocrisy” by choosing to turn a blind eye to the New England Patriots’ willingness to add to their roster two players with checkered reputations – Miami safety Brandon Meriweather and Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver Randy Moss. For some reason, Shaughnessy seems surprised that Pats fans would actually be excited about these additions, and can only help but wonder how the Boston fans would react were other players the fans currently love to hate to put on Boston uniforms:

Boston.com conducted one of those fan-reaction polls yesterday. The question posed was “Do you like the Randy Moss deal?” and 86.6 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative (as of last night). E-mailers to this address emphatically came down in favor of Moss and the trade. The ratio was about 19-1. I’d share some of the more colorful responses, but this is a family newspaper.

…Boston baseball fans will stand up and boo Barry Bonds when the Giants come here in mid-June. But if Barry had signed with Boston last winter, Armond LaMontagne would be carving a Barry statue right now. We’d be wondering if Barry might launch one into the Ted Williams seat in right. We’d be reading Barry’s blog, 755homers.com.

Terrell Owens? Bring him on. Just give him the damn rock. No way he’s going to try any of his antics in a locker room populated by Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, and Tedy Bruschi. T.O. would be the last guy the Patriots would ever bring on board. With the possible exception of Randy Moss.

How long would it take for Sox fans to embrace Alex Rodriguez if he brought his 800-homer potential to Fenway? Think anybody’d be talking about slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove?

Ron Artest? Put a Celtic uniform on him and see what happens. Ron would be The Man around here. Protecting all of us at courtside.

It goes on and on. Bill Laimbeer and Ulf Samuelsson would have been Causeway Street gods if they finished their careers in Boston. Remember how we suddenly loved Jose Canseco when he first came to the Red Sox? How much we all wanted the Celtics to bring Allen Iverson to town?

And so on. If I’m reading this right, the point Shaughnessy is attempting to make here is that Boston fans are hypocrites, that their ‘hate’ for opposing ‘villains’ on other teams is really a sham, that they can talk all they want about this guy and that guy being horrible for doing this or doing that, but it would all go out the window if they were ever to put on a hometown uniform.

Well, by and large, Shaughnessy’s probably correct. And all I can say is, welcome to the real world of being a sports fan, Dan. Where ya been all these years?

Although I don’t usually do these kinds of things often, Shaughnessy’s column rankled me enough to the point where I felt the need to personally respond. And here’s the e-mail I sent him:

Dear Dan –
Your column is once again misguided. You more than anyone else should understand that no one is perfect, and that those with glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. What do you want the fan base to do – stop attending games? Stop following their favorite teams? It’s just sports, and it’s just fans being fans, seeking a distraction from all the crap going on in the world and around them. Can you not understand that? Sports teams make decisions that will help them win championships. Believe me, if they didn’t, you’d be the first one complaining if the Pats and Sox didn’t go after these kinds of players, accusing them of being cheap and taking the fans’ loyalty for granted.

It’s a shame someone with all the talent and blessings you’ve been given by God in this life has to always look for the worst in everything. Sports are supposed to be a diversion, to bring people pleasure. All you do is your best to take the fun out of everything. I’m glad I don‘t walk in your shoes.
Sincerely,
Doug Richard

The problem with those like Shaughnessy is that they always seem to want to stir the pot for stirring’s sake and feel the need to be controversial and combative, as if, were they to simply write as a fan – and simply be honest about it – that their reputation will somehow suffer. The other problem with Shaughnessy is that, as a card-carrying member of one of the most liberal newspapers in the U.S., he suffers from the same disease most liberals do – that is, they’re all for forgiveness (consider Bill Clinton’s indiscretions) and tolerance, except when it serves their own selfish purposes. Perhaps the “bad boy” athletes Shaughnessy puts forth as examples of poor behavior have either mistreated or slighted him personally, but they’ve done nothing to Boston’s fans not to deserve their support and enthusiasm for the upcoming season. And unless or until they do, why not simply support them and enjoy looking forward to seeing what they can do for their teams, as any good fan would do?

Look, sports is sports, life is life. Is Randy Moss a rotten person? Who knows? But it’s unfortunate when sanctimonious limousine liberals like Dan Shaughnessy are so quick to point out the flaws and failures in others. One can only wonder how they’d react were the shoe to be on the other foot. So you’ll excuse me, Dan, when I say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Just shut up; with all the crap going on in the world (and in sports, for that matter), why not allow the fans a little enjoyment and excitement. Isn’t that, after all, what being a fan is supposed to be all about?

Don’t worry, Dan, we’re sure that if Moss or Meriweather make a misstep in their careers as Patriots, you’ll be the first to tell us.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:21 | Comments (0)
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