It’s a tale as old as time. Some out-of-town athlete, in a roundabout way, tells reporters that Philly sports fans are assholes, usually while also referencing a tired cliché. Then, said Philly sports fans and local media get all upset about unfair mischaracterizations. Snowballs at Santa, Duracells at J.D. Drew, and jail cells at The Vet. “It’s, just like, so unfair. Every team has a few bad fans.” Guys like me will run to our blogs and pound the key strokes with purpose as we try to convince outsiders that we’re just misunderstood.
The latest example of this nonsense comes from Redskins running back Chris Thompson, who went on ESPN 980 in Washington and explained to host Bram Weinstein that his family won’t be in attendance for this Monday’s pivotal NFC East showdown because, well, because we’re mean. (You can listen to the full spot below.)
“I heard that’s the one stadium you keep your family from going to. I said, ‘Absolutely not, you’re going to have to wait until Dallas comes around.’ Because my stepdad, he’s a big guy. And if he starts fighting, it’ll be real bad out there. I was told that right away my rookie year: ‘Keep your family away.’”
Thompson, specifically, referenced a pregame incident at Lincoln Financial Field during his rookie year.
“So two years ago, you see a lot of the players pre-game when we run out of the tunnel, guys just go pray or whatever in the end zone,” Thompson said. “I went and prayed in the end zone, and one of the [fans] told me, he was like, ‘God’s not going to help you today.’ And I was like oh, shoot. I heard it while I was praying. I was like dang. All right, that’s a little harsh.”
Shoot. Dang. Golly, Chris. You’re right. That’s SO harsh.
Typically, one would expect me to go on a rant filled with righteous indignation over the national misperception of this fan base in an attempt to change the stigma associated with this area’s sports fan. Nope. I don’t have it in me to blowback against a false narrative so firmly entrenched in others’ minds that it cannot possibly ever be rewritten. Realistically, what can you do? Go on Twitter and bark, “Fuck Chris Thompson? Fuck Colin Cowherd?” Nah. Instead, everybody out there should be dogs about it. Just own this bullshit story and keep doing exactly what you do. Continue to be intense, loud, and loyal. Continue to show support for teams that asked for patience and understanding as they tore apart rosters in long and arduous rebuilds. But, most importantly, let people who have no fucking clue what they’re talking about continue to think whatever the hell they want about the fans in this city. Fuck them. Seriously. I’ll wait while you do…
Glad you’re back. Anyway, Philly sports fans shouldn’t need the approval of players like Chris Thompson, or guys like Colin Cowherd to validate their legitimacy as a first-class fan base. You need not be that insecure. You’re just fine.
Personally, I like that the fans are in Chris Thompson’s head. I like that he senses the hostility. That he doesn’t trust them. Be uncomfortable. Frankly, I hope it’s an antagonistic crowd that occupies the 69,176 seats at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. Picture this. Monday night. It’s somewhere in the middle of the third quarter. Chris Thompson can’t hear himself think as he looks around a raucous stadium. The fans continue to give Thompson and his teammates hell. He looks up at the scoreboard and sees “31-0,” and suddenly it hits him—that Eagles fan from his rookie season turned out to be right. God isn’t going to help him this night.