It’s been an interesting week for the top NBC Sports Philadelphia personalities.
Last week, Jim Salisbury got crushed for submitting a fugazi MVP ballot. He had Juan Soto 7th! Absolutely ridiculous. There is no explaining that away. Crossing Broad dutifully lambasted the ballot, but we weren’t the only ones. Jim, a fantastic and respected reporter, got hammered nationally as well, and wrote a column explaining why he voted the way he did.
Fast forward to Sunday evening, and Michael Barkann took aim at fans who left the Eagles game early:
— Michael Barkann (@MBarkannNBCS) November 21, 2021
This is a take. Is there validity to it? Or is it Cataldi-esque fake outrage?
Normally when you talk about fans leaving early, the conversation centers around a comeback win, or a late rally, and the people getting criticized are folks who thought the game was over and headed out to the parking lot early. They get ripped for bailing on their team and not seeing it out until the end.
That criticism is typically valid. You don’t want to be the person who leaves when the Eagles are down 14 points in the fourth quarter, and then they tie it up and force overtime while you’re pulling onto the 76 West ramp. You don’t want to be the fan who quit and gave up.
In this case, Barkann was criticizing people for leaving a WIN early, which is much different. His tweet was published at 3:53 p.m., I think when the Saints were making things interesting. We believe the Birds had it wrapped up, despite the late push, and so people decided to take off early, beat traffic, and/or maybe they had to get home for a family obligation, etc.
Barkann responded to a fan, saying this:
It’s an accurate take. Watch this every home game. Hundreds of fans leaving way before the game is decided. Give those tickets to fans who appreciate what they’re watching and love their team so much they want to watch them play till the clock hits :00.
— Michael Barkann (@MBarkannNBCS) November 22, 2021
The main thing is this:
Getting out of the sports complex SUCKS. You are sitting in your car for 30 minutes minimum. Some folks are stuck there for 45 to an hour if everybody files out at the same time. Nobody wants to be riding the brake for that amount of time, just to pull into your driveway by 6:30 p.m. It’s pretty brutal, and most media members don’t have a full grasp of this because we’re first in and last out. We’re not stuck in traffic with the fans. In Barkann’s case, he’s across the street in a climate-controlled studio, so the take comes off as somewhat out of touch because of those unique circumstances. It gives off slight vibes of royalty looking down upon the plebeians. (edit – I should add that since the public has such a low opinion of the media these days, that saying stuff like this feels extra incendiary in 2021, like we’re not doing ourselves any favors)
My opinion is this, and I think Crossing Broad staffers are in agreement:
The customer is always right. They paid for the tickets, so they can stay as long as they want. They can leave at 2 p.m. if they choose to. Gatekeeping proper fandom is a little weak, and we’re all guilty of it. Every media outlet does this to some extent, i.e. telling folks how to feel about Dallas week or blah blah. “You’re not a true fan unless ______.” Who gives a shit? We could all probably benefit from taking a back seat and letting the fans be fans.