Unruly Philadelphia fans a disgrace

Philadelphia, the city that used to be the city of “brotherly love,” once again transformed itself back into the city of “brotherly loathe.”
The hated Cowboys were in town to play the putrid Eagles on Sunday. Philadelphia fans were expecting a shabby performance.
And like their expectations, the fans came through with a shabby performance of their own.
Michael Irvin caught a pass from Troy Aikman and had his head whacked against the artificial turf. He remained motionless for several minutes.
The fans, as they have in Philly for so many years, started their own game. They jeered, hooted and hollered. When the stretcher finally came onto the field, Philly erupted in a chorus of boos. They booed even louder when Deion Sanders gathered his teammates for a prayer.
What better way to express yourself than cheering on a potential broken neck?
These are the same fans that threw batteries at J.D. Drew and tossed racial slurs at Dick Allen.
One Philadelphia caller on a local call-in show said: “The only thing that would have made me happier is if it would have been a coffin, not a stretcher, coming out.”
Enough said.
Incredibly asinine fans aren’t the only ones so easily and frequently capable of playing themselves as fools to help put their team and city to shame. Trash-talking inside and outside the lines is the biggest craze, from the inner-city junior high racquetball courts to the NBA.
Trash-talking is generally a result of two things: a desperate attempt by a player to try and overcompensate for their lack of production or class, or as a means of flaunting and self-gratitude for making a play.
We’re happy for them, but once upon a time athletes didn’t have to babble on endlessly about some cornerback’s mother wearing a poodle skirt or “not bringin’ that round here no more.”
That’s great, we’re still happy for you — next time shut up and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.
There’s a variety of reasons for the outbreak of trash-talk.
Theory one: Trash-talking is just a part of the game. It adds character and is a trademark for identifying players.
Bull. If you strip away their little dances and shows after each time they make a tackle or a dunk, they’re still the same player. Merton Hanks is still an average cornerback, even when he’s doing his job: making a tackle.
“They see it on TV in the NFL and the NBA,” Independence High School Football Coach Kip Kane told the Columbus Dispatch last week. “Players in those sports have made it an art form to be seen. Kids today think they have to put on a show, hot-dog and run their mouths to be successful.”
What’s even more despicable is when athletes try putting on a verbal or Las Vegas show for the weakest of achievements.
One of the greatest things about Barry Sanders — when he was playing — was that no matter how long or spectacular the run, the first thing he did when he got up was give the ball back to the referee.
Every single time, no exceptions.
Win or lose.
After every tackle, 10-yard run, dunk, interception and blocked shot, someone is on cue thumping the chest, doing a dance or shaking fingers, all the while spewing out some obscenities and commenting on the defender’s mother or usage of combat boots.
“You should never be talking smack if you’re losing,” Westerville South High School running back Branden Joe said. “But that’s just common sense.”
Actually it’s common sense not to talk smack even if you’re winning. You’re already winning the game, what’s the point babbling all game about it? It’s a waste of energy for something everyone already knows. Talking crap doesn’t help you win any more.
Theory two: Trash talking is a great way to motivate players.
That is a crock, as well. Does Florida vs. Florida State need trash talk and berating of each other during the course of the week to get “mentally” prepared to play? How about the Lakers-Celtics in the ’80s? No question it was the pregame speeches and gibberish on the court that decided who won.
Unless you’re wearing a couple of championship rings or your name is Muhammed Ali, put a sock in it. And, if you’re an unruly fan, your brethren are in Philadelphia. If you just made a tackle, congratulations, we’re happy for you.
Now shut up and worry about the next play. We shouldn’t need an audio transcription to know what you did: your job.
Real athletes don’t taunt.

Mark Heller covers soccer and welcomes comments at [email protected]