Which came first: The idiot Philly fan or the idiot journalist?

June 15, 2010 by Zaki  
Filed under Analysis & Opinions

Philly fan bashing has become a well-televised national pastime and we have both the idiot fans who keep dancing the jig and the equally idiotic members of the media who keep pushing the anti-Philly sentiment to thank for it.

I keep hearing that Philly fans embrace their awful reputation and wear it like a badge, but one thing I’ve noticed is that quite a few journalists and TV personalities embrace their anti-Philly slant and wear it loud and proud just like the fans they despise so much. As far as I know, Rick Reilly hasn’t projectile vomited on anyone, but his running schtick of ‘Philly fans suck’ has done just as much to feed the flame of objectionable behavior down on Broad Street as anyone that has ever booed an athlete (on either side) or run onto the field to get tasered.

Reilly and company are the instigators. The idiot journalists.

They’re a step above YouTube commenters that hide behind a computer screen trying to start a fight because that’s what sells. So, how is that any different than a fan that starts a fight in the upper deck because he’s had too much to drink?

I would call the Rick Reilly’s and the Colin Cowherd’s of the world ‘thugs’, but that would imply that they’re intimidating or garner respect on some level. They’re more like the idiot, attention-whore fans they continue to bring up at every opportunity. Calling out Philly fans is what they’re expected to do to stay relevant, so that’s what they do — the same way idiot Philly fans are expected to act like idiots, so that’s what they continue to do.

Journalists have been in the business of stirring the pot since we started paying for our news, so sensationalizing what goes on in South Philly isn’t really a surprise to me. The interesting part, to me, is that everyone just assumes that this whole situation is just because there’s something in the water supply in the Tri-State area that makes Philly fans more brash and out-of-control than the rest of us. While it’s entirely possible that we just have more nut-jobs than the rest of the country, I just think it’s more probable at this point that this whole situation was bred and continually fanned by irresponsible members of our trusted media and the fans of this area continue to respond in kind.

It’s the chicken and the egg.

You could say it has to start with the idiot fan in order for the idiot journalist to write about it, but there are idiot fans everywhere. With respect to this particular fire in Philly, I think it actually started with the idiot journalist. It’s like showing the guy running onto the field on national television: You’re just inviting the next knucklehead to do the same since you’ve made a production out of it.

Idiot members of the media are constantly throwing jabs out there about how awful Philly fans are compared to the rest of the country and I agree to some extent (our idiots are worse than other towns’ idiots), but I’m saying that the idiot journalist came first to pick this fight. Philly fans didn’t “throw snowballs at Santa.” Those fans were out of line in throwing snowballs, but they at least did so because the of a failed halftime show where the Eagles pulled a 20-year-old man from the stands to replace the “real Santa”, who was a no-show.

“He was the worst-looking Santa I’d ever seen,” said Jim Gallagher, PR director for the Eagles at the time. “Bad suit, scraggly beard. I’m not sure if he was drunk, but he appeared to be.”

From then on, it was reported as ‘fans threw snowballs at Santa’ and while I won’t go as far as to say that Howard Cosell is an idiot, I think it was irresponsible of him to show the make-shift Santa getting pelted with snowballs as the only highlight of the Eagles’ loss to the Vikings that day in 1968.

This discussion is old, and frankly I’d rather not have to bring this up again, but something has to be said of the role of the cowardly journalists that continue to bash this town’s fans, even in jest, which is just as irresponsible as the behavior as the fans they’re trying to demean and discourage. People are just waiting for the next Philly fan to run onto the field or projectile-vomit and these journalists are just waiting to cover it, make jokes about it and sensationalize it so they can sell their failing papers or fill air time on TV. Meanwhile, that only makes the idiots want to act out more. It’s what they do. They’re idiots. They take the bait the idiot journalists spit out and do more idiotic stuff. I happen to think the media shares some responsibility to stop baiting the hook. Of course, that’ll never happen, because there’s no money in that.