The Houston Texans fans and Matt Schaub have had an ugly 2013 season so far. Sunday afternoon it got a little uglier after Schaub went down late in the third quarter of the Texans’ 38-13 loss to the Rams with an ankle injury and fans were heard cheering while the quarterback was still down on the ground. Immediately following the game Texans players expressed their anger and frustrations over the fans behavior. Is this acceptable NFL fan behavior to boo injuries?
It’s not a new occurrence, by any means, for fans to cheer for the brutality of the sport. The NFL is by leaps and bounds the most popular sport in the country in part because the fans love the violent nature of the game. Add that and the fact that alcohol is by far the largest money maker of the concession stands in stadiums and you have a potential mob mentality, ready to break out at any moment. Is it wrong for fans to cheer players’ injuries? Of course it is. It’s tacky, distasteful and ignorant. I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world, but it’s pretty bad to cheer a man lying on the ground in pain. Do all fans need to be lectured for the actions of a few idiots? No.
First off, no matter how badly Matt Schaub has been playing so far he doesn’t deserve to be booed when injured, that’s for certain. The reports coming out of Reliant Stadium were that the entire crowd wasn’t booing, just enough to be heard. Part of the quotes distributed by the team included LT Duane Brown, who took the time to thank the fans who weren’t booing Schaub’s injury.
“It’s disgusting. I don’t want to address them first; I want to address the fans that were there until the end cheering us on into the tunnel. We appreciate you loyal fans and the fans that stick by us. For the fans that cheered when he got hurt, that’s disgusting. You can feel how you want about him as a player, but this is his livelihood and how he provides for his family. When a man goes down and he is not able to get up, you don’t know what is wrong with him at that point; that could be the last play of his career and for you to applaud that – I have no words for that.” – Duane Brown
I appreciate Brown’s quote most of all the quotes coming from Texans players following that incident. He took the opportunity to thank and appreciate the fans who didn’t boo first. He acknowledged that it wasn’t the entire stadium and that there are fans that are still loyal and supportive no matter how crappy all the Texans have played so far this season, not just Schaub. Texans fans were treated to instant karma for cheering Schaub’s exit in favor of his replacement T.J. Yates when Yates threw a pick 6 of his own just minutes later.
I don’t think all NFL fans are as tacky and disgusting as the ones who cheered Schaub’s injury. I’d even go out on a limb to say that it could be that the majority of those fans who cheered did it just because they were drunk in the stadium and heard cheers and thought it was time to cheer rather than they were viciously rooting for the injury of a fellow human being. It was most likely a few idiots who started cheering and the rest joined suit because, that’s what you do in a stadium, one person cheers and then the rest join in. I don’t think this incident is an indictment on our society as you would be led to believe Monday if you listen to enough sports talk radio. I think it’s kind of funny to hear players who would easily defend a teammate involved in a domestic violence incident or a DUI act as if fans’ booing an injured player is the worst thing they’ve ever heard of.