By Parmida Schahhosseini
Less than 48 hours before the 4-1 thrashing of Real Madrid, it was announced that Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze would join rival team Bayern München. Immediately, fans began to call him Judas and burn his jerseys.
This isn’t the first time a big betrayal has occurred in the sports world. For example, in 2010 LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat after promising the fans that he wouldn’t leave until he brought the city a championship. Former quarterback Brett Favre also betrayed the Green Bay Packers by signing with a division foe, the Minnesota Vikings.
For most fans, sports teams are dear to their hearts, so it is personal when a prominent player of a team leaves.
For example, when outfielder Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers to sign with the Los Angeles Angels during Major League Baseball’s free agency, many fans called him a backstabber among other derogatory names.
Fans will go all-out in support of their teams. They will paint their faces, wear outrageous costumes and argue with random strangers. Fandom makes people do crazy things.
It comes with the territory. However, how much passion is too much?
Shortly after the news of Götze’s transfer, his younger brother got bullied to the point that he had to leave school.
He received threats and feared for his safety. His family was threatened when their home got sprayed with various substances.
Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp tried to calm the public down. On a verge of a huge semi-final match against Real Madrid, he told the public to come and support the team despite the reports.
As fans, our main responsibility is to support our teams, and despite how sentimental we are toward a particular team, we have to remember that it’s only a game. There are far more important things in life to worry about. Yes, it’s heartbreaking and it stings, but fans should just support the organization and move on.
There should be no reason for a fan to inflict harm on the players or their families. Hamilton said his wife had to call security because the fans were harassing the family during a road game against the Rangers.
Many thought that Hamilton overreacted and that he was whining, but fans do have a bad habit of being outrageous at times.
However, there is another dynamic to this issue. Many fans believe that since they display loyalty not only to the organization, but also to the players within that organization, they deserve the same decency.
When fans are loyal to certain players, they expect the same loyalty back. It becomes personal when that player leaves because the player is not only betraying the organization, but its fans as well.
With the cost of jerseys, tickets and other memorabilia, it isn’t cheap to be fan, especially when the player is a hot commodity.
With such talent and youth, many fans hope that the specific player stays for a long period of time and becomes the face of the franchise.
For most people, sports are an outlet to relieve people of the daily stresses that go on in life. Sports can bring us together and tear us apart, but fans need to understand that there are limits.
There is never an excuse to cause harm because if we were in a position to accept more money or to go to a winning team, we would in a heartbeat.