NFL Reviewing Green Bay Packer Nick Collins’ Fight With A Fan
Picture this. You’re out on a football field, getting paid to play the game you love. However, things aren’t going so well for your team. You get more penalties than the team has earned in two decades and, on top of all that, you lose the game. As you exit the field while thinking about what has to change between this game and the next, a crazed fan from the stands berates you with racial slurs and then does the unthinkable by spitting on you.
What would you do in that situation?
If you’re Nick Collins of the Green Bay Packers, your reaction might go a little something like this…
As you can see (despite amateur camerawork filming a television set), Collins apologized and has said he is a professional and should have acted as such even in extreme circumstances like this one.
“This is a situation that I could have walked away from but, you know, heat of the moment,” Collins said. “Things happen. Both sides (were) out of line.”
He later went on to say the following:
“You know, it’s going to happen. I’m probably not the only guy that’s been in that situation before. It happens. I’m a professional. I’ve got to be a bigger person and keep walking.”
Evidently, the NFL agrees with him wholeheartedly as investigations of the situation are still ongoing, and Collins may well end up paying a fine.
Whether he’s fined or not, Collins has his entire team behind him on this one. The fact of the matter is, he’s a person and people have limits and lines that should not be crossed. If Collins should be punished, the fan should be punished (banned for a certain period of time, especially if he’s a season ticket holder) as well. If not, we’ll have people shouting all types of incendiary things at athletes who are much bigger and stronger than them—it could turn out pretty ugly for absolutely everyone involved.
I do a lot of preaching on this blog about self-control, respect, and honor. However, there are things that could be said to me (such as the word used in this incident) which would most likely cause me to drop the offender and tell Jesus I did it.
While Nick Collins threw a mouthpiece, I might be tempted to do something like this.
Both players and fans alike have to take on the (extremely light) burden of sportsmanship. Be loyal to one’s team, but not at the expense of one’s own dignity or another person’s feelings. While violence is not the answer to unsportsmanlike situations, ignorant individuals certainly have a way of making it look like the more attractive option.
Sidenote: While there’s been controversy over the past few days regarding LeBron James saying race may have played a role in the backlash he faced this summer, we may need to bury the hatchet and have more serious conversations with ourselves and others about race in the context of the sports world.
Athletes have emotions, bad days, pent-up anger and aggression just like everyone else. Professional sports fans and administrators would do well to keep this in mind before they act.