Adewale Ogunleye was asked about recent comments he made on his blog this week about fans that booed the Bears during Sunday’s 17-14 victory over the defending champions Pittsburgh Steelers. In his blog entry, he wrote:
Speaking of home, I can’t believe the fans that booed us. I know I am talking to a select few but please tell those fans to stay home. How can we have home field advantage if the other team feels the disbelief from the crowd. Teams sense that and feed off it.
Because those comments caused a minor stir, Ogunleye was forced to clarify his remarks.
Those remarks didn’t bother me one bit. The clarification, on the other hand, did.
If fans have the right to boo their own team, players have the right to voice their opinions, too. And Ogunleye shouldn’t have to apologize, retract, modify, or clarify those remarks to appease those he might have offended.
When a fan purchases a ticket to a game, he has the right to boo to his heart’s content. This is a fact of life and cannot be disputed.
What can be argued, however, is the validity and impact of said booing. I often scoffed — and sometimes got angry — with fans who booed Rex Grossman. Not because I was always pleased with Grossman’s production as a Bear — because believe me, I wasn’t. But because booing your own team has exactly zero upside. Sure, it may make you feel better and you may get some kind of therapeutic benefit from it. If that happens to be true, then you have my support to be unsupportive of your team.
But, if you want voice your displeasure at a certain player or at Jerry Angelo or Lovie Smith, do it on the radio, on a blog, or some other means of conveyance. Don’t do it at the stadium when your team needs your support against one of the best teams in the league — or any team for that matter.
Ogunleye is right, though. Opposing teams that come into Soldier Field will feed off the negative vibes toward the Bears. They can gain momentum that way. Thus, why would you want to pay money to go to a game just to boo your team and help the opponent?
You have every right to do so if you wish, though.