An Open Letter To A Former Oregon Football Player

The news was abuzz a little while ago with the story of a former University of Oregon Duck football player who went to the UCLA-Oregon game in Eugene and was disgusted by the things he heard fans say.  He wrote an open letter to Oregon football fans.  He didn’t specify that the letter was directed only to the people he encountered in the stands, or even just the ones in the stadium itself.  He finished his letter by telling the fans to go “F” themselves.  The letter was a big hit for news merchants and the internet since everyone loves a scandal.  On behalf of at least one Oregon football fan, I’d like to submit the following rebuttal:

There's a lot more to Oregon than just the U of O, and there's a lot more to the U of O than just football players and fans.  (Image from Wikimedia dot org)
For the record, there’s a lot more to the U of O than just football players and fans, and there’s a lot more to Oregon than just the U of O. (Image of Wizard Island in Crater Lake from Wikimedia dot org)

Dear Former Oregon Ducks Football Player,

As a University of Oregon alumnus and big fan of the team, I was sorry to read that your experience as a spectator in Autzen stadium was not as pleasant as you might have hoped.  You seemed genuinely surprised that some of the roughly 60,000 people sitting around you didn’t have a grasp of the nuances of the game.  As if that weren’t bad enough, some of them seemed to be far from supportive of your former teammates.  I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that as a former player, you’ve spent far more time on the field of play than in the stands.

You mentioned that you had a few beverages before the game.  You might not have noticed, but I’m willing to wager that some of the folks you encountered that day might have had quite a few more than a few.  As if adding alcohol to people wasn’t bad enough, there’s a good chance that some of those fans knew next to nothing about the game even before they started drinking.  You might not have noticed the buffoon factor in stadium crowds before, since you were likely busy playing and focusing on the action on the field.  News flash; lots of people go to football games but know little about the sport and lots of other people go to games to drink and have fun, and maybe watch some football.

As anyone from a major metropolitan area can tell you, if you put 55 or 60 thousand people in a small area, you'll quickly find a few assholes.  (Image from bleacherreport dot com)
As anyone from a major metropolitan area can tell you, if you pack 55 or 60 thousand people in a relatively small venue, you’ll quickly find a few assholes. Just to clarify, I am not insinuating that anyone in this photo is an asshole, except maybe that one guy right there.  (Image from bleacherreport dot com)

You also wrote that you felt like a foot soldier in Spartacus.  That like slaves, you and your team mates were fed, housed, trained and given nothing more.  Don’t slam Oregon fans for that, I’m pretty sure the NCAA is in charge of what you’re allowed to get reimbursement-wise.  For the record, a quick internet search estimated the cost for an out-of-state student to attend the University of Oregon for one academic year is a little bit over $44,000 (I saw only 26 players from Oregon on this year’s roster of 120 players).  That number includes tuition, books, meals and housing .  For four years, that adds up to $176,000 ($220,000 for five year red shirt players).  I realize that to NFL players, $176,000 is chump change, but to the average pair of parents sending their kid to college, it’s a lot of cabbage.  I’m sorry you would have liked more than that for your sacrifice and hard work, but I’m guessing your parents were pretty happy about avoiding having to get a second mortgage on their house to send you to school.

On the subject of NFL players, LeGarrette Blount is playing for the New England Patriots these days.  He is best remembered for sucker punching an admittedly mouthy Boise State player in the Oregon season opener a few years ago.  Chip Kelly benched him until the Rose Bowl if I remember correctly, but the damage was done.  Another NFL player, former Duck John Boyett, lost his spot a few months ago on the Colts roster after a public intoxication, disorderly conduct arrest – alcohol rears its ugly head again.  He reportedly told the police, “You can’t arrest me, I’m a Colts player”.  To the best of my knowledge, Jeremiah Masoli never made it to the NFL.  He was the Duck’s starting quarterback before being kicked off the team, after embarrassing us all by breaking into a frat house and stealing a laptop.  The biggest sports/non-sports story these days is the Miami Dolphins letting go of an offensive lineman named Incognito who sounds like a truly special brand of asshole.  Incognito actually managed to bully a guy who is damn near as big as he is.  We fans can take solace that he was technically an Oregon Duck for a week before the coaching staff wised up and dumped him.

Many Oregon fans are embarrassed when the team we root for is associated with knuckleheads – I know I am.  Yet despite my shame, I didn’t stop watching the games on TV, nor did I burn any of my Oregon sweatshirts with the Nike swooshes.  I remained a loyal fan to my team, because as anyone would admit, it’s not fair to sully the whole program because of the poor behavioral choices of a few dopes…

Just as it’s unfair to trash an entire population of fans because you ran into some jackasses in a stadium.

Please don’t write a rebuttal to this email.  There’s a big game coming up and I’d like to focus on the action on the field.

I'm an Oregon fan, whether they win or lose.  I won't let the foolish actions of a few players, former players or fans get in the way of my loyalty.  (Image from helmetgame dot com)
I’m an Oregon fan, whether they win or lose. I won’t let the foolish actions or words of a few players, former players or fans get in the way of my loyalty.  Now stop whining and let’s watch the game (Image from helmetgame dot com)
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12 thoughts on “An Open Letter To A Former Oregon Football Player

    1. Jots, you and I need to get together again for a little longer than 3 1/2 minutes! Perhaps we can discuss philosophy or the merits of running the option read against some of the slower defensive lines in the Pac-12.

  1. These top notch athletes are so out of touch with reality that it hurts them later in life when, suddenly, they’re not able to play a sport for a living and have nothing to fall back on because they’ve been coddled their whole lives. I played soccer in college and the recruiting and bad mouthing other programs and what not to me was ridiculous, so I imagine it’s 50x’s worse for a basketball or football playing kid with college level skills. Bah!

    1. Players may be out of touch, and fans are often out of touch too. I just took the letter a little more personally than I probably should have. For the record, I was a fan of the Ducks long before they rose to power.

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