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:
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.
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.