When I think of the worst people on Earth, there's a pretty frequent Buzzfeed-styled listicle that pops into my head, in no particular order:
- Whoever came up with the word listicle.
- Men who have undergone beard transplant therapy.
- Ted Cruz.
- The Losing Disease Guy.
- Your Mom.
- Bills fans so wrapped up in their own convoluted version of morality and sanctimony that the whole experience of being a fan among fans is racked with this unbelievable morass of holier-than-thou nonsense from people that would rather see our football club lose - as if that was ever in doubt - than watch the team employ men of questionable character?
There's little to say at this point, Bills fans. You are fucking awful.
When did it get this bad, this Stockholm Syndrome-infused, this perennially embarrassing? When did the joke of Buffalo Bills football stop being this godforsaken team and start being the endless supply of think pieces written by troglodytes from the 300 level or wherever on how the Bills should really just do the right thing and cut ties with whichever (likely black) player has stepped out of line?
It's all gotten worse with Twitter, for sure, but it's not like Twitter invented this fan base's propensity to find the quickest way to make itself look like a tottering school marm straight out of Little House on the Prairie. We are so often trapped in this cycle of deliberately missing the point and deliberately trying to achieve an elusive white Puritanical ideal of what it means to be a good football team. We're a fan base that could, even today, look at the video of Rodney King being beaten by sworn officers of the law and wonder if those cops had a point. We laugh at how St. Louis fans reacted to Black Lives Matter protesters after Mike Brown was shot down, but we fail to realize how close we step far too often, too unchecked.
We're a fan base littered with people who, at the first sign of black Bills players doing "wrong" - whatever that means, and it's not just about committing crimes - are rushing to be the first comment in a string of sports fan NIMBY nonsense.
Not on my team.
Fuck, I am guilty of this too, at least to a certain extent. When news of Evander Kane possibly assaulting a woman in Buffalo came down, I jumped at the opportunity to tweet about how the Sabres would be wise to just bench the guy until it got sorted. Was it premature? Yes. 100%. Was it based on a real concern about the way society treats sexual assault and routinely lets victims down in how the criminal justice system and our sports leagues respond to sexual assault by athletes? Of course.
I jumped the gun, and it was idiotic. But at least it was motivated by some real, justified concern about rape and domestic violence being tolerated by the hyper-masculine segments of our society (i.e. most segments of society). Does it justify me being a douchebag? Surely not, but it illustrates a point.
What are Bills fans, and media for that matter, standing up for when they criticize Stevie for being sad after a big drop, or wearing "urban" clothes, or having that rad "USS FUHKMORE" hat? What are fans standing up for when they gripe about mini-fridges or suicidal text messages or poor play after a player's brother is killed in cold blood or players drag racing or early, slanted reports about a barfight? What are fans standing up for when they look at a player, disregard the skill set that he brings to the team we love, and makes some sweeping statement about not wanting that player in a Bills jersey anymore because of what he did on the field despite being aware that WE MAKE NO DECISIONS AND OUR OPINION IS TRASH? Justice? Ethics? Morality? Feigned superiority?
You are fucking kidding yourselves. Maybe I was, too.
We are a fan base staring at 16 years of no playoffs in our rear view, no real expectation that another one's not coming down the pike, and this is the nonsense we get embroiled in. Permitting blatantly nonsensical criticisms of players to persist in our discourse, such as it is, without calling spades. Without exploring the idea that casual racism and the hypocrisy of any ethical conversation about players who risk their lives for us has turned us into highly entitled monsters, requesting the highest standards of conduct from Player X while ignoring the distinctly gross conduct of Player Y, owners, and ourselves.
We require more from our athletes than we do from our elected officials, and all that can be said is that we are the absolute fucking pits.
We can't have it all. We can't watch football and expect morality. It ain't there. When we try to find it, we confuse the venture of capitalist sport for a reflection of what we want in life, and the result is a fucking mess.
It's time we stopped trying to fuck the round hole of professional football with our square peg dick of ethical sanctimony and called it a day.