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Rude fans need to stay home

By Anthony Rhoads

One of my all-time favorite movie lines is from the western Lonesome Dove.

The character Woodrow Call had just gotten through beating up an army scout who was trying to take a horse from one of his men. The scout not only was trying to take the horse but he was whipping Newt, the young cowboy who was trying to keep the horse from being stolen.

When Call saw this, he became enraged and proceeded to beat the scout with a branding iron and smashed his head into an anvil.

"I don't like rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it," Call said as he left the scout in a bloody mess.

While Call's reaction to the situation was extreme, I do have to share the sentiment.

It seems like rude behavior is so prevalent in today's society. Rude behavior is now the norm and politeness is the exception rather than the rule.

I recently had the chance to go to an Atlanta Braves game and it was enjoyable overall but the experience was somewhat diminished by some obnoxious fans who downed beers the entire game, talked incessantly about nothing and spewed curse words within earshot of children.

I am not a prude by any means but I do believe that one should display proper conduct at sporting events. You can cheer on your favorite teams, boo the teams and athletes you don't like and have a good time at a game without acting like an obnoxious idiot.

It's just getting worse. Fans run out on the field to attack coaches and umpires, they throw trash at players and they verbally abuse and sometimes physically attack fans of other teams. It's truly a sad commentary on how our society is today.

The obnoxious behavior by fans is not limited to professional games. I have seen some outrageous behavior all the way from the youth leagues to the high school level.

I've seen fans threaten to beat up coaches and referees. I've seen coaches threaten to beat up parents and referees. I've seen fans use racial, ethnic and other personal slurs when yelling at referees. I've seen a youth baseball parent point to his belt and say to his child ?you're going to get this tonight if you don't get a hit.' I've seen students get into fights. I've seen students not only scuffle with other teen-agers but I've seen them try to mix it up with police officers. I've seen both parents and students being escorted out of events in handcuffs.

I definitely don't have a Pollyanna attitude about it. If a ref makes a bad call, yell about it if you want to but there is a line that doesn't need to be crossed. There is no need to threaten someone with violence, there is no need to make slurs and there is no need to use profanity.

And there is certainly no need to resort to violence. I believe that if you do resort to violence, you should be taken to your local jail and locked up for awhile. But things won't change. Things will not change until folks begin to exhibit self control and begin to take responsibility for their actions. What a concept.

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears each Wednesday. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.