Does An Expensive Ticket Give You The Right To Applaud An Injury?

Being a fan of a team means that you are rooting for them in all circumstances; after all “fan” is technically short for “fanatic”. Whichever team you choose, whether it be because of where you were born,where your parents went to college, or some other wacky reason, holds a special place in your psyche. They are your team. That’s why you see fans who go as far as painting their faces in support of a team or permanently marking their bodies to show the depth of their allegiance.

But it’s not all about just the team. Being a fan requires you to be in favor of (or at least tolerate) the players of said team; in the end, how they perform on the field of court dictates the group’s results. So fans of teams are also fans of their players, and actively support those athletes.

Except that doesn’t always happen.

This past weekend, when Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub went down mid-game with what looked to be a right foot injury, the fans in Houston did something that doesn’t follow the logic of the aforementioned principle: they cheered Schaub’s injury. That’s right, the man under center for the majority of the Texans’ games over the past seven years was rooted against by his own fans in on his home field.

Granted, Schaub has had what amounts to a very tough season with more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (8). He’s shown an unnatural propensity for throwing back-breaking pick sixes. Houston, theoretically a Super Bowl contender (and at least a playoff team), sits at 2-4 in the standings and is looking up to Indianapolis (4-2) and Tennessee (3-3) in the AFC South. For a club that tied for the third-best record in the regular season last year, 2013’s iteration of the Houston Texans is no more than a disappointment. The fans are suffering.

Which brings up the question: are the Texans’ fans who cheered Schaub’s getting hurt justified or just plain tasteless? On the surface, it seems as if the answer is obvious: it’s not right for anyone to cheer for another person to get injured or hurt; that would be tantamount to hoping someone else has to suffer physical pain. It’s definitely hard to disagree with the idea that we shouldn’t want others to experience pain. That idea is an almost inherent moral inside all of us.

At the same time, in the interest of the Texans, was replacing Matt Schaub with backup quarterback T.J. Yates (who received an ovation when he stepped onto the field) such a bad thing?  From a fan’s perspective, he literally couldn’t to any worse. The team had to improve him under center.

Well, that’s not exactly what happened. Yates threw two interceptions in 17 attempts, and finished the game with a passer rating of just 45.3. We could attribute this to karma, or perhaps it’s easier to say that whoever is playing quarterback of the Texans is bound to suck.

Fans toe a fine line when they make things personal with athletes. It’s OK to heckle an opposing player or even boo your own every now and then; that’s what being a fan is all about — showing passion in an effort to give your team a boost (or a kick in the butt).

However, we have a case where the fans broke the unwritten code of fandom, and got bit, as they should have. Let’s just say, as a general rule, don’t hope for the misfortune of others. Even if you dropped a good chunk of change for that seat and technically are entitled to boo whatever you please, it’s still kind of distasteful. As fans, we have an obligation to hope for the best for the members of our respective favorite teams, because without them, there would be no teams for us to follow.

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