Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant is taking some heat this week since he made some remarks about “bandwagon fans” in Philly. I, for one, respect his remarks and think it shows he has some heart.
First, here is the quote, as provided by Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, of what Avant initially stated earlier this week after the game against the Dallas Cowboys:
“We look at home games like road games,” Avant said Sunday night, after the Eagles won their second straight game, 34-7 over the Cowboys at the Linc. “We like to get booed by our fans.
We realize it’s going to be just these guys in the locker room, that’s the way we take it,” he said. “We don’t want people jumping on our bandwagon now. We want people to go out and still talk bad about us.
Adversity is good, and you see what people are made of,” he said. “It doesn’t make people, but it reveals what’s inside of people.”
Then, on Thursday, he responded to all the criticism he has taken since those statements. Here is his latest quote as provided by Ryan Messick of Philly Sports Report:
“Let’s get this clear; I will not apologize for what I said, it’s not an apology or anything like that,” Avant said. “What I’m saying is, is that there are faithful fans, faithful Eagles fans, we love those fans and the one thing I won’t do is apologize. I’m trying to motivate my teammates to keep focused, we’ve got the underdog mentality and that’s my opinion.
The fans, I guess they called in stations or whatever and they gave their opinion, right? I’m a person and this is America right? I can have an opinion right? That’s my opinion.
It’s one of those things, I take offense when we’ve got signs outside talking about firing Coach,” said Avant. “I take offense to it so, definitely I’m not apologizing for that, but what i am saying is it was to motivate my teammates.
I don’t really care, you know why?” Avant asked rhetorically. “Because I play my hardest. I play my hardest for Jesus Christ and for this team. You going to boo me for playing hard? You going to boo me for being the guy that’s going to chase down the play when nobody else is running? You going to boo me for being the guy that’s doing special teams or going over the middle and taking a big shot?
“Boo me for doing what’s right!
This is what I do respect about Philadelphia fans,” said Avant. ” They’re very, very knowledgeable and I love playing before our fans. I want to win a championship for this city so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so bad. So I respect them and I love them as fans.
All are welcome to root for the Eagles, it’s not a thing of being mad, it’s just something that I wanted to let our guys know that we have to play through any adversity,” Avant said. “It’s not a shot at the fans, like it was taken, more so it’s about motivating my team to say we have to be able to go out under any circumstances and play hard like we did last week.
“Who am I to allow anybody back?” Avant asked with a laugh. “I don’t have any type of authority, anybody is welcome back. See that’s the thing, how you going to take something out – I don’t have the authority to allow somebody to root for the Eagles and you guys take it seriously. Half of the stuff is you guys fault, I’m going to blame it on the media, half of it is you guys fault for blowing it out of proportion.”
One thing Avant said is right, the media did blow it out of proportion. That happens almost all the time in sports media.
In this case, I don’t see anything wrong with what he said. Did he call out some fans in general? Yes, he did. Is that wrong? No, it’s not.
These guys are human and are susceptible to the same emotions as everyone else in the world. If hearing all the criticism directed towards his team didn’t affect him (or anyone else on the team), then perhaps they just don’t care enough.
Don’t you want players on your team who actually give a crap?
I was happy when Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce made those two guys take down their sign that basically stated it’s time to fire Andy Reid and displayed it across the street from the Nova Care Center.
Just like Avant, they showed character and heart. They actually showed that they care and take things personally when there is a lash-out against the team.
To me, that’s what I want in this team. I don’t want a bunch of guys just collecting a paycheck and going through the motions. I’d rather not have players who are all business and view their job, well, as just a job.
I’d prefer players that aren’t afraid to show us that they have some level of emotional investment in this thing, just like the fans. That’s why fans get so upset when the team isn’t playing well, it’s because they are emotionally invested in the team.
Isn’t it a good thing if the players are too? And if they are, how could they not be bothered by some of the things the fans and media say and do?
I’d rather have players saying “screw you” back to the fans who spew venom towards them than players who just act is if they could care less while they’re cashing their checks at the bank.
Give me players who take it personal when people are saying not-so-nice things about their team. I want our players to get pissed off when fans voice their displeasure.
Furthermore, you can view the recent happenings (Mathis/Kelce and Avant) as sort of a family spat. Families argue and fight. Emotions run high and tempers flare.
The only reason you get as mad as you do at a family member is because you care about them. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t get mad.
Well, that’s all Jason Avant, Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce have done recently. They “got mad” at the fans because the fans were bashing the team. And the fans were mad at the team because they weren’t playing well.
We’re all in this together…the players and fans. We root for them to do well and they thrive off of the energy that’s created. Basically, it’s like we’re in a relationship with them and there can be disagreements and arguments.
However, in the end, we all want the same thing: to win. Things get said in the heat of the moment but then they’re forgotten about.
Don’t get me wrong here, they can’t step over any perceived boundaries with fans, but they can certainly make it known that what the fans say has affected them.
That’s all Jason Avant was doing here. He was airing out his personal feelings on the matter. Fans have the right to voice their opinion when the team is playing horribly and the players and coaches should expect it.
However, the fans and media shouldn’t act like babies when one of the players calls them out for not being supportive. Because it’s true; there are fans who “give up” on the team and only support them when they’re doing well.
Or, they turn around and start bashing the head coach and team. Fans have every right to do that, heck, I do it at times. However, we shouldn’t expect it to not have an affect on those we are directing our anger at.
Many times players refer to their teammates as family. If there were a bunch of people telling you that your family stinks, and that your “Dad” has to be fired, wouldn’t you get upset and rush to their defense?
I’m pretty sure you would. That’s all that is going on here, nothing more, nothing less.