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Just-My-Take-Fat shaming. Slut shaming. Food shaming. You name it, and we don’t shame people for it anymore. And that is mostly good. Someone’s body shape or sexual practices should be their business. As is how they root for their sports teams.

While most of these forms of shaming deal with personal attributes, there is a form of shaming that has taken root that everyone seems to be fine with. Fan shaming is the act of taking a negative aspect of a sports team and using the fans as the avenue to criticize it. It’s easy and convenient and everyone is doing it with little to no repercussions.

Rockies fans get this a lot. They are shamed for going to Coors Field and are used as a device in articles and on talk radio as a way to explain why the management is encouraged to keep doing the wrong things. According to the old farts around Denver, if you go to Coors Field and root for the Rockies, you are part of the problem. By putting money in the pocket of the Monforts, you are endorsing the woeful mismanagement that has gone on over the years. You are the problem and you should be ashamed.

But nothing could be further from the truth. In all aspects regarding the culture surrounding a bad team, it’s the team and management that is at fault. Period. The fact that people still go to Rockies games shows a dedicated fan base that wants to see a good product and is willing to slog through the bad times in order to be there when it turns around. People want to go watch baseball. And if they’ve hitched their fandom to the Rockies wagon, so be it. If you’re a fan of the team and you want to watch them play, there shouldn’t be any amount of shaming from obsolete sports writers that should turn you away.

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And that’s really where the shaming comes from when it involves the Rockies: old school media members who haven’t paid to attend a sporting event in decades are telling you how to spend your money. The rest of the world has left them behind and their last, desperate parting shot is to blame the fans.

It’s easy and it’s convenient to do so and it also takes any argument against the management off the table and places the blame squarely on the shoulders of the faceless masses whose only recourse is to give an article clicks or call into radio shows with angry screeds that are nothing but traps set by the out of touch media vets just looking to stay relevant.

It’s an odd phenomenon. Not only do the old, decrepit media guys engage in fan shaming in Denver, but there’s a whole crop of young media people who like to shame fans too. Led by their hero, Nuggets coach Mike Malone, it’s very in vogue to shame Nuggets fans for lack of attendance. In a mirror of the Rockies situation where fans are shamed for showing up, Nuggets fans are shamed for not going to games or allegedly not caring at all.

What it comes down to is some frustrated basketball writers, not happy with their place reporting on a tier three-sport in Denver, thinking they should be garnering more accolades for their heroic coverage. When you write about a bad team, not many will care and they won’t start to until that team starts winning.

The Rockies draw at Coors because it’s summertime and every Cubs fan lives in Denver now but the Nuggets have been terrible for a lengthy stretch and play in the dead of winter when no one is willing to drag themselves out for a night of crappy basketball. Instead of taking a long look in the mirror, coach Malone shifted the blame of the Nuggets’ woes on bad attendance. And his minions covering the team have followed along like the good little soldiers they are – parroting the party line about how terrible the fans are in Denver and how this is why the team has been so bad. It’s completely absurd.

Denver sports fans love the Nuggets but it’s hard to draw a crowd when the team isn’t even competing. The Nuggets will be far more improved this year but if the attendance doesn’t increase, Malone and his legion of fanboys will hold you, the Denver sports fan, accountable.

Play well and the fans will come back to Pepsi Center. Play well and it may not be all Cubs fans at Coors Field. But continuing to fan shame and whining the Broncos get all the attention is a very unflattering look.
Don’t buy into the fan shaming. When you see it an article, know immediately that it is a completely non-credible take.

Like religion, you should be able to worship, or not worship your teams, in any way you choose. You’re the one paying (or not paying) to be there and spending the time to follow (or not follow) along all season. Having some jerk tell you when your attendance is or isn’t required is insulting at best. Leave the shame for the sportswriters and bloggers for when they go home to their loveless hovels at night. You are a proud sports fan and can choose for yourself. And there’s no shame in that.

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John Reidy

John Reidy has lived in Denver most of his life and had a religious conversion to being a Denver sports fan when the Broncos lost Super Bowl XXIV. And he’s been on that sad, slow train ever since. He is a founding member of SouthStandsDenver.com, coined the term “fanalyst” and has learned to not swear as much in his writing.

  • Blackboard Warrior

    If the Avalanche, Rockies and Nuggets won more games, and maybe got into the post-season every now and then, we’d see less Chicago (St. Louis, Boston, etc) sports team jerseys in the crowds during the games. You don’t see a lot of opposing teams jerseys in the crowd during Broncos games.

    I swear, there are more Chicago sports fans in Denver than there are in Chicago.