I don't think I've been to a Bengals game this season in which the fans didn't boo at one point. Even in their only home win, against the Baltimore Ravens -- a division rival -- the fans booed the Bengals at times. There have been games that the Bengals lost this year in which there seemed to be more booing than cheering. When it was announced over the PA system at the stadium during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that Carson Palmer had surpassed 20,000 career passing yards, there were boos and cheers, but the boos quickly drowned out the cheers. At least that's how it was in my section.
One wonders how the players feel about being booed in their own stadium by their own fans. Do they completely ignore it or does it bother them in some way that they just don't talk about?
Well sometimes, players do talk about it. In a radio interview, New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle spoke about the fact that the Giants fans were booing their own team as they left the field in their last game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I don’t like it one bit," Rolle said. "We’re not going to always have those dominant, blowout games. We’re not going to win each and every game although we would love to. But through it all, our fans are huge. They play a critical part in our game whether they know it or not. No they’re not on the field, no they’re not making the plays, no they’re not playing. But at the same time we need them to have confidence as we have confidence in ourselves. The booing, honestly, it pissed me off. That’s something that I haven’t heard since I’ve been here.
"You don’t boo your team," Rolle continued. "I don’t care what happens, you don’t boo your team. That’s my take on it. You don’t boo your team. This is your home team. We’re out there playing, we’re out there pouring our heart out for our fans, you don’t boo your team. I don’t care what the situation is, you don’t boo your team. We’re 7-4. We’re not 2-10, we’re 7-4. There are going to be ups and downs during the season. (Not) under any circumstances should you boo your team. That’s just the reality of it."
Buying a single game ticket or season tickets is like signing a contract. The buyer will pay a certain amount of money in exchange for the seller to place the best possible product on the field. Obviously there is no NFL ticket refund policy so if the seller doesn't follow through with their side of the bargain, what is the fan to do?
The question of is it right for a fan to boo his or her own team comes down to the concept of ownership. I know that I do not own the Cincinnati Bengals (kind of wish I did). However, I also know that without the paying fans in Cincinnati, a team would not be able to exist. I am a paying fan. So, since a team wouldn't have the ability to exist with out us (the fans), it is possible to think, in a roundabout way, that a fan owns a small piece of the team. Does that give a fan the right to boo?
Even though booing is obviously worse than cheering it still isn't as bad as it can get. In fact, it can get much worse. When I was young and would get in trouble, my parents would punish me. After it was all done, they usually took the time to let me know that it would be much easier for them to not care what I do but they punish me because the love me. Of course, it didn't make sense that somebody who loved me would take away my Playstation at the time, but I get it now.
Booing is one thing, but the Bengals will really know they're in trouble when fans just stop caring. When Carson Palmer throws an interception and he hears crickets chirping instead of booing, he'll know that he's hit rock bottom. Maybe, the fans that boo are the fans that love their team the most.
In that case, players shouldn't get bent out of shape when they hear it. At least there is somebody who cares. Sometimes, the Bengals don't even deserve that.
Do you think it's okay for fans to boo their own teams?