Yesterday produced only one exciting playoff game, and to no one’s surprise, it wasn’t the Buffalo Bills visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Carolina Panthers played the New Orleans Saints, with the game undecided until the very last play of the game. It was full of some great football, including an impressive (almost) comeback by Cam Newton.
It was great football that was sadly overshadowed by the classlessness of the hometown Saints fans. Newton took a nasty and unnecessary hit while trying to scramble after his knee was down. It was a huge and legal hit that clearly shook Newton. After spending a few seconds on the ground, he got up and went to the sideline. He didn’t make it the whole way, and fell to the ground. It looked like he suffered a serious concussion.
Then came the unmistakable sound from the television feed: cheering. Saints fans were cheering an opposing player potentially dealing with a brain injury. It feels easy to get caught up in your fandom, but it is disgusting to cheer on an injury of an opposing player. The behavior is so repugnant that I did not want to believe it.
Sadly, Panthers beat writers at the game heard the same thing.
In the fourth quarter, Newton took a wicked hit and appeared as though he might have a concussion. Some fans in New Orleans cheered the Panthers quarterback’s apparent injury. And plenty of folks on social media were (unfortunately) cheering, too.
This goes far beyond trash talking other fans or booing opposing players. Celebrating a potentially terrible injury crosses the line, and that should apply to all fanbases. Maybe Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings will humble some of these classless Saints fans.