It's time for athletes to remember where their paychecks come from
Then, Kevin Youkilis added another idiotic comment to the pile when he was asked about the Red Sox fans potentially booing him when he returns to Fenway Park in a Yankees uniform.
Youkilis inexplicably tried to deflect the conversation into a statement about why people shouldn't be passionate about sports, since there are other events going on, like the school shooting in Newtown.
Youk's comments, in their entirety (via NESN):
"In this day and age we’re living right now — with all the things around this world — we’re booing and getting so worked up about sports. Why is it so crazy in sports? This tragedy happens, we have all of this craziness. People are going berserk over a sporting event. It’s wild. It’s wild to me how people can react and act with so much hate in sports. It’s supposed to be a release from your everyday life. There’s a lot of problems in our society today. I feel like there’s a lot of hatred and a lot of bad things. It’s the way we treat people from the early-going as kids — but the kids only learn from adults. The adults are the ones that teach these kids hate. That’s why I say, at these Yankees games, Red Sox, there’s hate — there’s so much hate. We need to adjust the society and just love each other a little bit more each day. I don’t know if that will change the outcomes in life, but I think it will help."
Now, if Youkilis had said that he didn't want to talk about the hate, and would rather take a moment to discuss something that was far more important, then that would have made sense.
If he wanted to say that he doesn't care about fans booing him, because that's just a harmless way of showing their disapproval for their rival, then that would have been fine.
Even if he wanted to say that we shouldn't be worrying about what MIGHT happen at a game in April, when real world tragedies are happening right now, that would have been understandable.
That's not what he said, however.
It's clear that Youkilis simply didn't want to acknowledge the fact that Red Sox fans would feel betrayed by his signing with the Yankees, and he didn't want to admit that it would be perfectly logical for them to boo him, when he returned to their house wearing the uniform of the hated New York Yankees.
Youk had the perfect opportunity to play it off like it's not a big deal. Fans have always chanted "YOUK" when he steps into the batter's box, which sounds a lot like booing. He could have made some sort of joke playing off of that.
Instead, he chose to attack the fans' passion, and try to pretend that by caring about professional sports, people were somehow ignoring greater social issues.
The fact is that without millions of passionate fans who cared about the game, Youkilis would be unemployed right now. Or at best, he would be lugging furniture or some other manual labor job that pays far less than $12M per year.
Youkilis shouldn't try to criticize the fans or their passion for the game. He should be thankful for it, since that is what gave him the opportunity to make millions of dollars to play a sport.
[Brian Urlacher: Two of the people I don't care about: fans or media]
In the same manner, Urlacher should never say that he doesn't care about fans or the media. If not for the fans, Urlacher would never be able to make millions of dollars playing football. If not for the media, he wouldn't make additional millions shilling for Old Spice and Comcast.
These players NEED the fans.
They NEED our passion.
It's insulting to try to belittle that, and to try to even slightly insinuate that fans somehow don't care about the brutal killing of elementary school students, simply because 4 months from now, we MIGHT boo Kevin Youkilis when he comes back to Fenway. Those things are entirely unrelated.
It's time for athletes to realize that the fans are the very reason they get to enjoy their charmed lives.