Earlier this morning, I read through Twitter about an incident that happened late last night at the Vandy/Xavier Club Hockey matchup between a group of Vandy supporters and one of Xavier’s players. While the fans were taunting Xavier, and I can only make an assumption the team as well, one player took it upon himself to answer to the taunters, swearing at them and throwing objects in their direction.
While the way the player in question handled the situation was wrong in every possible way, the question that keeps swirling in my mind is this: when does taunting go too far?
Now, before you call me a hypocrite, let me preface with the following: I taunt.
Do I taunt professional athletes? You bet I do, always have. Even got a chuckle from Chris Chelios during the playoffs a few years ago.
Do I taunt college athletes? Yep. I’m an Ohio State fan so you can imagine the team I love to heckle.
However that is the extent of my taunting.
Now, is it right to taunt players? Probably not. Yet, it happens, and it happens in most collegiate and professional sports. However, what about sports where the individuals have to pay to play it (or complete fundraisers to raise the money)? Or where they are of an age where it’s essentially an adult taunting someone under the age of 18? Is it right then?
As a high school football broadcaster, I’ve rarely seen adults from one team’s fan section boo or taunt the opposing players, as being in the pressbox we are right near the parents/fans. When one does, someone inevitably tells them where to shove it or disapproving glares are sent in their direction.
So, if your favorite team is playing (think about all of your favorite teams at whatever sports level it is), which ones do you openly admit to taunting their opponents? When do you feel it’s acceptable to START taunting? Or is it acceptable at all?