Many sports enthusiasts and sports journalists were surprised to see Toronto Raptors fans cheer Kevin Durant’s injury during Game 5. There seems to be some confusion about how something like this could happen, so allow me to shed some light on the issue.
Some sports fans suck. The suck is not unique to a single team or region. Fan is short for fanatic. Fanatical people tend not to have a healthy approach to the import of a game. Fans celebrating with an opponent goes down with an injury is not really an aberration. It’s the predictably stupid and classless response.
Is it right? Of course not. But to pretend there’s anything unique about the Raptors fans who delighted in Durant’s misfortune is ridiculous. Anyone who thinks the fanbase they belong to doesn’t have more than its fair share of bad apples is to be willfully ignorant.
And, look, I get it. Feeling superior is a major part of being a sports fans. Pretending you’re different than the folks in the next town over, that you’re better, is part of the experience. But that’s basically the bystander version of rooting for laundry.
Yes, fanbases differ. There are different attitudes. Painting everyone with the same brush, though, is neither constructive or accurately reflective. Raptors fans aren’t any different than Insert Team X here.
Cheering while Durant was down is low. Giving him a standing ovation and chanting his name as he limped off the court was behavior all can support. What I’m positing here is that it’s complicated.
The reaction to Durant’s malady was mixed in the moment and got “better” as time passed. It’s human to castigate idiots for dancing on a perceived grave. A more complicated question, though, is to ask if silently being appreciative that a key opponent being removed from the equation is really any better. Because that’s something a vast majority of fans, no matter how self-righteous, do.
The bad behavior is simple to spot here. And it proves our neighbors to the north have plenty in common with the unruly patrons in the states. This is almost a welcome realization since we don’t have to deal with the ridiculous “Canadians are just nicer” narrative.
There is more that unites us than divides us. One of those uniting factors is dealing with scumbags on your side. There is really no cure for the common jerk, so they will always be a part of sports.
The best we can hope for is for reason and humanity to have a seat at the table.