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Fans have the power over the sports they love

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Being a sports fan is really hard.

Sure watching your team lose, trying to keep up with all the statistics of the chosen sport, buying merchandise to support the team or watching as the coach or manager makes a boneheaded move that sends the best player away can be hard.

What’s really hard though is having to reconcile that love of the sport with the fact that some of the people playing the sport or running the sport are not fit to be cheered for because they are disgusting human beings.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. recently took home a giant paycheck, with more money to follow from endorsements, after a long anticipated fight with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather has an admitted history of domestic abuse, a history that includes him serving time for his crimes.

Yet boxing fans flocked from all over, paying obscene amounts of money to watch the fight. Some did it because they were rooting for Pacquiao and wanted Mayweather to lose, but with a 50/50 chance of him winning they were still supporting him even if they didn’t realize it.

For that moment in time, crimes and abuse didn’t mean anything.

The same goes for the Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice, caught on video last year beating his wife Janay Rice, and the Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson, who savagely beat his son with a switch.

Many fans of the teams ignored the fact that the men did these heinous acts because both are seen as some of the most skilled players their teams have to offer.

Being a sports fan is hard because it’s not always cut and dry about the reaction of fans to these men and their crimes. What makes being a fan hard is that if you are a fan of the sport, but not what the officials or athletes do, it’s hard to walk away from what you love because of some bad eggs.

I’m a fan of football, a San Francisco 49ers fan all the way, but I was disgusted earlier this year when they refused to let go of defensive end Ray McDonald who was accused of domestic abuse.

The problem is, I love the sport of football and I love the 49ers. Even knowing that poor decision that was made, I’m still a fan and wear their team merchandise proudly and can’t wait for the season to begin.

It’s a very murky area where the love of a team or sport and the disgusting acts of owners, athletes or officials meet. It should be a simple matter to turn and leave it all behind, to vote with the wallets, to let these people know that what they did was wrong.

Yet, it’s not that simple. Loyalty to a sport or organization is a hard feeling to shake. It really  can’t  be explained.

It needs to change though. Our silent acceptance of this behavior of athletes and officials can’t continue.

With every piece of merchandise we buy or every ticket we purchase, we’re telling those in charge that no matter what we’ll support the sport, team or athlete.

As sports fans, it’s a dangerous line we walk, and we need to stop walking it as soon as possible. While we still can and before it’s too late.

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Fans have the power over the sports they love