Chanting, Cheering, Taunting: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Fans can be harsh especially if you are taking the ball out of bounds on the sideline. Photo Rockland High Sports.

Fans can be harsh especially if you are taking the ball out of bounds on the sideline. Photo Rockland High Sports.

Zach Pransky, Veritas Staff

Very recently, taunting at local high school games has made national news.  Catholic Memorial High School’s chants of “you killed Jesus,” are something I, as a Jewish-American, find very disturbing. It is something that is extremely offensive and crosses many lines of morality and sportsmanship.

Sadly, this is not the only chant of that night that was offensive. Newton North’s chant of “sausagefest,” alluding to CM being an all-boys school, is something that I personally find homophobic and offensive.

It is sad that this sort of taunting has become the norm at high school sports games. There are so many chants that are G-rated and not offensive, yet opposing schools seem to compete to see who can be the most vulgar.

As a fan, this can become very uncomfortable. Knowing the damage that words can do to someone, it is awful to hear things of this nature coming from fan sections of opposing schools, and even my own.

I do not believe that this is an issue of people being “too sensitive” or “kids just being kids.” I think that this is an actual problem that can have very serious consequences.

Student-athletes go above and beyond to perform well both in the classroom and on the court or field. When a basketball player shoots an airball, the opposing fans will taunt them mercilessly. Something like that has the ability to erode any confidence that player may have, and can leave them feeling like they aren’t good enough or hopeless.

In a time when we have presidential candidates claiming that we need to get away from being “politically correct,” it is important to remember that the things you say have an impact on other people.

It is not about being politically correct, it is about being a decent human being and not putting others down. Instead, we need to pick them up and be kind and courteous people.

Bulldog Nation just having fun at Girls tournament game. photo by Kelley Reale

Bulldog Nation just having fun at Girls tournament game. photo by Kelley Reale

Greg Makarski, Veritas Staff

I think that taunting, virtually all taunting, is completely fine and something that people need to deal with.

Since the beginning of public sporting events, taunting has played a key role in the atmosphere of a game. It is simply something that people have to deal with.

If you play a sport or go to an event to spectate, you need to understand that these types of things can happen.

Taunts generally come out of passion for the game, not a hatred for players on the opposing team.

I do agree that the taunts between Newton North and Catholic Memorial are where the line needs to be drawn. When there is any sort of taunting based on race, religion, or sexual preference, they do not come from the heart and passion for the game; they come from hatred and a clear desire to embarrass or ridicule somebody.

I think that taunts about race, religion, and sexual preference are the only, absolute only, taunts that should be stopped. If somebody gets upset about any other taunts or chants they need to toughen up and keep playing the game, not worry about what people are saying.

This can prepare people a lot for life in the future. If somebody says something that you don’t like to you, will you complain about it and let it get you down?

Maybe that is what will happen if people let every little taunt get to them and make a big deal about taunting.

Sure, there are a  small number of taunts that should be stopped, but people need to toughen up and take the taunts for what they are: fans having fun and continuing a tradition that dates back to the beginning of sports.

Let the players play, let the coaches coach, and let the fans go crazy.

As long as fans do not cross the line of race, religion or sexual preference, let them cheer, chant, scream, and most importantly, let them taunt.

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