Over at Canal Street Chronicles, there is an interesting article entitled "I Hate the San Francisco 49ers and Everything They Stand For" by a Mr. Sharkey. Boy oh boy, do I like pretty much everything about it - down to the title ending on a preposition. I mean, what's wrong with "Everything They Represent?" But I digress.
The article does raise some legitimate problems with Candlestick. Mr. Sharkey's experience sounds abysmal. This is one of the most compelling arguments for moving to Santa Clara. Get away from a lot of problems that have arisen due to, well to be honest, gang issues.
But that is no reason to generalize about an entire fan base. I've been to a lot of sports games too. They are all pretty much the same. If you are a fan of an opposing team, you're going to get heckled. And, if you are good natured about and give as good as you get, then you usually will win over their grudging respect by about the third quarter / sixth inning. And if you can't give as good as you get, because they are that bad, then you really should tell security.
But still, this is true of any fan base. Does nobody else remember a Saints fan shooting 49er fans at an Applebee's after the exact same game? Hence, the absurd generalizations are unnecessary; fans can be awful. And one angle the author never considered - though this is a tenuous argument - is the fact that it was a playoff game. Tensions are bound to run high. Does this excuse the actions of the fans Mr. Sharkey has described? Not at all, but so goes life - for better or worse.
And I don't bring up this article to lambast the author for telling his unfortunate story. Not at all. In fact, I encourage it. Managing safety entails an open dialogue of dangerous events so that authorities can appropriately respond. Mr. Sharkey's rhetoric sure doesn't help; I'm not about to saddle up my high horse here, though. I've used plenty of questionable rhetoric in the past. I mean, how do you read this and not want to insult every man you see walking the streets. Again, I digress.
The main reasons I highlight Mr. Sharkey's article are two pointedly awesome criticisms he raises. First, he points out the perceived lunacy of our team motto, "who's got it better than us?" As if a Saints of all fans have any right to mock any team motto. Either you recognize that mottos are inherently reductionist and a bit shrill, or you recognize the deep, cultural importance of mottos for all sports teams. There is no way one motto is objectively better than another. It's irrational.
Secondly, though, he is quite critical of a man we all adore, The Honorable Mr. Jim Harbaugh. What are his reasons? I'm not sure, since he simply asserts that he would rather "take a screaming toddler with gas and a stinky diaper any time" as a companion on a plane ride over Harbaugh.
Great. That's a great opinion. One he is entitled to have. I'm not sure why a fan of a team that is having massive coaching staff problems based upon potentially unethical, not to mention illegal, coaching tactics is so willing to criticize the coach of another team, but whatever. And, to be frank, I'm glad. I'm glad he holds it and even more glad that he is openly admitting it. And not just admitting it, but writing it down in an article. Seriously, great.
Good teams attract haters. That's just sports fact. Somebody who is a fan of a team that is not a division rival or the Cowboys (or Giants, I guess) is writing a hate article about the 49ers. Sure this isn't Super Bowl status, but it hints massively toward the notion that the 49ers are re-entering the elite class of the NFL. I mean, when one writes that one is hoping the Saints "take revenge on the 49ers ... not because of their playoff loss last year, but because the 49ers are proud owners of the most horrible fan base and the most annoying catchphrase in the history of the world," one is really just bitter about that playoff loss last year. One is upset that the 49ers are good. Really? You want to win "not because of the playoff loss last year" but because of the "most annoying catchphrase in the history of the world?" Methinks you doth protest too much.
The 49ers are attracting haters. Good teams attract haters. Except the Jets. They suck, but everybody hates them.