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Keller: Pleas to Maryland, WVU fans still leave class half empty

September 14, 2011|By MARK KELLER
  • Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor
Mark Keller, Herald-Mail Sports Editor

Timing must not be a strong suit of Kevin Anderson or Oliver Luck.

The Maryland and West Virginia athletic directors decided Monday would be a great day to make pleas for civility from their respective football fans.

The problem? The bitter rivals play each other Saturday at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium.

Probably the wrong time to make those pleas. There’s about as much chance for civility in College Park this weekend as a smooth drive to the game on the beltway.

The requests from Anderson and Luck — both in the form of letters to fans — come in the wake of incidents that occurred at the teams’ season-opening games two weekends ago, both of which were televised nationally.

Anderson received an email from a fan who took his 11-year-old son to Maryland’s game against Miami on Labor Day.

The fan complained about foul language, including on some signs in the home crowd, and struggling to explain it to his son.

Foul language at a Maryland game? Really?

Foul language from the same fans who took such great pride in telling opposing teams — in unison — “Hey! You suck!” for years?

Then took it a step further by adding “We’re gonna beat the (h-e-double hockey sticks) out of you and you and you.”

Those fans?

Huh. Go figure.

Luck’s letter was in response to a T-shirt bearing a curse word that could be seen during the Mountaineers’ game against Marshall on Sept. 4.

Luck suggests in his letter that fans should politely ask anyone who is wearing an offensive shirt to “reconsider their choice of attire” and either change it or cover it up.

Then duck.

Can you see that exchange in a packed stadium during a heated football game?

“Excuse me, young man. I beg your pardon, but would you be so kind as to turn your ‘*!@$ Maryland’ shirt inside out? I find it quite offensive and I don’t want to have to explain to my son what ‘*!@$ Maryland’ means.”

“*@^#!! $!&*@*!&@ *$!!!”

Or something like that.

I’m not condoning the use of foul language or obscene signs or T-shirts, but for Anderson and Luck to expect a plea of civility to matter to the average fan or the average college student is naive at best.

Look at the venue. If you’re with your kids at Chuck E. Cheese and you hear that kind of language, I’d say you have every right to ask the offender to button it up.

At a college football game, not so much.

It would be nice if people would look around them at such events and adjust their behavior accordingly. But in many cases, that doesn’t happen.

Both ADs say the offensive behavior paints their universities in a negative light and inaccurately defines the schools.

But the toothpaste is already out of the tube on this one.

If you’re a Maryland fan, you might not have minded the  “You suck!” chant.

If you’re a West Virginia fan, you might have thought it pretty great to set your couch on fire.

But to other fans, these examples — and countless others — just mean you lack class.

And no letter from the athletic director is likely to change that.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7728 or by email at keller@herald-mail.com

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