On thick skins, civilization and ‘fans’

Jennifer Gish

Albany Times Union columnist Jennifer Gish doesn’t deserve this shit.

But she should expect it.

That is what happens when you are a sports columnist. Fan is a derivative of fanatic. And that is just what most of them (us) are.

I follow the Ohio State Buckeyes passionately, obsessively and with the intensity and fire of Jack Lambert staring down a quarterback. (Women can Google it. Wink.) Save the Buckeye jokes. The point is, I am a fan, too. A crazy-ass, tailgate on my condo deck, play cornhole by myself, wife leaves the house on Saturdays, Eddie George jersey fan.

But I don’t hurt anybody or anything but my own pride and standing with the neighbors who witness my behavior. And I am not a misogynist.

Buffalo Bills fans, I am sure you are a great set of people. But. The few who responded the way they did to Gish’s column have sullied your name as sure as I won’t be wearing a sweater vest anytime soon. And you should take back your reputation.

This is a self-policing situation.

Since I am not a Bills fan, I can’t judge the validity of Gish’s opinion, but Gish did the right thing in response to this abuse. She framed a social issue column in reply. She simply let the idiots speak for themselves. She turned the light on the cockroaches among Bills fans. And I hope they scurry back into their holes.

Her ending paragraphs were a thing of beauty. I had a mother. I have a wife, nieces and other women in my life. And I love and respect them. And Gish really says it well:

Throughout the country, girls are taking the field with a passion for sports and an unprecedented opportunity to play them. They’re growing up wearing NFL jerseys, watching games and asking their moms to explain the job of a linebacker.

And maybe someday, when they grow up wanting to be sports columnists — when the inevitable blitz comes — they won’t have to check their blind side.

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