I have been reading a few articles mentioning fans being to harsh on the Boks and coaches, with some mentioning just how bad the advent of social media is on players and coaches alike. In a way I agree that it must be difficult to read on blogs and social media just how bad the public think the players are and it must hit home surely. We’ve seen Proudfoot come out and say they think nothing of criticism and that they meet as a group and only think of that, not what reporters and player say.
Some articles have even gone as far as asking if these faceless voices have ever coached or played the game themselves, suggesting that if you haven’t reached the highest level, your voice should stay silent. That is a problem for me. Rugby has always been a sport for everyone. A sport that ignites passion and excitement. A game that can drive you to tears of joy, or shouts of complaints.
Just the other day at the Boks vs Aussies game, a fan sitting behind me was shouting his frustration at the players on the field and another fan questioned why if he knows so much, he is not on the field. My question to this is simple, what do these people want?
Do they want passionless fans sitting in the stadium, politely clapping when something goes right, but staying silent when something goes wrong? Do they want fans to stay away from the stadium, not buy merchandise and generally just not give a hoot? That would be a sad day and the day professional rugby dies. Without money from fans, without fans at stadiums or watching at home and getting excited enough to share their opinions, there would be no sponsors.
My advice to these writers, coaches and players complaining, is grow a pair. Take the criticism with the compliments. The fans are the reason you earn big bucks, the reason blogs like this and many others exist. Until you find a model where my hard earned money is not needed for you to be paid to play, coach or write about the game I love, live with my criticism. Or live with a dying profession and find a second job.