Colts' Fans Definitely Shouldn't Have Boo'd Andrew Luck, but I'm Not Exactly Sure What They Should Have Done
I think it pretty much goes without saying that it’s a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad look for a fanbase to boo a selfless teammate and leader who gave his body and, apparently, his self-worth/peace of mind to a franchise that proved wildly undeserving it for the better part of a career cut short.
What does bear mentioning, however, is that it’s also a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad look for a superstar to have his early, unexpected, and untimely retirement leak while he’s ON THE SIDELINE in front of thousands of fans that had the return on their investment into season tickets scorched to ashes by receiving devastating news during a practice game that’s supposed to predominantly serve as the peak of offseason optimism.
Andrew Luck obviously didn’t plan on being in a position so obnoxiously awkward that it would make Larry David dig a hole for his head. However, the circumstances caused by the insatiability of social media didn’t just put him in that situation. They also put the people who paid a full ticket price (or 10-15x the actual value of the product on the field) for what ended up being the most shockingly unfulfilling sports experience of their entire life in that situation.
To clarify, if I were a Colts’ fan I couldn’t personally envision myself booing a player who undoubtedly just made the most difficult decision of his life after sacrificing the vast majority of his professional potential to an organization that was blissfully ignorant of its own incompetence for far too long. That’s partially because I find the act itself to be that of a drunken caveman and partially because my ability to utter sound probably would have temporarily departed my body along with my violently extracted soul. That being said, a well-deserved round of applause would have fallen behind two dozen depression beers at 25th on the list of rounds I felt up for participating in.
The truth of the matter is that there is no wrong time to do what’s right for yourself, so credit has to go to Andrew Luck for pushing aside an ungodly amount of peer pressure in refusing to put a price tag on his health and happiness. Prioritizing both your family and your long-term future while presently entrenched in a billion dollar business in which you’re widely worshiped is as commendable as it is rare. He earned every last dollar he made in getting bludgeoned into bi-monthly body scans behind an offensive line that, for years, was only addressed from in-house with “hey, at least you tried”, and in doing so reinforced his right to walk away from what is nothing more than a game when it stopped fulfilling him as much as frustrating him.
Still, we are talking about someone who is retiring prior to the age of the 30 with the Fort Knox equivalent of financial security in part due to the same fanaticism that saw him leaving the field for the final time to a chorus of half-baffled boos. Never mind that the emotional and overly invested idiots that couldn't help but get caught up in such a morose moment were likely "speaking" to an unfathomable organizational failure as much as they were the main victim of it. There's an inherent stupidity that comes with placing such an obsessive value on the athletic achievements of people in a particular uniform and it's one that drives both profit and popularity. In simpler terms, fandom makes people act irrationally, and that doesn't even take into account that the fans in question were hardly granted any time to accept an announcement that was universally stupefying throughout the entire sports world.
I’m certainly not blaming Andrew Luck for getting Schefter'd in making official the end to his thankless, rinse-and-repeat process of constant rehab, nor am I endorsing the actions of the people that took part in such an undeniably cringeworthy display of disrespect towards him. What I am doing is saying that I get how such a completely FUBAR'd farewell that seemingly came out of nowhere and cratered the otherwise realistic championship hopes of the home crowd two weeks before the kickoff to what was presenting itself to be a promising season wasn’t a fond one. It's far more important to be sympathetic to the plight of Andrew Luck as a person, but those outside Indianapolis can hop off their high horse in acting like his decision to stop being a player is one that should have been fully absorbed, understood, and embraced by his most impassioned fans in the time it took literally everyone else to triple-check to make sure they weren’t being trolled on twitter.