Jan 082010
 
Here's your sign!

Here's your sign!

“What is crude, crass, classless, Alex.”

(Answer to the Jeopardy question: “What are the three best words to describe a typical Philadelphia Eagles fan?”)

So, Pulitzer candidate and editor of PhiladelphiaEagles.com Dave Spadaro hocked a loogie on the hallowed midfield Star at Cowboys Stadium before last Sunday afternoon’s game, recorded it on his web cam, and posted it to the Eagles’ website, thus forever endearing himself to the City of Brotherly Lust-For-Just-One-Super Bowl-Win-Please.

This from a representative of the organization whose classless coach Buddy Ryan once ordered to fake taking a knee in a game they had well in hand, and then fire a touchdown pass, adding insult to injury. This from the team whose fans gathered in mind-numbing temperatures in that toilet known as Veteran’s stadium to spit on opposing teams and pelt their players and coaches with everything from snowballs to batteries.

Dallas media outlets are trying to get as much mileage as possible out of what some of them have dubbed “SpitGate.” I have perused some of their articles to bring you the best of reader feedback on the subject.

From nbcdfw.com: “His Mom probably spit at him as a child for being a Philly’s fan!”

From DallasNews.com: “If your parents wouldn’t be proud, don’t do it. Of course in Philadelphia, that could be the wrong qualifier.”

From WFAA.com: “You stay classy, Philadelphia.”

Another from WFAA.com: “As grandparent to many I don’t see why is this a big deal. He made the mess, he needs to clean it up, the whole field, by himself, after the next game. I’ll even donate the toothbrush. Stupid kids with their videos and cellcamophone things.”

Apparently embarrassed by Spadaro’s actions, the Eagles’ brass forced him to offer an apology that at least had the appearance of sincerity. Here is what he came up with:

“As you may have seen, I went too far with my Spudcam video prior to Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. Acting alone, and without permission from the Eagles organization, I walked out to the middle of the field at Cowboys Stadium and spit on the Cowboys star, and for that I deeply apologize to the outstanding Cowboys organization and the fine people there, from Jerry Jones to the rest of the team.

It was not my intention to insult the Cowboys. It was my intention to enjoy the spirit of a great sports rivalry, and I clearly went over the line and acted unprofessionally. The Cowboys have always been gracious hosts and I appreciate the relationship I have with the friends I have there.”

(Sniff. Can you hand me that Kleenex, please? I have something in my eye.)

Spadaro’s apology, as elegantly constructed as it was, no doubt only came as the result of pressure put on him to do it. Now, the debate rages over whether he should be fired. I was actually surprised to read comments on Philly.com calling for his firing. It seems he isn’t the most popular figure with some of Philly’s more erudite fans. (I am kidding about the erudite Philly fan thing: I know that is an oxymoron.)

I don’t know what else the guy may have done to warrant being fired or reprimanded or hanged in effigy, but let me take the unexpected position that this whole flap is just silliness. Really. Come on. At the very worst, the spitting incident was frat-boyish and juvenile.

Sure, it is another sign of the deterioration of our society in general and of sportsmanship in particular. Yes, it is a sad commentary on what we have become. OK, it may be another indicator that the era of the gentleman combatant is forever gone, but it is not a sign of the Apocalypse. (Obama’s election is, of course, but not this.)

I was going to write that the city of Philadelphia had deteriorated beyond recognition from the days of the Continental Congress and the city’s greatest-ever citizen, Benjamin Franklin. But when you study American history, you understand that even ole Ben Franklin was considered a bit boorish and crass by many of his contemporaries.

He was also utter genius, pure greatness, and the embodiment of the great American spirit.

So, let’s not write off Franklin’s city or its inhabitants, even if they don’t have any better sense than to root for the Eagles. God forgives all kinds of sins…and besides, they have given us Philly Cheese Steak, which, if I think about hard enough, might cause me to drool on the Star myself.

You say classy, Philadelphia.

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