Fan Entitlement

Written by Posted On Friday, 11 June 2021 00:00

In the movie “Finding Forester” William  Forester (played by the late Sean Connery) asks Jamal Wallace (played by actor Rob Brown) if, at the end of his high school championship game played in Madison Square Garden, when Wallace had two free throws, which he missed, but would have won the game, “Did you miss ‘em or did you miss ‘em?” as if on purpose. For Wallace, it was a matter of integrity.

Let’s pose the same question for our professional athletes. Did the professional athletes miss not having fans in the stands while the pandemic kept them sheltered in? Or did they miss them? While it was widely said that NBA players and professional golfers would prefer to have the stands and fairway sidelines packed with fans, were they really missed? Did the players play with less intensity or effort without the fans? Is this an integrity issue as the one faced by Jamal Wallace in the aforementioned movie?

Let’s make the case that it is an integrity issue! Why is that? Did the raucous golf crowd at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island make it uncomfortable to compete fairly for Phil Mickelson or Brooks Koepka on the walk up the 18th fairway? Yes, you can make the point that although Mickelson was leading and did win. How uncomfortable were they in a crowd that, at least on television, looked out of control? Were the fans entitled to be on the course?

It’s been a U.S. Open policy to allow fans (most PGA golf tournaments do not) to follow the leading golfer(s) up the 18th on the final round. This “mob” (as the late sportscaster Jack Whittaker would have said) appeared to be out of control. The players were even jostled as they walked toward the 18th green. Surely, that U.S. Open policy is being examined.

On another fan issue. The Philadelphia Sixers ejected a Sixers fan and later denied his admission to the Wells Fargo Center, the home arena of the Sixers, for throwing popcorn at and onto Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards as he exited the game. The Sixers lost that game.

Further, a disgruntled fan threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets star point guard as Irving was leaving the playing floor following the Nets 125-119 win over the Celtics at the TD Garden, home of the Boston Celtics. Whether the fan was angry at Irving for stomping on the Celtics logo or not, throwing objects at players is way out of line!

Will you log-in about the entitlements of fans at sporting events?

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Dr. Jim Tunney

Jim Tunney had an exemplary career in sports. A former high school coach, teacher, principal and district superintendent, he had a 40-year career in officiating football and basketball.

Thirty-one of those years he was an NFL Referee working a record twenty-nine post-season games including four Super Bowls, ten NFC/AFC Championship games, six Pro Bowls and twenty-five Monday Night Games.

He officiated some of the most memorable games in NFL history. His book Impartial Judgment: “The Dean of NFL Referees” Calls Pro Football As He Sees It, chronicles his NFL career.

As a Professional Speaker, he is Past President of The National Speakers Association and a Charter Member of its most prestigious group – The CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame. Jim holds every professional designation of the NSA, including the Oscar of Professional Speaking – The Cavett. NSA named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Tunney (a doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California) continues to serve his community as  Trustee Emeritus of both Monterey Peninsula College and York School; where he once served as Headmaster. In 1993, he founded the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation to support local community programs that develop leadership, work skills, wellness and self-esteem in youth. He and his wife Linda live in Pebble Beach, California. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.

As an author he has written and/or co-authored thirteen books: Impartial Judgment, Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Speaking Secrets of the Masters, You Can Do It!, Super Bowl Sunday, Insights into Excellence, Lessons in Leadership, Build a Better You and his most recent book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill.

If you are looking for a keynote speaker who educates, motivates and entertains with a lifetime of stories about leadership, team building and sports 831-595-3258.

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