Thursday, June 22, 2017

Felony rooting

There are rules to this sports deal, you know.

If you live in Indiana, you can cheer for Purdue or you can cheer for Indiana, but you can't cheer for both unless you have kids going to both schools.

Also, even if you're not a Colts fan, at least don't be a jackass and root for the Patriots.

Also, do not -- DO NOT -- wear opposing team gear to an NFL game in Philadelphia, Oakland, New England, probably Cleveland and probably Pittsburgh (especially if you're wearing Browns gear in Pittsburgh or Steelers gear in Cleveland). This is especially true if you're sitting in the nosebleeds, aka, the People's Republic of Drunk.

Violating these rules could get you beat up. It could get beer thrown on you. It might even land you in jail if you get caught up in a drunken melee, which is sort of the unofficial national pastime in the aforementioned Republic of Drunk.

It's unlikely you'll go to prison for life, however.

This apparently can happen in India, it seems, if you get caught cheering for Pakistan's cricket team. (Yes, that's right, cricket. Wicked googlies, silly mid-offs, incomprehensible scoring. All that.) Fifteen people were arrested the other day in central Madhya Pradesh because they were cheering and throwing firecrackers to celebrate Pakistan's victory over India in the Champions Trophy cricket final. That this was largely a product of age-old religious strife -- the fans, like much of Pakistan itself, were Muslim, and the people who turned them in were, like much of India, Hindu -- doesn't change the fact they now face sedition and criminal conspiracy charges because they cheered for the wrong team.

This seems a tad over the top, to say the least. But again, we're not seeing it through the prism of people who've been at each other's throats over religion since the partitioning of India 70 years ago. Enough blood has been spilled since by both sides to render any appeal to rationality fruitless.

It does, however, give Americans who think we take sports too seriously some vital context.

I mean, come on. Joe Iggles Fan in Philly gets drunk and starts pounding on the poor dope in the Eli Manning jersey, he gets thrown in the slam to dry out, and maybe faces an assault beef. He doesn't get charged with sedition and criminal conspiracy.

Although the next time the USC band desecrates the Cathedral of Football -- aka Notre Dame Stadium -- with their annoying fight song, the many lawyers among the Domeheads might be tempted to give it a whirl.

Bleeping Trojans, anyway.

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