Adam Jones wrong to label Orioles fans choosing to voice displeasure as “fools”

April 05, 2012 | Luke Jones

Adam Jones wrong to label Orioles fans choosing to voice displeasure as “fools”

For those who’ve followed my work at WNST.net over the last three years, you know I rarely insert myself into a story.

It’s not my style and, frankly, I prefer keeping the focus on the topic at hand.

But I do feel the need to offer my first-hand account of comments made by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones that sparked plenty of controversy and dialogue via social media on Thursday afternoon.

When asked about the spectacle of Opening Day by another reporter, Jones began describing the event before shifting his attention to those aiming to voice their displeasure with the state of the organization.

“I was reading my Twitter earlier and I saw this thing with ‘Occupy Eutaw Street,’ these fools, or something trying to create a walkout or something in this ballpark,” Jones said.

Surprised by his word choice in describing fans involved with the movement — which is not affiliated with WNST.net and has a Facebook page of over 600 people — I then saw Jones look in my direction as he continued on.

“And you work for that station — I don’t care — but I’ve seen ['Free The Birds'] going on a lot.”

Prepared to ask him a question about Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta — and I did a few moments later — I wasn’t about to use that time to enter a dialogue as the rest of the media was gathered around his locker. I didn’t take the comment personally, nor do I think Jones was trying to embarrass me in front of fellow media members.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Jones was wrong to label fans choosing to participate in initiatives aiming to seek change in the organization as “fools.” A professional athlete should never demean fans unless responding to threatening behavior or an overtly personal attack.

Regardless of what feelings Jones or anyone else may harbor toward WNST.net and its personalities, there are fans who support initiatives such as “Free The Birds” and “Occupy Eutaw Street” with no ties whatsoever to the company and no perceived reason to have a hidden agenda. Many of those supporters continue to invest hard-earned money and emotions into the Orioles while voicing their disenchantment.

It’s not my place or anyone else’s to determine how a “true” fan should support his or her team, but anyone with any tangible ties to the Orioles over the last 15 years is certainly entitled to express frustration as long as it’s done in a peaceful manner.

To his credit, Jones issued an apology via his official Twitter account for referring to those involved as “fools.” And in fairness to him and any other member of the current team, it’s impossible for them to fully understand fans’ feelings — and may take it as a slight to them personally as a result  — just as fans can’t comprehend the mental grind of playing professionally for a losing team over the course of a 162-game season.

In his first four years in Baltimore, Jones has been a true gamer, someone who always plays with full effort and takes losing as hard as anyone in the Orioles clubhouse. And speaking as a member of the press, I respect Jones’ willingness to speak to reporters after games — win or lose — on a consistent basis, which hasn’t been the case with some of his teammates over the last few years.

It doesn’t change the fact that he made a mistake on Thursday, but Jones can atone for it by continuing to put forth the same effort in 2012 that he always has. And fans will continue to appreciate him for it.

Ultimately, fans can choose to consume Orioles baseball however they see fit as long as it doesn’t become personal or threatening to anyone else involved. And they shouldn’t be judged for it, as fans and players alike ultimately strive for the same goal of winning.

That’s my personal take as I will now turn my attention back to Opening Day and the start of the baseball season.

 

 

 

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Says:

    I agree with Adam, but I can see the other side too. Personally, I don’t think that whining about the Orioles and not going to games is a good way for me to support the Orioles. Fans certainly have the right to demand a better team and not go to games if they so choose. Whether or not that is a productive way of being a fan is up for debate, but personally, that’s not my style.

    The only way anyone’s keeping me from going to the Yard and cheering my team is if you kill me. I love the Orioles too much to give up on them. Am I extremely disappointed and at times mad at the Orioles organization? Definitely. I honestly considered giving up my season tickets after the Orioles no-showed the Brooks Robinson statue unveiling. But I still go to games as often as I can and cheer for my team. It’s all that I can do to support the O’s in a time when they need it the most. Let’s all put our differences aside, and support the O’s in whatever way each of us sees fit, as long as nobody interferes with other fans supporting the O’s in whatever way they see fit.

    (L.J. – Appreciate the comments and your opinion, Dave. And I agree with your general take about fans choosing how to support the team.)

  2. Bill Says:

    How would you like to bust your tail every night in front of one of the smallest crowds in the MLB and then read about how people want to protest your team. I’m sorry I agree totally with Adam Jones here. And let’s be honest here some members of this rado station, not you per say, have called people who support the team unwillingly some names as well. But then again I am just an “apologist” for the team.

  3. bigkat Says:

    Well Bill what would you call this mess that has been the Orioles over the past 15 years, As a fan for 38 years this is B.S., I don’t like paying 8 dollars for a beer and 20 plus dollars for a ticket, 10 for parking, and 3 dollars a month MASN for this mess that is a baseball team. BILL, don’t we deserve better than Pirates or Royals fans, your just okay with losing. YOU ARE A PART OF THE PROBLEM. Would you allow this type of product out of anything else in your life, if you went a restaurant that charged big money for crappy food, would you return, if private school that you pay alot of money for; did not educate your child, would you continue to send your child there, same concept. this team has lost this town and we paid for them to do it with our hard earned money and I’am tired of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Chris Says:

    I feel bad for Jones. He simply trying to stick for the teammates around him. He knows they suck, but he also wants to be a good teammate. It was also right of him to apologize afterwards.

    Now on to the organization. They’re terrible and they’re never going to have a shot to get better until Angelos dies (and let’s hope it’s a slow and painful one). Even then we either have to hope his sons are better people than him or just want to be done with it and decide to sell to someone who cares.

  5. barnyard Says:

    Jones is correct, we are all fools to pay good money to watch a bad product that makes good money for a bad person & waaayyyy overpaid athletes. It’s spring & the usual crowd is dring the orange kool aid again. Such fools…..Would love to see an empty stadiun night after night. Perhaps the short one would actually do someting to improve the team or sell it. It has never done anything for me personally except to F****k up traffic & parking downtown.

  6. justafan Says:

    Perhaps Jones was calling the fans fools for paying top dollar to watch horse sh-t baseball.

  7. Cliff Says:

    Adam Jones, maybe would be right, if – he was playing in the early 1900′s. Fans would “root, root, root for the home team; if they don’t win it’s a shame”. All players seem to have this naive feeling about the fans: Just sit there and root for your home team – no matter what!

    Well, things have changed. It’s no longer a simple game. It’s big business and entertainment.

    Now it has become “root, root, root for the ‘big dollar star’; the more you have, the better your chances are”. Unfortunately, that game isn’t played by the Orioles. A lot of fans think the Orioles should play that way, here in the 21st century, and have the resources to do so. The Oriole ownership obviously has a different opinion.

    So the average Oriole fan is getting “it” from both sides. So, what is this “simple game” all about???? Is it the “fan’s game”, or is it the “player’s game”, or … is it the “owner’s game”??? All I know is – as an average fan – I am not making $$$millions per year.

  8. Steve Says:

    Even Adam Jones knows whats going on with the front office and with Peter Angelos. And GOD IS AN IDOIT! How come he allows the nicest guy in Baseball Gary Carter to pass away with Cancer and he allows an old misable cheap bat like Peter Angelos to live. It always seem bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I got a better idea. Why not all you people who read this stop going to church on sundays as long Peter Angelos lives. No more donations to GOD until he learns to stop making mistakes let bad people die and keep the decent ones around longer.

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