West Coast Diversion: the Oregon Fans vs Kevin Love (UCLA)
In the real Division I basketball world, where games matter and the fans hope for the NCAA Tournament…
Last night’s game between Oregon and UCLA, an 80-75 victory for the Bruins at Oregon’s Mac Court in Eugene, was famously nasty, with the Duck fans in the student section (aka the Pit) yelling insults, cussing about Kevin Love’s sexual orientation and weight, his father who dissed Oregon coach Ernie Kent after Love committed to UCLA, calling his cell phone previous to and during the game…
My friend Molly, a sharp writer, former west coast correspondent on the old blog Six Star Camp, and serious Oregon Duck fan (who texted me to gloat about having tickets to this one) writes about the Oregon Pit’s behavior, and tells me exactly what the reported “insults” to Kevin Love were:
It’s times like this I get momentarily embarrassed to be a sports fan. Sure, there were the requisite bad calls, and it’s kind of funny how Kevin Love is apparently unable to get called for a foul … until it doesn’t count. And by now I’m used to the Pit Crew yelling ” … SUCKS!” after each opposing player is announced. And, OK, I get that they resent that Love went to UCLA instead of UO (though if I’m being honest and not a fan, c’mon, now, really. UCLA is a regular Final Four team. Oregon made the tournament – and the Elite Eight – last year for the first time in something like five years).
But you know what? I don’t care. That doesn’t make it OK that the student section (and lord knows how many adults) were chanting, “Love’s a faggot!” when he first came out. It’s not much of an improvement that they switched to “Love’s a pussy!” later. It turned my stomach. And all that’s being reported – at least all I’ve seen on ESPN – is that the crowd yelled “insults.” I thought that was the kind of bullshit that a school would get called on. It was foul and unpleasant and much as I dislike the Bruins, I’ve got to give that kid some credit; when he got interviewed later he was as calm and stoic as he’d been on the court (no Baron Davis antics here).
It makes me angry that this sort of thing goes unremarked upon in sports circles. I hope that before we turned on the radio, Ernie Kent gave fans a tongue-lashing, but even if he did, they wouldn’t listen; people don’t have a lot of respect for him right now. And I don’t have a lot of respect for those fans.
(Good things about the night: the huge outpouring of love for Aaron Brooks, who was in the crowd. Maarty Leunen holding his own, for the most part, against Love. Joevan Catron being back in the game. Getting tickets in the first place; hurrah for that!)
The student section for sure [were chanting], but I’d bet they weren’t the only ones. I mean .. sometimes, people are sheep. Sigh. Also, I’ve never seen quite so many yellow-shirted Pit Crew students at a game as this one. They’d turn their backs when Love walked out onto the court. Which was actually kind of funny. There was also a lot of epic booing. Those things, I’m fine with; the others, well, not so much.
I know people get in a froth about their teams, but damn, show a little class.