by Mike Chen on 04/21/09 at 03:08 PM ET
James Mirtle captured a few of the responses (and Greg Wyshynski had a good follow up), both from American and Canadian media, regarding the booing of the Star Spangled Banner last night at the Bell Center. I obviously wasn’t there in person, so I don’t know if TV made it better or worse than it actually was. It’s hard to judge those things because most people are usually respectfully silent during an anthem, so the broadcast might make it seem worse than it actually is.
I think we’ve all seen reports from other playoff series over the years where the loud antics of a disrespectful few wind up misrepresenting the whole group. And firsthand, I was at a Toronto Rock game years ago where the people behind me loudly booed the Star Spangled Banner, and I’ve also seen alcohol-fueled idiots at HP Pavilion boo Oh Canada. It’s the same stupidity, just painted with a different flag, and I’m betting the masses stayed respectfully quiet, just like most of the Toronto fans did at that Rock game and most of the fans do at HP Pavilion (though a lot of Sharks fans tend to sing along with Oh Canada—hey, it’s a good song).
I get the feeling that Montreal fans don’t hate American Mike Komisarek just like those Sharks fans I saw years ago don’t hate the bevy of Canadian-born players in San Jose. And those same booing Montreal fans probably enjoy a vacation in New York City or Las Vegas as much the other guy. The lesson here? Alcohol mixed with testosterone can often lead to stupidity, and how that stupidity is expressed takes all sorts of creative shapes: booing anthems or starting incomprehensible screaming matches after a home loss.
It’s disrespectful, dumb, and just plain not cool. Is it unexpected? Unfortunately, no. I think as long as there are anthems sung at sporting events, you’re going to have at least a few bad apples ruining a city’s reputation for everyone else. Isn’t that always how it is?
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