Just an early Tuesday morning diatribe while floating in the wake of an ugly Bears loss, during which the team looked disinterested in playing even average football.
For those of you that were at home as I was, Fox 32′s Lou Canellis interviewed legendary Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher before the game. As most of us know, after beginning his career as a darling of the NFL and Bears fans, reaping many benefits from this, Urlacher has become somewhat sour over the last three years.
Canellis pointed out that Urlacher has taken a lot of criticism the last few years, after being injured multiple times, not as effective as he had been in 2006 and before, and muscled his way into receiving a large contract extension (his second such large extension) prior to the 2008 season. How did Urlacher feel about this, Cannellis asked?
“I could care less” [what the fans think], Urlacher said.
OK, Brian, here’s my perspective. You reaped the benefits adorned on you by the fans, earning you somewhere around $65 or $70 million dollars in your career before a single endorsement is considered, and those were also ample. Sure, you are extremely talented, but if not for fans shelling out their money, your kind of talent would not have secured you generational wealth to the degree that if you manage it properly, no Urlacher will ever have to hold a normal job again.
I realize you have a right to your opinions and feelings, and if I were in your position I’d probably be sick of 11 years of constant scrutiny too. But what you said is a slap in the face to someone like me. In my opinion, you owe it to the fans, who have given you this wealth, to be slightly more politically correct publicly.
I am the last fan to put athletes on a pedestal. I have never looked at any athlete as a hero or role model, outside of Brian Piccolo and Walter Payton. So I don’t expect them to be shining examples of good guys for the most part, unfortunately. But in my opinion, highly paid athletes do owe it to their fans to at least be respectful to the smallest degree for what we have given them. They don’t have to be nice, they don’t have to be good guys. But they shouldn’t be an ass to the fans, either.
Unfortunately, I have to say the fact that Urlacher “could care less” what the fans think of him, this brings me one small step closer to writing professional sports off. Each time I spend my limited money to see a product like was trotted out on Saturday, and their players slap their fans in the face as Urlacher’s comments did, I am honestly coming closer to the day when I truck my immense collection of Bears memorabilia to a field somewhere, have a nice bonfire, and never look back.
Thanks, Brian. I will never wear your jersey again and will see to it that as many others as possible never do either.