During last week's Duke vs. Miami game that was IN CORAL GABLES, a former Duke student and current MIAMI grad student felt she was not treated well sitting in the student section during the Hurricanes' 90-63 drubbing of the Blue Devils. In fact, Michelle Picon felt so offended, it compelled her to write to the Duke Chronicle about her experience at the game.
Picon's editorial does nothing but feed into the reputation Duke fans have for being pretentious, condescending, and having some sort of superiority complex because they go to Duke. Yes, Duke is an excellent school and yes, Duke has an excellent basketball team. But that's not enough to justify the behavior of its fan base nor is it an excuse for Picon's ridiculous letter.
"Our group of six—five current Miami medical students and one law student—comprised that spot of blue in a sea of orange, the calm and collected eye in the middle of the Hurricanes."
She is a Miami student wearing Duke clothes sitting in the Miami student section - what was she expecting to happen? And please - "the calm and collected eye?" More like the subdued and quiet eye because their team was getting curbstomped. If the score were reversed, would this letter even exist?
She goes on:
"Although we somehow walked away unscathed, our treatment at the hands of the Miami student body, mascot and senior administration was even more disparaging than the whooping our boys received on the court."
The mascot? The mascot has far more important things to do, but okay.
It gets better:
"My classmates and I had been in line for the game for hours when the Dean of Students first appeared. He expressed his disbelief at our Duke apparel, and continued to express his disapproval even after we explained we were former Duke students excited to watch our team, and had no intention of actively cheering against Miami. He told us condescendingly that he would allow us to remain in the student line, but he assured us that on behalf of President Donna Shalala, they were not going to let us easily into this game to cheer for Duke in the front of the Miami student section. I assumed he was just giving us a hard time. After all, we are tuition-paying Miami students who were waiting near the front of the student line in accordance with all the correct university policies."
"In accordance with all the correct university policies"? Is she kidding? This is not a police report! And no one was suggesting that she and her friends WERE breaking rules. This is the type of uppity discourse they're known for - it's all formal with them. But why didn't she and her friends just buy tickets for the visiting section instead of lining up in Duke gear to sit with Miami students? They were laying themselves out as bait. Did they expect the Dean to sit down with them and offer them a spot of tea?
"Ladies and gentlemen, I f—ing kid you not, the Dean of Students and the Vice President of Student Affairs stood between us and the stadium, allowing dozens of people to pass us in line as they lectured us on our apparently deplorable and wildly unacceptable desire to show support for our home team. Four-plus years as Cameron Crazies, hard-earned Duke degrees and constitutionally protected freedom of speech notwithstanding, senior administrators of the undergraduate campus dared scold us for wearing Duke blue to a basketball game. The catty, disparaging and immature attitude they displayed during this exchange was astounding. The fact that not one, but two top university officials felt the need to bully six graduate students and attempt to punish us for a lack of “school spirit” suggests an unfathomable depth of insecurity."
I hate to break it to Ms. Picon, but her letter is exposing her as catty, disparaging and immature - not to mention insecure. She's writing this letter as if she's above everyone at the University of Miami, the very attitutde she is reeling against in her letter. Also, maybe she didn't get the memo, but Miami is private and therefore her freedom of speech probably doesn't apply. But even if it did - she and her friends got into the game, so what's the issue?
In September of 2010, a group of my Miami friends and I made the trek to Columbus, OH for the Miami vs. Ohio State game. In Miami gear. And we were heckled, yelled at, insulted, and photo bombed:
But we went there fully expecting that type of treatment. We were not thinking Ohio State fans would embrace our presence or buy us shots. Wait, I lied - an Ohio State fan DID buy me a shot because he said he felt so bad for me because of how badly our team was going to lose - hey, he was a jerk about it, but who am I to turn down a free shot? Anyway - that type of behavior is standard when wearing the away team's gear in the home team's town. If Ms. Picon had ever left Durham in her "four-plus years as a Cameron Crazy" she would know that.
Instead, she did the most Duke thing ever. Wear Duke gear in an opposing team's student section and then complain about the experience of wearing Duke gear in an opposing team's student section.
Picon ends with this little gem:
"But I walked away from that game ashamed and embarrassed to be even remotely associated with the Miami undergraduates. Although Duke played the worst game I have ever seen, I am still proud to call myself a Blue Devil. This experience only served to deepen my appreciation and respect for Cameron Crazies, an exemplary group of boisterous, witty and dedicated supporters—the sixth man, a true fan indeed.
I'm confused - isn't she a graduate student and therefore NOT associated with Miami undergraduates? You cannot tell me that when Duke plays UNC the Duke fan base is "exemplary" towards UNC students. Is this just an instance where Duke fans prove they can heckle but not be heckled? In the world of college sports, you really have to have a thicker skin than that.
Whether Picon's account of her experience was 100% accurate or had the burn of an awful loss coming through, the truth is that, unfortunately, that type of behavior is expected, and common, and something I am SURE Duke fans have exhibited in the past. To claim they are above that type of treatment once again does nothing but prove the reputations they have are accurate. Apparently it wasn't just Dick Vitale that had trouble accepting what happened that night.
And this is what she must mean by "exemplary" http://www.yardbarker.com/all_sports/articles/msn/nc_state_tyler_lewis_grandmother_just_died_so_duke_fans_chant_hows_your_grandma/12867799
@revafriedel A.) This rumor was proven to be false. We should stick with facts.
B.) Even if were true it doesn't condone bad conduct toward opposing fans and doesn't nullify the young lady's point.
C.) Lastly, to spout back with a story that, if it were by chance true, would. Also be inappropriate belies an attitude that doesn't further the discussion constructively, but provokes it by attacking schools and people rather than the problem. No one ever said the problem was limited to Miami and/or Duke. And your Belief that the fans of her school are not "exemplary" does not dsqualify her from being justified and correct to bring it to light. Neither does her opinion of the affirmative or the negative.
Her treatment during the game is fair game as long as she wasn't abused or degraded. I would expect it, in fact... these six probably assumed Duke comes out with a victory and they can be the jerks trash talking.The stuff before the game in line is absolutely out of line by the University. That much is true.
As for the question about whether or not her allegiance to Duke is why she's whining, no it's not. It's because she's probably a fake fan and doesn't understand how things work.
The fact that as a society we now advise people to EXPECT to be treated with hostility over the color of their shirts and the allegiance of their rooting interest shows just how degraded our society is. The point isn't whether the student is a Duke fan, or another po-dunk university from no where. The fact that this author and, frankly, our sports society as a whole condones this sort of behavior towards rival fans is why we have the incidents such as the one at the Dodgers-SF Giants game last year. It's ignorant to heckle fans. Chear for your team and let them chear for their team. It's why families can no longer attend sporting events.
Honestly? Chalking this up to a Duke person's reputation is irresponsible and borderline bigoted. There are fathers out there everywhere who would agree with this young lady. Perhaps this lady isn't a "Cameron Crazy" perhaps she's just a "casual" fan who likes to see her team play. She shouldn't have to be afraid to sit with her own classmates in the Miami crowd just because she isn't going to root for the same team. This isn't a testament on Miami, as I know it happens everywhere (and surely at Duke as well) but it's a sad commentary on worthless fanaticism of sport that overwhelms our regard for human decency.
I appreciate the fan bringing it up and feel bad the fact she goes to Duke causes her to get painted with a brush because of the preconceived notions people have of Duke fans. The writer should feel ashamed that the much more important point of the woman's article was missed in favor of writing a hit piece on Duke's reputation of complacency. Probably gets the site more hits, but isn't doing anything for character and reputation and self regard for our neighbor.
Of course if she had any common sense she would know that the Home Team's fans normally boo the Away Team's fans especially if they are 1 of their bitter Rivals which most sports teams have 1-2 of!
I commend the Miami fans on their restraint and dignified behavior in the face of such brazen idiocy.
She's a med student--egads with her lack of common sense I hope I never get treated by her. What a sniveling little crybaby.
Don't care about the fans heckling them; idiots should be expected at any college sporting event and they should have been prepared for that. But come on, you don't think the Dean and VP stopping them isn't just a bit ridiculous (if it's true)?
I am a current Duke student. I think for her to go into the Student section at Miami and not expect a lot of harassment from EVERYONE is crazy!
I went to a bar... in Raleigh.. to watch the Duke V NC State game this year... I wore all my Duke gear; I expected to get jeered... and guess what I did... (Duh). in the finial moments of the game when it was clear State fans were going to storm the court I had asked for my bill and openly said to my friend I didn't want to see them storm so i was going to head out... the waitress stood at the door of the kitchen with my bill in hand and waited until after they had rushed the floor to hand me bill... I saw what happened and she saw me look at her... I laughed.. because since i was in State territory this was all fair game. I got jeered as i left... it was great, it was college sports. Just wanted you all to know not all Duke students cant handle being jeered... If you go into enemy territory... GET OVER YOURSELF!From a fun loving, rival loving, Duke Basketball fan!
just a short list of the things that have happened at Duke
@AlexSherron Although only slightly less classless there is clear distinction between the chants directed at PARTICIPANTS of the game and bystanders as fans. Fans pay to watch, and shouldn't be subjected to the kind of treatment in this article or what is posted at this link. Not everyone shares the same level of fanaticism. Some folks enjoy wearing the colors of their team without the intense fanaticism. They shouldn't feel scared to go watch them in person because of the abuse they will take on the part of other bystanders. That's just a degradation of our human character completely. It's ridiculous.
@sportspagedaily @AlexSherron Wait, she may or may not have caught some crap from University officials (if you think she's giving a perfectly accurate account of what happened, you're as clueless as the woman who attended the game). She never went into any detail on what happened while she was in the student section so we really have no idea how she was treated. Nor did she ever say she was scared to go watch them in person, so I'm having a hard time finding a point to your comment.
@kmart93 @AlexSherron Excellent. All the more reason for you to be supportive then. Reading this article on it's own without the background information about her being from Duke wouldn't yield that. Frankly, if all she showed was a little condescension then she may have shown good restraint here. We don't know everything that happened, and we don't know this person. We should be giving people the benefit of the doubt, not "taking them to task" on issues this important. Whether you can to hold to your opinion of her condescension or not that doesn't make her a stereotypical Duke Fan. It makes her a human being. Granted I guarantee she's imperfect, but yet still able to deliver a message that is important and one that we should be listening to. It's the same in politics. We get so busy attacking people and not messages that we miss the big picture. Condescending people have a right to watch a game without the threat of violence to. Even, dare I say, a condescending Duke fan. Yikes.
@kmart93 @AlexSherron The fact that this student is presented as a pretentious brat for being intelligent in the way she presented the situation just speaks even worse of the situation. It doesn't matter if there were any "lines" crossed. The point is, we should be defining the lines! The important conversation to be had in sports culture and the opportunity for this author would have been to discuss the lines! Where is the line? How have we as a sports culture made it a habit to expect opposing fans to cross the line and how we often condone it or ignore it. That's the truth, that's an article I can respect.
There is nothing pretentious about what the woman said. She clearly laid out what happened in the situation. Frankly, some of the folks on this web site should take note. When did becoming intelligent make you the object of ridicule? She's a medical student, that's how they talk. I want my medical students to talk precisely in that way because I may have to trust them with my life one day! Let's not make sports a no intelligence zone. The author jumped on this "pretentious" bandwagon because it's a stereotype of Duke fans. It's stereotyping, plain and simple. And frankly when we start stereotyping people based on where they come from or what they school they attend(ed) we begin to miss the content of their message, and the bigger picture overall. The comments on this article are a perfect example. It's taken a conversation that's vitally important to have in this era and culture and turned it into a "rag on the pretentious Duke fan!" Really? Is that who we are now? We do quick hits making fun of people who we see as different than us or have stereotyped into a box WE created for them, rather than taking the time to think through how we can really solve issues. It's of poor taste. There are some things we can all laugh at, but when people are being hurt and violence is getting worse then the joke is over. Unless the author wants to make fun of her for her high SAT or working at a children's hospital next? "Oh the horrible pretentious institutions that instruct these people. Oh those horrible pretentious doctors whose precise mode of talking and acting keeps us alive when we need them for surgery. But how dare they expect to go to a sporting event. If they want to be that precise they should just stay home." C'mon, really? None of us know this person and we've pigeonholed her based on where she went to school, and her IQ level at the expense of an issue that is not funny at all.
I agree that it seems we're seeing a lot more fan violence these days, and that's troubling. But there's no indication here that anyone crossed a line.
You can be picky about your details. You can play the "we don't have all the facts in this case game" and I agree, we don't. I'm not condemning Miami, and I'm not judging guilt or innocence here. Neither am I absolving Duke fans from that kind of behavior because I, frankly, don't know what goes on there either. However, what I do know is that a man was critically hurt and almost died after a SF Giants - LA Dodgers game, and there are numerous reports of fights after NFL games etc. Just do your research it's everywhere. The days of making light of this should be over. When our allegiance to a team overwhelms our responsibility for human decency for folks who may not be as emotionally invested in a sport then we have a society have degraded severely. Unfortunately, our society is already there, just look at the lack of ability to keep human decency in folks who have different views on politics, religion or anything. It shouldn't surprise us then that we can't be civil as sporting events either. It's even worse to condone it and belittle a University and an individual who tries to call attention to it.
Again you can pick at your details about exactly what she said, whether she's scared or not and whether she was actually mistreated by Miami fans on that night. But I'll tell you this, looking at the big picture you can't disagree, it's not good. I won't be taking my children to sporting events away from home and it's unfortunate. I should be able to give them the cool experience even if it's in a hostile environment, however that can't happen anymore. The point is, even if what the young lady said isn't entirely true and even if she wrote it to a group of loving Blue Devils, no one should be making light of it and certainly not bringing in social stereotypes about Duke. It's very callous, much like our sports culture has become.
And that's unfortunate, because there are some of us who do love it, but love it for the entertainment value of the game not the need to belittle and potentially harm others who may have a different rooting interest. Those folks are now watching at home.
Here's a link to the USA Today story regarding the poor man who was brutally attacked for wearing the "wrong hat" to a baseball game.
Yeah, the author of this horrible post is definitely right and this poor baseball fan is just a whiny baby too. If that's the case, I want to be lumped in with the whiny babies and stay as far away from the callous and coarse society we are turning into.