Street Talk Boo-gate

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The fans at M&T Stadium made national headlines when they booed the Ravens stagnant offense during a 23-17 playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the first round of the AFC playoffs.

Some of the players were upset that the catcalls were directed at rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. A few fans even began clamoring for Joe Flacco to enter the game.

Jackson took the high road and said he was not bothered by the reaction. The Ravens offense was struggling to move the ball and were down 20-3 before mounting a spirited comeback in the fourth quarter.

“We still love the fans,” Jackson said. “They’re going to come fill up seats for us. It was a hard finish. They were looking for better in us. We didn’t perform well. It happens sometimes.”

Booing is always a controversial issue.

Many players accept that fans paid a lot of money to attend a game, and therefore, have every right to voice their dissatisfaction with the performance on the field. 

Besides, there are more important issues to worry about inside the lines than what is happening in the stands. 

“I’ve been there,” backup quarterback Robert Griffin III said.  “I’ve experienced that, and the one thing I would say to the fans is [that] they’re the reason we have a job. So, it’s hard to be critical of them. They just want us to be better. In those moments, you can’t take it personal. You have to understand that when you have a guy [Joe Flacco] who has been here for 11 years, won a Super Bowl, been a Super Bowl MVP, and things aren’t going too great early on in the game or in the third quarter, yes, maybe some fans might chant for that guy.

“I’ve had it happen for a guy who wasn’t a Super Bowl MVP or any of that stuff. It’s something that you just can’t take personal, and we were sitting there right next to [Jackson], telling him, ‘Don’t worry about that.’ As soon as he throws a touchdown pass or runs for a 10-yard gain, when he ran for 50 yards in the backfield, everyone’s going to be cheering, and that’s what it comes down to.”

Other players take the booing personally. Some of the Ravens were especially upset that the cat-calls were directed at a rookie quarterback that won six of seven games to end the season and steered the Ravens into the playoffs. 

“It definitely did bother me,” left tackle Ronnie Stanley said the day after the game. “As a football player, an athlete, a competitor, [we] sacrifice our whole lives to be in this position. We love our fans and everything they’ve done for us, but there are going to be good times and there are going to be bad times, and we expect your support in all of those times. If you’re not going to support us, then you’ve really got to question yourself on that one.”

This is not the first time M&T Bank Stadium made headlines because of the fans’ reaction. In September 2005, the fans appeared to cheer when struggling quarterback Kyle Boller was injured during a 24-7 loss to the Colts. This incident was particularly upsetting to some of the players.

“I love the fans of Baltimore but that was a little bit classless,” former defensive end Tony Weaver said after the game. “Kyle is our guy. He is our quarterback and we are going to stand by him.”

Booing is part of professional sports. When there is a high-stakes game and the home team is not performing well, the fans need some type of outlet for their frustration.

The booing is at least better than getting into fights, which unfortunately also made headlines

You certainly cannot say that Ravens fans lack passion. 

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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