The 2019 season isn’t easy for Dolphins fans to sit through. Every week, they go to the stadium or turn on the television and expect a loss. In fact, many are actively rooting for losses. The mindset for fans on social media is that losing every game in 2019 will ensure the number one overall pick in the 2020 draft. In other words, exclusive rights to their would-be new franchise quarterback, who many are hoping will be Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. It might also be Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
But controversy erupted on social media when the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson asked some players about the fans’ desire for the Dolphins to lose out. Naturally, no football player who actually cares about the game would purposely try to fail. The very thought has them shaking their heads. However, Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker questioned the fandom of those individuals rooting for losses, even in light of the greater good it would presumably bring.
“You’re not a real fan if you’re rooting for us to lose, no matter what [the reason] is,” Baker said. “We try to win every chance we get. If we come up short, it’s not because we come up short for the future. I’ve seen the tanking and all that. From outside looking in, you essentially think we’re just tanking. But we go out there and try to perform. If you are not performing, they get you out of here. Every guy wants to play well and ultimately stay as long as we can.”
Baker obviously tried to bring it back to the locker room with the second half of his statement. But it was too late, the damage was done. Twitter erupted with fans and analysts arguing both for and against Baker, as evidenced in this thread from Five Reasons’ own Josh Houtz.
jerome baker is 22-years old, which means many of us have been fans longer than he’s been alive. maybe he shouldn’t be the one telling us what a ‘real fan is’. just my opinion. pic.twitter.com/crp3gXYdnJ
— josh houtz (@houtz) October 8, 2019
What does it mean to be a true fan? For some, it means supporting the team no matter what. Come on Sunday and sport your team colors, rooting for a win. Support the players there now because they’re giving it their all. For many others, it means demanding excellence. Do what’s best for the team, even if it hurts. Losing now could open the door to a decade’s worth of victory. That’s worth the humiliation of 0-16, right?
Ultimately, it depends on who you ask.
Whose side are you on?
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung