Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson is about to learn that his voice is not greater than those of disgruntled fans who work hard, save up for months, and purchase tickets to see their team win.
The Bengals – OK, Andy Dalton – got off to a rough start in their first five drives against Cleveland on Sunday. Dalton threw two interceptions and three other drives ended in punts. As a result, some Bengals fans voiced their displeasure and booed.
Johnson heard the boos, and he has a response.
"If you're not believing and being positive, leave," Johnson told ESPN.com. "We don't need you. Because that's what we're about around here -- staying focused, staying positive and keeping our energy going. Negativity breeds negativity, and we don't do that around here."
Oh, Johnson was not done.
"I don't appreciate that," Johnson said, referring specifically to the boos. "Stay with us and believe with us. That's what you're here for. You're here to support. If something bad happens, that's not our plan. Stay positive, stay encouraging. We'll fight. Just stick with us a while."
Cincinnati pulled off a 41-20 victory, but Johnson, like many athletes, seems misguided.
Just because a fan boos does not mean he cares less than the one who delivers a Tony Robbins motivational speech after every miscue. Fans are entitled to voice their displeasure, and as long as they are not showing up at a player’s home, or attacking athletes on Twitter, they are entitled to say whatever they want during games (just do not curse around the kids).
Of course, booing Matt Schaub after he sustains an injury is extreme. Yet, it still beats throwing batteries at players.
If Johnson, or any of his teammates, do not want to hear fans criticize them during games, there is a simple solution.
Just play better.
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