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Don’t Vilify New Orleans Fans for Cheering Smith Foul on Griffin: Fan’s Perspective
New Orleans can't catch a break. In what should have been celebrated as an amazing victory for the New Orleans Hornets against Chris Paul's new team the Los Angeles Clippers, the Big Easy is again being slammed with negativity. New Orleans fans are under fire for cheering for Jason Smith after being ejected for a flagrant foul on Blake Griffin. The criticism being heaped on New Orleans is uncalled for and completely ludicrous.
Ever since the Saints were found guilty of running a bounty program, it has become fashionable to trash New Orleans. As a resident of New Orleans, this is nothing new. However, since Hurricane Katrina, the rest of the country has at least gone through the motions of respecting my home town. But now, it's as though the bounty scandal has popped a bubble of venom and the hatred of the rest of the country has begun to spew out anew.
When you watch Jason Smith's foul on Blake Griffin, it was definitely not dirty. I'm not saying it wasn't a hard foul. And Smith probably deserved to be ejected. However, Smith did not hit Griffin in the head and he did not take out Griffin's legs. Jason Smith hit Blake Griffin in the upper body, which is the strongest part of his anatomy. Smith's ejection was warranted, but Griffin sprawling out on the floor was a bit melodramatic for my tastes.
Mercifully, some unbiased members of the media have pointed out that Blake Griffin has been asking for trouble by dunking on opponents and disrespecting them by posing. Unfortunately, it looks like all pro sports leagues (except the NHL) are becoming rather dandified. As many former players have pointed out, hard fouls for coming into the lane were commonplace in the old school NBA.
New Orleans fans
The real point of this article however is a defense of my fellow New Orleans Hornets fans. Unfortunately, I could not be in the New Orleans Arena Thursday night because I was working. If I had been there, I would not have cheered Jason Smith's foul but I would have cheered him as he left the court. And guess what? Every NBA fan in every other NBA city would have cheered their own player as he left the court in similar circumstances!
New Orleans sports fans are reading the malicious comments being posted about them on the internet. We've had enough. The fact that the Saints had a bounty system is not a reflection on New Orleans. Reportedly, Gregg Williams ran similar programs in Buffalo and Washington. For the Hornets to defeat the Clippers after Chris Paul left us for them is amazing. After an inspirational win like that, I would have cheered the ball boy if he had been ejected.
What I find a lot more disgusting than cheering a hard foul on a millionaire is the criticism levied against the citizens of New Orleans after enduring a natural disaster. In the NFC Championship following the 2006 season, Saints fans were mocked, derided and insulted by Bears fans in Chicago. Somehow, that barely received mention in the national media. But New Orleans fans are lambasted for cheering an ejected player who committed a hard foul.
I'm a proud, diehard fan of the New Orleans Hornets. Nothing will change that. And I wouldn't live in any other city in world!
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in the New Orleans Arena the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals.
"Hornets Smith suspended for hard foul on Griffin," yahoo.com
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