I’ve had an ongoing debate with a friend of mine for about 20 years now on the place for booing in sports. The topic came up again recently in light of the story I wrote for Sunday’s paper about former Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob.
As most of you know, Ayoob was booed by Cal fans for some of his poor performances in 2005. He had some forgettable games in which he didn’t help put the Bears in position to win.
My rule of thumb has always been this: As long as the player is giving his maximum effort, he doesn’t deserve to be booed. If he simply isn’t good enough, so be it. But if the player is trying his hardest and just not getting the job done, what else is he supposed to do? Maybe he’s just not good enough, despite a good work ethic.
The discussion between my friend and I usually was in the context of professional sports. But I think my golden rule is even more applicable in the college game. The athletes aren’t getting paid huge sums of money. Granted, many of them are on scholarship, but that’s not a fair comparison. Either way, if he is trying as hard as he can to do the best job he can, he shouldn’t be booed.
This is true especially in college. Joe Ayoob was a 21-year old college student who the previous year was playing in front of a couple hundred people each week in junior college. He was going to classes, working toward his degree, going to practice, doing everything asked of him by the Cal coaching staff.
His one shortcoming is he wasn’t a good enough quarterback. Certainly, he shouldn’t have been the target of boos.