Many fans only care about players when they’re on the field

Morgantown, West Virginia Over the past two weeks, it’s become abundantly clear that change is necessary in college sports.  Coaches need to be more sensitive about what they say and do, players need to given a voice and feel empowered to express themselves if they feel discriminated against.

Following Kerry Martin’s accusations against defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, redshirt senior wide receiver TJ Simmons spoke out about the fans’ reaction to Martin.  In his message on Twitter, Simmons said the following: “It’s obvious that some of these “fans” only care about you when you are making plays on Saturdays.  Keep the fake love!”

Simmons’ response came after West Virginia fans referred to his teammate Kerry Martin, Jr. as a “crybaby”, a “problem”, and numerous other names too offensive to repeat here. It’s disgraceful and embarrassing to be associated with a group of fans that can so quickly turn on one of its own.

A large portion of West Virginia fans are stuck in the past, unfortunately.  Players don’t just put their heads down and suck it up like they did in the past.  They have social media, they want their voices to be heard, and there’s nothing wrong with that. To be clear, Martin’s decision to speak out was bold and it was brave, and Simmons’ response to the fans couldn’t have been more accurate.

As proud Mountaineers, it’s our responsibility to treat these outstanding young men and women that represent our state and university well off the field as well as on it.  We must extend our enthusiasm for what they accomplish on the field to what they do in their own personal lives.  West Virginia Mountaineers are Mountaineers for life, not just when we agree with them and certainly not only when they are participating in sports.