Following their team's crushing double-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, some fans of the New York Rangers were not content to simply brush themselves off and move on to the next game. Instead, select fans decided to take to the Twitter-verse expressing their evident, albeit troubling, displeasure. You will be able to see from the images below exactly what I am referring to, so there really is no reason to describe what was posted. But please be warned of the offensive language.
This certainly isn't the first time that fans have gone to Twitter to express unnecessary hatred for an opposing player, coach or team - and sadly, this won't be the last - but seeing such posts, even after a tough loss, really worries me as a hockey fan in general.
As wonderful as it is to get passionate about one's team and stick behind them, especially during the most important time of the season, there is a fine line between a healthy disdain towards the opposing team and a lack of respect. These fans of the New York Rangers have crossed that line. But, in all fairness, there were some fans of the Los Angeles Kings who acted just as deplorable following their team's Game 1 victory.
I am unable to track the image - I am actually glad that I can't - but following Los Angeles's Game 1 victory on Wednesday, a certain fan created a meme saying something along the lines of how this was how New York felt when Justin Williams scored the overtime-winner. What was the picture used, you ask? None other than the World Trade Centers collapsing in 2001.
While it was certainly uplifting and exciting to see the Los Angeles Kings cap off a come-from-behind victory in such dramatic fashion, it left fans of the silver-and-black rejuvenated and anxiously awaiting the next game. Unfortunately, one or two fans (or however many came up with said tasteless meme) could not find the decency to really think about what they were doing between initially creating the meme and posting it. With that said, I don't want to hear that maybe the creator was drunk. I just don't care because there is no excuse for it.
Never mind that two of the Kings' scouts (Garnet "Ace" Bailey & Mark Bavis) were on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but for the many other victims, their families and the entire city of New York, to use the tragedy as a springboard for their team's win is simply deplorable. But while that was tasteless, so was the reaction of some Rangers fans late Saturday night - albeit not nearly as tasteless
First off, I cannot be too upset over the fans who suggested that the Kings fanbase are a bunch of bandwagoners. They are wrong, of course, but so was I when I suggested the same thing about the fanbase of the Chicago Blackhawks. But outside of that, I don't know whether to determine whether any of these comments are offensive or just funny.
As you can see from the images, there are Rangers fans so upset that they are simply annoyed by the way that (Los Angeles head coach) Darryl Sutter looks.
From using homophobic slurs to continuously dropping the F-bomb to, again, making fun of someone's physical appearance, something really devastating had to have been set off for these disgusted Rangers fans.
Rewind back to the opening minutes of the third period when the Kings scored to cut their deficit to 4-3. But on the play, it appeared as if Rangers' netminder Henrik Lundqvist was interfered with. But the on-ice officials did meet to discuss the goal and decided to let it stand. After all, as the play indicates, Lundqvist was contacted after the puck went through his legs. The goal paved the way for the Kings to tie later and ultimately win the game in double-overtime. But between the controversial goal and Los Angeles's game-winner, the New York Rangers had a plethora of chances to win the game themselves. They couldn't and, as a result of their loss, someone had to have been made the scapegoat. In this case, it was the on-ice officials, although the Kings, their fans and even the city of Los Angeles received the brunt of criticism following Game 2.
One fan in particular insulted the city of Los Angeles because it has so much pollution. Could you even be imagine how vulgar the reaction would have been had the Rangers been playing Pittsburgh? It may not be a pleasant reality but pollution is a crisis that involves many cities in the United States, including New York City itself. After all, when has anyone ever gotten away from it all by taking a dip in the East River? That isn't meant to be insulting but simply a lesson that if someone has the nerve to call the kettle black, it may be best not to be the pot.
In addition, one Rangers fan claimed that the only thing good to come out of Los Angeles was rapper/actor Ice Cube. That isn't offensive so much as worrisome that a fan is so close-minded that the only figure he can think of to come out of a city like Los Angeles is Ice Cube, with all due respect to the actor.
For the Rangers fans who really believe that the Kings cheated their way to a Game 2 have conveniently forgotten what happened early in their Eastern Final series against the Montreal Canadiens.
While Henrik Lundqvist was "interfered" with in Game 2, Montreal's all-star netminder Carey Price had his knee taken out in Game 1 of said Eastern Final and, as a result, was forced to miss the remainder of the series. It was New York's Chris Kreider who slid into Price and injuring him. But while backup Dustin Tokarski proved that goaltending was not the issue for the Canadiens in the series, Kreider's act was a questionable one at best, especially considering it wasn't the first time he pulled such a stunt against an opposing netminder. Nevertheless, Rangers fans were quick to Kreider's defense, claiming that he would never do such a thing before calling out fans of the Canadiens for being sore losers. Surely if Rangers fans could remember that, the situation this time would sound all-too-familiar. Unfortunately, they are unable to - for whatever reason.
This may be the Stanley Cup Final and with that, the intensity level of both teams' fanbases have understandably increased. With that said, however, it really is unfortunate to see so many fans - from either side - reacting the way they do. Some Rangers have been sore losers but some fans of the Kings have been sore winners, as well. From memes as disgusting as poking fun at the World Trade Center attacks to tweets as disturbing (and as entertaining) as Rangers fans "hating" the Los Angeles Kings and their fans for winning a game.
This isn't a plea to tone down the hatred between teams. Unfortunately, that is just wishful thinking. With that said, this is an attempt to let such fans know that it really wouldn't kill them to grow up or, at the very least, think before they post pictures or comments so vile, offensive or downright pathetic. I have certainly been guilty of this as have many other fans, but from what my father had always taught me, making a mistake isn't as important as learning from it. That's just the reality of being human. Hopefully all of the fans I mentioned will learn from what they did, enjoy the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final and maybe - just maybe - give rightful credit to the opposing team should their team not realize their championship dreams this year.
We can only hope.