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Fans put too much pressure on athletes

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Should we be sending death threats to professional athletes? Tyler Bass, a kicker for the Buffalo Bills missed the game-tying kick in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs. Because of this kick, Bass started receiving online harassment and death threats leading him to deactivate all of his social media. Did Bass deserve all of this because he missed 1 kick? 

This is only 1 example of how people treat professional athletes online. But, this pressure does not only happen in professional sports. It happens in college and high school. For example, Henry Blackburn received death threats after a hit towards Colorado player Travis Hunter. Kevin Dotson received death threats after a poor performance in the NFL. We are not paying all of these athletes to receive death threats after one bad game. These athletes are always away from their families and put a huge load on their bodies and we treat them like that. This is an ongoing issue in multiple different sports that we need to fix. 

People think that the fans in sports games motivate the athletes and that fans will get the players pumped up while playing. During Covid, it was very different for athletes. For example, the NBA bubble was played with the spectators on TV screens, the NHL had its playoffs with no spectators, and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo had no spectators. states:  “Humans act differently when they have an audience. The presence of other people often improves performance via a phenomenon called social facilitation.” 

Even though people who are professional athletes have higher expectations than most people, we still do not need to be yelling at people just because of one play. This puts lots of stress on the player on and off the court. Players do not only get heckled during their games, multiple athletes have received messages on their social media after their games too. Dmitri Boccino states, “Sure it’s easy to say this, but we often forget that even most of the athletes seem larger than life, and that couldn’t possibly have any problems, are still human.” All of these professionals have normal lives outside of the game, and fans are disrupting their lives by heckling them in the game and outside.

The way we are heckling these athletes does not just go away. When they make one mistake in a game, it will stick with them forever. Fans will describe a player just because of one play. We need to learn that these athletes are humans and not robots and that sports should be friendly and competitive games without all of the yelling and making sure the athletes don’t stress from all the pressure from the fans. 


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