As a dad, I’ve given a lecture or two. Recent events have riled up the father figure in me and for the first time in a long while, I’m gonna go dad all over the fans of the Buffalo Bills. Pull up a chair, junior, today’s lecture is on fan decorum when it comes to the matter of getting autographs.
First off, let’s be clear that I’m talking to the adults in the room as it’s been mainly their awful conduct that’s led to this rant in the first place. Off that note, I’d like to be very clear on one thing right away. I’m completely cool with adults autograph hunting. I have a bunch myself. It’s a perfectly legitimate hobby for fans of all ages. OK then, lecture time.
The players are doing you a favor, respect their time
Make no mistake about things. The players don’t owe you a dang thing. It’s up to them when they sign. For how long they sign. For whom they sign. Etc. Have some respect for their time. This is the main reason for this post and I’ll be linking two clips with fans who 100% crossed the line.
Replying to @jaycee3434 Its disrespectful to throw stuff at people in they face. Pro athletes are human too. #fyp♬ original sound - Johnnie ✅
Did you watch both? Fans tossing things at players as they head into the tunnel will never be alright. Josh Allen appears to agree with my take here. Both Allen and Stefon Diggs are clearly heading in for the day. You missed them. That sucks. Get over it. I love both players’ responses. Diggs asks for more items so he can sign, then drops them to the ground. Are you gonna get your shit back? Who knows. Allen goes dad mode himself.
This is an easy rule. Don’t throw shit at players.
Similarly, Buffalo is a city with a small town vibe at times. Did you run into a player in public? Read the room. This isn’t generally the time to ask for an autograph. I’ve seen this have some wiggle room, but generally it’s inadvisable.
Overall what I’m getting at is that there’s a time and place for autographs and it’s decided by the player. If they’re walking away, the time is “not now” and the place is “not here.”
There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest is that adults SHOULD have a little better perspective on things. We all love our team, but as a [age redacted] year old, I’m pretty darn good at telling myself the player is tired and it’s not personal that I got skipped. It’s easy for me to remember there’ll be other chances. And hell, I have a job. If it’s that damn important I can buy an autographed item or plan to go to a show/event and get one where I know it’ll be guaranteed. Try explaining all the above to a kid in the moment.
As noted above, players are human. Their time and energy, finite. If they’re willing to sign two dozen things before hitting the showers, then let it be two dozen kids. Every adult that steps in is one childhood heartbreak.
To reiterate what I suggested above, paid signings are different. The person signing agrees to a time limit, or number of “tickets” sold. First come, first serve is an appropriate attitude here.
Don’t be a dick
Embrace Brian Galliford’s most important rule for Buffalo Rumblings when it comes to autograph collecting too. If the thing you’re about to do would piss you off if someone did it to you...
I’ve seen several reports of items being stolen from people at training camp this year. What the actual ****? A lot of our players are easy to love, but holy **** I can’t believe some of our fans have to be reminded to clear such a low bar. How do you get so blinded by fandom that you’re taking people’s things? I like autographs too, but at the end of the day it’s literally just a bit of pen or marker.
Stealing is obviously pretty egregious, but there’s plenty more activities you’d hate to have happen to you. Don’t shove. Don’t yell. In general, don’t be an ass.
Football is fun and Mafia means family
Let’s remember what we’re all here for. Football is a great game and for many of us, a great release from the daily grind. It’s fun. It’s supposed to stay that way. Bills fans in particular survived a lot of terrible years but still found a way to come together and enjoy our team. Many of us literally witnessed our team lose to the Cleveland Browns, 6-3, and somehow had a good time that year.
That solidarity has turned into a movement too. Bills Mafia has become legendary for good deeds. Too many charities to count have found that out first hand. How many good deeds can you recall coming from Bills Mafia? I’m betting it’s a long list.
Let’s be that fanbase. Not the one tossing things at our star players. Not the fanbase shoving kids. Not the fanbase stealing from each other. Are we the best fanbase in sports? Not if we let this kind of crap continue. So let’s keep proving we are the best, and listen to Ol’ Papa Skare’s lecture.
Now who wants a Werther’s?