Let’s get this out of the way up front. I believe no circumstance justifies booing one’s favorite college team. Here are my reasons:
The most common rationalization for the boos that cascaded down from the rain-soaked stands as the Bulldogs shut-out Kentucky goes something like this – “Fans were booing the play calls, not the players.” Okay, I get it – I’m convinced that most booing fans intended to express displeasure with the progress of the offense – or lack thereof.
My problem with that rationalization is that the catcalls do not reach the field with an explanation. Do the players assume the coaches are the targets? Even if players understand that fans are booing coaches, are they unaffected by the stream of negativity? A team is a unit comprised of players, coaches, and all of the affiliated personnel who work tirelessly to produce a unified effort each gameday. The team is not divisible.
One further point, we all know that Jake Fromm has exceptional freedom to change plays in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. How can fans know who is responsible for any particular play call or series?
There is one other group attending Georgia football games that fans should consider before unleashing boos to vent their frustration. Kirby Smart has often commented that fans help to recruit with their support of the program. Could it be that the reverse is also true? There were several prominent recruits at the Kentucky game. Were any of them or their parents negatively affected by fans’ public display of displeasure with the coaches who are recruiting them? Did they understand and internalize that fans were not booing players? Do you think Dan Mullen will refrain from sharing a video of the booing with recruits? The negative pitch writes itself.
Kirby has opened his postgame press conferences with a “thank you” to fans for making the sacrifices necessary to support the team at home and on the road. Coach Smart values the support of fans, but there is no requirement that fans be blindly loyal. However, there are innumerable ways for fans to express displeasure without a negative public display on national television.