Each stadium at a professional sporting event has a code of conduct. More or less, if fans behave accordingly, the code of conduct doesn’t really affect them. However, one or two bad apples at sports events usually ruin it for everyone.
Fans can behave poorly at games in several ways, some of which are selfish and others harmful. NCSharp ranks the worst characteristics of fans attending a sporting event.
5. Fans who have tickets but don’t show up
Since not showing up to a game you have tickets for is the least harmful characteristic of the worst sports fan, it is last on the list.
Regardless, having tickets for a game and not showing up is still a characteristic of a bad sports fan. If you bought your ticket and were a no-show, then that’s on you. However, getting free tickets and not showing up is a slap in the face to the person who gave you tickets. Keep your word and go to the game, barring an emergency situation.
There are also fans who arrive during the fourth inning of a baseball game or the second quarter of a basketball game. The ticket has been paid for the entire game. Those who come from work or had a prior commitment have a pass. Those who are dawdling to leave the house—get to the game on time.
4. Fans who use abusive language towards other fans or players
Now, we’re getting a little more serious. People attend sporting events to watch the game and socialize with friends. It’s not to listen to the person next to them scream obscenities at other fans or players.
There is a fine line between acceptable trash-talking and what is considered inappropriate. Fans have the right to voice displeasure should they feel it. Doing so usually results in a booing of the opposing team or their own team. Even good-natured trash-talking with smiles is okay, too.
The line is drawn when fans start using curse words. It’s problematic when they’re directed at another fan or any of the players, especially when the voice starts getting raised. Nobody wants to hear bad language, especially with kids around, or watch spit flying from the mouth.
Keep the trash-talk friendly and the language appropriate.
3. Fans who run onto the field
It’s commonplace for fans to interrupt a baseball game and run onto the field. Running onto the field is worse than screaming curse words because it is one of the most selfish acts to commit at a game.
It is an embarrassment for the person running onto the field and disrupts the game for the other 45,000 people in attendance. Those who run on the field want their five minutes of fame. The funny thing is, five minutes after the person gets caught, they won’t be spoken of again. Additionally, they risk jail time.
A fan running onto the field in a crazy way can put themselves in harm’s way. Security at a Philadelphia Phillies game tased a fan who ran onto the field in 2010. Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner tackled a protester during a game in October 2022. A fan’s chances against a professional athlete, who can cause serious harm, are not good.
A PSA to fans: Stay in your seat and watch the game. Don’t be “that guy.”
2. Fans who throw items on the field or court
One of the worst things a fan can do at a sporting event is take something from their seat and throw it onto the field or court. Just like with running onto the field, throwing an item on the field of play can cause the game to be delayed, especially if there’s a considerable amount of debris on the field. Just because one fan does it, it shouldn’t give anyone the right to do it either.
In addition to interrupting the game, throwing things on the field is dangerous to the players and referees. Throwing full beer cans and water bottles can injure a player, especially if hit on the head.
Professional athletes are humans, too, and throwing things at them can cause an unwarranted altercation. With adrenaline and emotions high, the last thing players need to deal with is getting food and beverages tossed their way.
Fans are there to watch the game without any involvement whatsoever.
1. Fans being physically violent towards someone else
The worst characteristic of a sports fan is putting their hands on someone else, whether it be another fan or player.
It’s a shame that physical altercations happen at almost every sporting event. Just think, during the commute to the game, is anyone thinking about physical violence with another person? Physical violence between fans can lead to serious injury and, in the worst-case scenario, death.
A New England Patriots fan died in September after getting into an altercation with other fans. Autopsy evidence shows that the man didn’t die of a traumatic injury, as he had a previous medical condition. However, unnecessary physical violence could have contributed to his death.
Fans mixing it up with players is also a recipe for disaster. The Malice at the Palace may be one of the worst fan-player incidents in sports history. It didn’t end well for anyone involved.
Alcohol is likely the biggest factor contributing to physical violence. No matter what the situation holds, fans need to keep their hands to themselves to avoid a catastrophic event.