Every once in a while, small issues in sports have a tendency to make us angry. Here at Sideline Warning we will let you know when these problems get out of hand. This is the Challenge Flag.
Though I love LSU’s football program and the environment it creates on Saturdays in the fall, I have always been jealous of how packed the basketball arenas get at schools like Duke, UNC, and Kentucky. LSU has had some good teams in recent years, but still the crowd does not come close to a game in Allen Fieldhouse.
This past Saturday was arguably the biggest game for LSU basketball since I have been a student here. Generally, our games don’t receive much attention from fans or national media until we play a ranked team. This Saturday was different.
LSU and the nation’s top draft prospect Ben Simmons hosted the nations top player Buddy Hield and the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. This game was hyped up all week throughout sports media and was one of the bigger match-ups of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.
With no football game to go to, the LSU student body turned it’s attention to the showdown between the Tigers and the Sooners, especially Hield vs. Simmons. Fans were set up tents outside the PMAC for the for the first time in recent memory. I made sure to get there early so I could get a ticket and prepare for one of the most talked about match-ups of the season.
As I waited in line, the crowd started to grow, and since we’re in south Louisiana, so did the amount of alcohol. I’ve learned that the drunker LSU fans get, the louder they get. I could tell this crowd was going to be a great one.
You might have heard by now, but LSU fans are not ones to hold back from profanity. We’ve had more than a few songs banned by our marching band due to fans singing along in with expletives. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for those chants and usually join in. A chant Saturday started somewhere in the LSU student section made me shake my head in embarrasment.
As Hield made his way to the free throw line in the first half, “F*** you, Buddy” rang throughout the PMAC, loud enough for the millions of viewers watching the ESPN broadcast to hear at home. I know that, becuase I received mutiple texts from friends asking if they were hearing things correctly. It was a moment where I had to stop and think “was that really necessary?”
Listen to the chant here:
Buddy had not been acting in any manner that deserved that kind of heckling. I actually thought Hield was extremely respectful in his play. He made big play after big play and seemed to run back on defense right after.
LSU has a history of the “F*** you ____” chant with Nick Saban usually filling in the blank (I find this chant even more ridiculous, but that’s another discussion for another day). I know that student sections are going to heckle players, especially one as talent as Hield. I have no problem with that, but I think our fans took things way too far Saturday and it does not represent the LSU brand very well.
Aside from the one chant, I absolutely loved LSU’s crowd Saturday and hope that those attendance numbers become somewhat regualr. I love being rowdy, I love getting loud, and I loved the way LSU students packed the PMAC, but let’s not direct cussing chants at single players, especially one as respectful as Hield.