Yesterday, Baron Davis signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Davis received what he wanted, a long-term, lucrative deal that the Golden State Warriors were not willing to make him. However, Baron was a little unhappy with leaving for one reason, he loved the Golden State fans. Tuesday night, Davis was videotaped thanking his Bay Area fans for supporting him coming off of an injury, and for rooting for him for his entire time as a Warrior.
Baron Davis is one of only a few athletes to show appreciation for their fans, either during or after they leave. Many athletes are too ignorant to understand that the fans of their team are trying to embrace them. As a sports fan, you always root for your team, and the players on it. It is a much more enjoyable experience if the team you root for is made up of individuals you like, that you may even root for if they move on to other teams (as long as it’s not affecting your team at least). Athletes often fail to understand that is in their best interest to be cordial to fans, media members, and people in general. If your fans like you, you will never be booed, even if you are playing subpar for some reason.
Carlos Beltran and Roger Clemens are two good examples of athletes who just don’t get it. About 2 years ago, Beltran hit a home run during a home game at Shea Stadium that gave the Mets the lead. The fans had been unhappy with Beltran’s bad production, and had booed him in other games, but the fans were now asking for a curtain call. Beltran refused to go up and sat down on the bench, not even recognizing the fans. Julio Franco helped out Beltran by encouraging him to tip his hat to the fans. Beltran eventually halfheartedly complied with Franco’s request, and received a large cheer from the crowd. Beltran needed to embrace the fans, then more than ever, in order to get them to like him. He failed to realize this, but the wise sage Julio Franco came to his rescue and helped Beltran’s relationship with the fans.
Roger Clemens made an even larger mistake by not showing appreciation for the Red Sox fans who supported him before leaving for Toronto. Clemens was mad at the Red Sox organization for not offering him a long term deal (although it was understandable because of his weight issues). He went to the Blue Jays because they offered him a longer deal and more money than the Red Sox. At the press conference held for the signing, Clemens failed to thank Red Sox fans, alienating himself from them. He refused to talk about the Red Sox, probably because of his anger at management. Clemens did not realize that he would be associated with the Red Sox for the rest of his life, and if he was inducted into the hall of fame, he would want be inducted as a Red Sock and need the fans to embrace him yet again. Clemens only needed to tell the Red Sox fans thank you for rooting me on all these years, and he could have remained a hero in Beantown.
These actions hurt him more recently as well, and it is still evident Clemens just doesn’t get it. After Clemens was cited for steroid use in the Mitchell Report, he made an awful move of blaming the fans for questioning his achievements when they had no right, when he was the one cited for using illegal drugs to help his performance on the field. Had he still been embraced by Red Sox Nation, he could have relied on them for support during this ordeal, when the rest of America hated him. Unfortunately, he had burned all his bridges with Boston, and was hated by all of America, and still is to this day.
The bottom line is that athletes need to be more grateful for their fans. Without fans, they would not be making these astronomical sums of money they get for playing games at a high level. It takes only a short time to thank your fans either while you are there, or are leaving for another city. So thank you Baron Davis, thanks for thanking us fans.