a mash-up of crime & fandom
I’m never been much of a fan of professional sports, so I don’t get many do-the-right-thing points for claiming my reason for ignoring the recent Super Bowl had anything to do with the increasing moral greyness of the NFL. Both a string of high profile cases of spousal abuse and various accusations of cheating at various levels were well enough publicized that even a guy who usually ignores the media whenever it alludes to anything involving a ball has heard about them.
If I were a fan, I don’t know that I’d let a few so-called “bad apples” spoil the metaphorical bunch, but I’m not… so I can do little more than stand on the sidelines and jeer at a system I neither participate in nor really deeply understand.
This doesn’t mean the modern incarnation of something like the NFL –with their existential excesses, overpriced tickets, and seeming flouting of laws the rest of us are obligated to follow– can’t serve as a great example of the blind eye we too often turn towards the systems and ideas we adore when they do something very wrong… criminal even.
Something I understand much better is video games, and in the latter half of 2014 a community of far-less excess was making headlines for gender-motivated in-fighting. A fuzzy and often-scatter-shot movement that made headlines because our bad-apples were threatening lives and promoting criminal actions against people’s privacy seemed to represent the worst of the video gamer community wrapped in a righteous cause. I stayed out of the fray, but as a far more active community participant (relative to the aforementioned NFL) my ability to distance myself was a little less clear.
When the things we love and adore do or promote criminal acts, what is our obligation as members of an otherwise peace-seeking society? Does our participation as a fan make us complicit… or does it give us a unique opportunity and a voice (no matter how small) to speak out against those actions?
As our fandom grows, I tend to think that we are a kind of spotlight on a person of fame or a group with power and influence. That light can be one of adoration, or it can be one of illumination.