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Felipe’s Halftime Comments Overblown?

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At halftime of the Whitecaps match against Galaxy, Felipe made some comments about fans cheering for the opponent. This started a discussion on fan (and player) etiquette. We summarize the situation and get your thoughts on the comments.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps hosted LA Galaxy on Friday night and ended up losing that game 2-0. At halftime Felipe was interviewed about the first half and he had some interesting comments

Felipe noted that he was displeased that some of the fans in his home stadium were cheering for the opposing team; namely Zlatan. Of course, this brought to the forefront the notion of who fans should cheer for while at the stadium.

Many fans agreed with Felipe’s statement and were quick to point out in our Twitter feed that those were not the ‘true’ fans.

Some fans understood that this would happen and even came prepared.

However, some saw the comments as distasteful and argued that a) it was common in Vancouver sports (not just with the Whitecaps) for opposing fan groups to outcheer local groups and b) that if the Whitecaps had their own marquee names and were winning this would not be the case.

To address A, opposing fans in every city, in every sport, are loud and boisterous. They need to be in order to be heard. It isn’t a slight against local fans. Remember the 100 to 500 (or whatever) fans that travel to away matches are probably the most diehard. Whitecaps fans get the same way when they are in Seattle and Portland.

To address B, there will always be reasons for the casual fan to come to the match and cheer for the opposing team. I remember going to a women’s soccer match at BC Place between Germany and Canada and cheering just as hard for Germany (my home land) as I did for Canada. It wasn’t anything against Canada. I had not got to see Germany play and I was just as excited at that opportunity. When you get world-class stars to a game (e.g., Villa, Zlatan, Beckham, etc) you are going to have casual fans come to cheer them on being career-long fans of that player. No matter how much money the Caps spend, Zlatan will still be cheered in Vancouver. You think he doesn’t get cheered in New York? Toronto? Elsewhere? Keep dreaming.

With knowledge that some people will always cheer for an opposing star, it begs the question whether Felipe’s comments were unnecessary or out of line. That is for each fan to decide. Personally, I don’t think so. I also think that people have blown his comments way out of proportion. That might have been because they were a little unexpected; that is why I noted them on Twitter at halftime on Friday. However, I would rather have a player that is honest and passionate, as Felipe has shown himself to be time and again. He is someone who is here for the fans and takes things personally when he doesn’t perform, as demonstrated in this interview below (1 minute mark he explicitly states that).

A final note worth mentioning is that his comments were not targeted towards the supporters groups and he had no ill-will towards them, as evidenced by his actions after the match. It was to the ‘casual’ fan in attendance.

What is your take on this? Should Felipe concern himself (i.e., use up energy) on casual fans here to cheer on an opponent? What is the responsibility of fans when it comes to attending a match? Let us know your thoughts on this.