It’s probably common sense that so-called banter belongs to the culture of sport. Most acknowledged between certain groups of fans in football stadia. One group sings a song that calls one player of the other team not good enough to even play in a Sunday morning league and the other group responds with targeting the other team’s fans as somehow escaped from the asylum. Or something like that. I think you get the point and you know what I’m talking about when you are regularly watching football games from the stands. But even if you are only watching on TV you can sometimes listen to the sing-song and some phrases.
Banter is synonymous to joke or teasing and meant to be funny. Maybe a bit over the line but not yet insulting. But in the past weeks or even months I have discovered that on the internet it doesn’t seem to be that line. Means banter is everything from joke to worst insult just when you declare it to be banter. So, you can call someone a cunt, a wanker or you can wish for someone’s death, you can call for a sniper to get someone out of the starting XI of ‘your’ team or you can laugh about a bad injury of a player at a team you don’t like.
All banter at the end of the day?
No, certainly not! These examples are all known to me. I’ve read them on Twitter more than enough and I’m fed up with these because they are most certainly not banter. They are insults and need to get punished. What do people think they are allowed on the internet or into an anonymous mass in the stadia? Do they really think that players they abuse deserve that because the money they earn is something like damages? They probably say that some players aren’t worth the money they get without actually knowing what they earn. And because they aren’t worth the money their banter on them is more than deserved.
On the other side there is another sport which I call search for attention. You can call nice things every now and again but the real attention you get with bad insults. When you insult someone’s family or children there is the highest possibility to get a reaction. So you can say afterwards that in the certain moment you and only you got the attention of a celibrity or a football player. Or you write an insulting tweet than you’re timeline is flooded with answers and perhaps so-called favourites and retweets. You are then famous for one second and very proud of yourself. You don’t think about the feelings of the player that he could feel threatened or something like that. Probably you really mean it as banter and you don’t want to kill him for real. But does the player know that? No, certainly not.
The so-called fan culture with all the sing-song and banter (if it’s real banter) is needed by football and sports. I know that and I like that. But fans finally need to use their brains. They need to start to realize that abusing players is not a God-given right. It’s right to give a player a little gibe. But it’s wrong to threaten or abuse a player. Even on the internet and I hope that someday (better sooner than later) also abusers from the internet will be heavily punished.