Why people should be more open minded in sport

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Andy Ruiz Jr cemented his place in Mexican history. The relatively unknown Heavyweight put on a stunning display to announce himself on the American boxing stage, defeating the beforehand undefeated Anthony Joshua.

Approaching the fight, a lot of talk more surrounded Ruiz’s physical appearance as a pose to his undoubted boxing ability. The build up even saw fans chanting “you fat b******” repeatedly towards the Mexican.

Obviously, with sport things can be said in jest towards competitors and such, but sometimes it would take no harm for fans to remember the personal feelings of people involved. It may seem an over exaggeration, however people like Ruiz may have proud family members etc attending press conferences, to which they will likely be saddened by such chants.

The whole idea of sporting fans making fun of sportsmen and women shouldn’t be taken away, of course not. Comments of a personal nature should perhaps though be reconsidered.

Speaking on BBC’s exclusive episode of ‘A Royal Team talk’ various respected figures united to help raise awareness towards mental health especially within sport. One of those names being Peter Crouch, currently of Burnley Football Club.

Former England international Crouch spoke honestly of his experiences in football respectively, saying:

“Football fans can be very very ruthless. I had these hangups and they were I used to cry; I’d cry at night when I was a kid, fourteen, fifteen.

“Dad, why am I not the same as everyone else? I want to play football. But I don’t look like everyone who plays football.

“Early on in my career I had… the songs were… ’Freak’ and then ‘Does the circus know you’re hear.”

Crouch then went on to speak about the implications those remarks can have on family and friends. He said:

“I laugh about that because I had to, but my Mum and Dad and stuff were in the crowd and they don’t want hear that. Thankfully I got through that and came out the other side, but it was tough.”

Sport is for the enjoyment and is considered let’s not get it wrong but it could be argued that sometimes fans and people on the outside forget that these figures are just normal human beings with normal feelings, it could be controversially suggest that it is due to the money involved.

With cases like Ruiz, it almost felt like he wasn’t judged on his ability in the sport that he participated in. After a remarkable victory, up there with the biggest shocks in sporting history, instead of appreciating the moment for what it was, a lot of social activity was spent hounded Ruiz on his appearance.

Moments don’t last forever, and in some cases, they should just be appreciated and enjoyed. Comments don’t always have to be made, absorbing the incredible talent on offer could be a better option.

What are your personal thoughts?

Is this article an overreaction perhaps, or is there room for different perception?

James Miller

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