BOZICH | Time to drain the arenas of profane fans - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Time to drain the arenas of profane fans

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Louisville coach Rick Pitino was angered by something a fan shouted at North Carolina Wednesday night. (Photo by ESPN) Louisville coach Rick Pitino was angered by something a fan shouted at North Carolina Wednesday night. (Photo by ESPN)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Roy Williams launched his media appearance after North Carolina’s game with Louisville Wednesday by apologizing for the juvenile behavior and offensive language of a UNC fan who serenaded Rick Pitino at halftime.

“I mean, we’re North Carolina,” Williams said. “We don’t have to be like everybody else.”

Nice open. Now it’s time for Williams and his coaching brethren to deliver the big finish:

Grab the microphone before the next home game and issue a zero tolerance warning for oral diarrhea at the Smith Center.

Rick Pitino should make the same pitch to Louisville fans, John Calipari to Big Blue Nation, Tom Crean to the IU faithful and Mike Krzyzewski to the Cameron Crazies.

Coaches or athletic directors legitimately interested in joining the list to inject more civility into the atmosphere are encouraged and welcomed. Step right up. Make a difference. Drain the arenas of X-rated fans.

This is not a North Carolina problem. It’s an Everybody Is Better Than This situation.

When did it become OK to say whatever you want to whomever you want whenever you want in a public venue?

The four-letter word the Carolina fan allegedly directed at Pitino wouldn’t make the Top 10 list of the most cringe-worthy things I’ve heard.

Can’t we do better? Shouldn’t we expect more?

Aren’t reasonable fans sitting in the same sections as these knuckleheads offended by what they hear, especially if children area in the area?

Cheer? Until your lungs burn.

Boo? Turn it up.

Whistle, European-style if you like.

Howl? Give 110 percent. Create a homecourt advantage.

But an increasing number of paying customers have become comfortable barking obscenities, slurs and other trash at coaches, players and officials. From the opening whistle to the final horn.

We used to be better than that. Not any more. Pitino got it in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, one night after John Calipari got a similar blast from Missouri students while he was trying to do a television interview.

Pay attention. It’s everywhere.

A public service announcement is played prior to games at Indiana. It is supposed to be a warning that abusive language and obscene cheers will not be tolerated. Generally it is ignored, especially when a whistle goes against the Hoosiers.

IU fans were more inclined to behave when they knew Bob Knight was primed to lecture them by taking control of the public address system with a blunt demand to KNOCK IT OFF. Knight could not always control himself, but he could control the crowd.

Two seasons ago a knot of Louisville fans lapsed into a nasty back-and-forth with the family of Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor. It happens. It started with several jokes. The laughter stopped after somebody yelled that Okafor’s family was dependent upon EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards. Not funny.

At Duke last season, Moe, Larry and Curly warned an Indiana player not to confuse the white line at his feet for something to snort. I’ve heard fans ask players if the tattoos on their arms served as their prison identification numbers.

It’s worse for officials. Every game is a road game for the striped shirts. Every call is a bad call. Every comment is an insult.

I was not surprised Pitino engaged somebody at North Carolina. I’m surprised it didn’t happen at Pittsburgh. Or another road venue.

A fan (likely a student) screamed at Pitino for two hours in January at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center. This gentleman brought up all the off-the-court stuff that hecklers discuss whenever Louisville visits. Pitino never frowned or flinched. Nobody on the Louisville bench did.

You can call it a self-inflicted wound, part of the punishment for two scandals that have percolated around Louisville basketball since 2009. You can say that coaches are paid like royalty. Invest in earplugs. Ignore the hazing. Play on.

That’s the goal. Most guys walk away.

But there’s no training for being called an &%$# or a $^@%* for two consecutive hours. That’s not something your learn how to handle at the Five-Star camp.

It’s a test. It’s unreasonable to expect coaches, players and officials to always pass.

Can’t we do better? Shouldn’t we expect more?

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