Editorial: Bad 12th Man-ners

During the recent game against the San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks fans took to throwing popcorn at an injured player as he was carted off the field with a torn ACL.

Now there is a true touchdown in fandom etiquette don’ts—and perhaps just another sign that the 12th man needs a reminder of the difference between being a fan and being an asshole.

We are all for good old-fashioned community togetherness and camaraderie. Anyone who has experience on a sport’s team knows there’s something to be said for the chants and cheers. However, the notion of the 12th man is not founded on a tradition of sportsmanship, but rather one of aggression.

Many argue that such an action is inaccurate of the actual 12th man character. An argument that claims that such bad sportsmanship is merely a one-time act from a juvenile few. If only that were true.

Last year, Seahawk fans beat a Green Bay Packers fan unconscious at a game. Again, the year before, a visiting Vikings fan was brutally assaulted by 12th man fanatics, according to Sports Illustrated.

Since then, Seattle police began attending games undercover in the gear of the opposing team to keep the 12th man accountable. If stadiums and local police are adapting to prevent a progression of violence, then it appears that such bad sportsmanship is in fact an extremely accurate portrayal of the 12th man character.

We perpetuate one another in that belligerence—pompous player to frenzied fan, frenzied fan to furthered ferocity, furthered ferocity back to the field in a well-aimed handful of popcorn. You could say that the 12th man has been the final punt the Seahawks needed to get this far in their NFL career.

But maybe that shouldn’t be a good thing.