It is not easy being Evan Neal. Yes he is a young and wealthy starter for the New York Giants, a dream for many. However, search his name in Xwitter during a Giants game and it gets ugly.
Maybe the social media noise got the best of him, or his poor play, or maybe a combination of both in recent days. Whatever happened, Neal snapped when talking with NJ.com’s Darryl Slater. Neal was asked about when he motioned to the MetLife Stadium crowd to pump up the volume as they were booing the Giants during a Monday-night blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks, 24-3.
He responded by calling fans “fair-weather.” Neal then went on about how no one is more upset than the players ,who are trying their hardest on the field, and know way more about football than the people in the stands. He also questioned the fandom of those who booed.
All of this was ill-advised — although true — but then he inserted his toes directly into his esophagus when he talked down other occupations.
“People tag me on stuff all the time,” Neal said to Slater. “So, it’s like, yeah, I see it. But I genuinely don’t care. Why should I? I’m in the National Football League. The person that’s commenting on my performance, what does he do? Flip hot dogs and hamburgers somewhere?”
Neal apologized Wednesday evening on social media. In the post, he expressed his regret for “lashing out” at the fans. Most importantly, he apologized for talking down to people who earn money by cooking hamburgers and hot dogs.
Evan, if you’re going to talk bad about people who make significantly less money than you, don’t single out specific occupations. All that does is show a lack of respect for people doing their best to make a living, who weren’t blessed with the frame for a 6-foot-7, 340 pound body.
On a lighter note, going after the home fans is never the right move. There are millions of Giants fans, and only one of you. Julius Randle learned this lesson the hard way in the exact same metropolitan area during the 2021-22 season. He apologized after saying to the media that he wanted the New York Knicks faithful to “shut the f*ck up.”
Athletes in major sports have to play in their home arena the majority of their games. Saying something that turns them into a heel in that building is making life unnecessarily difficult. Pointing out an unruly fan, or group, who crosses the line is fine. A stadium full of boo birds, they probably have a point and there are thousands of them.
The perfect way to call out fans was done by LeBron James in 2010, after the Miami Heat were upset in the NBA Finals. James criticized the negative energy that was directed at him by a large swath of the United States of America. He did not say that their jobs sucked. He said that when the brief emotion of peoples’ happiness about him losing washes away, whatever problems they have in their lives will still exist. They will deal with those while he lives a life that he enjoys.
James spoke in general terms about a wide-ranging distaste for him as a person for simply playing basketball where he wanted, and with whom he wanted. That was masterfully done.
What Neal did, at its worst, was employment shame. People who earn a living in a hot dog and hamburger kitchens are no less important than a starting offensive tackle. They breathe air and need water just like he does. So good for him to address, and apologize for, those problematic statements head on.
To make his New York life easier, in general, he should leave the fans alone unless they act in ways that warrant ejection. Neal has hard enough battles every week fighting opposing pass rushers. Even his arms aren’t long enough to handle that as well as the ire of the highest populated metro area in America.
Original source here
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