Dr. Lou’s View – What’s with all the Fuss?

We’ve all seen fans running on the field of play at sports events just to get their face on camera and generate “likes” on their social media accounts.

Though disruptive to the flow of a game or match, these invasions traditionally have an element of fun and celebration. Fans alternately cheer the invader and then security as they chase the invader down and remove them from the field.
Something is different now.
In my view, the return of fans to stadiums and arenas since 2021 has brought more fuss (unnecessary or excessive concern) than fun to events. I cannot pinpoint a root cause, but the fuss seems connected to social and political changes and a sense of frustration that were exacerbated by the pandemic.
So what is behind all the fuss?
The social justice movement that arose in the wake of widely publicized police brutality incidents in 2020 has changed the environment at sports matches. Slogans, “taking the knee,” and other forms of virtue signaling by players, teams, and sponsors influence behavior. As I’ve noted before, a general coarsening of society has created conditions for poor fan and player behavior.

In 2021, parents seemed to encourage their children to storm the pitch in Premier and FA matches so the child could claim the jersey of an obliging player. Though initially cute, the proliferation of this behavior evolved into older fans trying to raise their social media profile by storming the field and running at the players.

How are activists “fussing” at sports and entertainment events?
In 2022, activists with different grievances are invading the field, pitch, and courts around the world. Groups like ‘Just Stop Oil’, Extinction Rebellion, and ‘Jane’s Revenge’ use aggressive tactics like blocking raceways, zip tying people to goal posts, super gluing people to surfaces, and running with flares on the field to gain attention. Each incident seems more egregious than before.
On 23 September 2022, a climate activist set himself on fire on the courts at the Laver Cup tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London. Though he used an immolation technique to ensure he was not harmed, the message he sent was that activists are willing to take violent action to compel change.

Fans were enraged by the disruption because this was Roger Federer’s last tournament before retiring from the sport.

Climate activists have disrupted four other major sports events this year, including the Tour de France and the British Gran Prix.

As if they do not have enough to do, planners and security need to prepare themselves to contain the ‘fuss’ before it gets out of control.

In my view, it is only a matter of time before an activist kills themselves or harms others with their antics at a sports or entertainment event. We need to bring back the fun and do away with the fuss, now!

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