Jordan Matthews knows what it's like to deal with the pressure of being a professional athlete. As the Eagles' top wide receiver, he plays the number one sport in the country in front of one of the most diehard fan bases in the country.
So recent events involving Ryan Howard, who before Tuesday night's go-ahead homer (and regardless of it) is in a career-worst slump, need to be put in perspective. Matthews contends that Howard is not intentionally struggling and fans need to understand that.
"Nobody is a harder critic on a top athlete than himself," the receiver said Wednesday before taking the field for mandatory minicamp. "So as many beer bottles as you want to throw, we are throwing just as many at ourselves personally. There's no reason for it. That's kind of my big thing. I've had my share of ups and downs, there have been times where people have loved me and times that they booed. No one knows my true truth than me."
It's gone down in the same Philly sports lure as the battery-thrower, puke-mon and a notorious list of other fans behaving badly. The assailant who has yet to be arrested for throwing a Bud Light Lime bottle at Howard Saturday did not need to take it to that extreme, Matthews said.
"If an athlete is not showing good effort, has a bad attitude, by all means boo him," Matthews said. "I wouldn't like it from anybody, I wouldn't like it if a cashier from McDonald's shows a bad attitude, but I am not about to walk into Wells Fargo and go at it, or throw a bottle at the bank teller. I would get arrested and be on the front page of ESPN. People need to pump the breaks and show a little respect."
The wideout, who was just shy of eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving last season and will likely be atop the Eagles' depth chart, wants to give Philly fans their due. Most of them know how to be a good fan.
"From what I've seen, especially Eagles fans, the word is 'honesty,'" he said. "When you are doing well, they love you — and when you are doing bad they let you know. I haven't had a situation where a fan was extremely disrespectful to me."