We live in the age of "alternative facts."
And outgoing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has unleashed another fury of baseless, thoughtless and, yes, factless hatred on Philadelphia sports once again.
In today's political climate, where so many people can get away with so much, a media that searches for the truth has never been more important.
So now to Christie.
Appearing on the New York sports network SNY, Christie said of Phillies fans: “The Phillies suck. Let’s just start with that. They’re from Philadelphia. They’re an awful team. They’re an angry, bitter fan base and it’s not safe for civilized people to go to Citizens Bank Park if you want to root for the other team. Ya gotta believe what? Ya gotta believe we’re awful people!”
Lets break down what he said and see if we can understand, you know, what he means by his words.
"The Phillies suck" — Well, they do, but only in the standings. They finished second to last in the NL East last year because they are rebuilding. Every team rebuilds. The Yankees and Mets have rebuilt during periods of time, too. It's how sports work. By what measure do teams suck? The Yankees missed the playoffs, so do they suck? The Mets didn't win a World Series — do they? Clearly Christie's emotions have gotten the better of him. He says the team sucks without mentioning a single player, statistic or argument as to why.
"They’re an angry, bitter fan base and it’s not safe for civilized people to go to Citizens Bank Park if you want to root for the other team." — That's a vast, insulting generalization. Every fan base has diehards, and some of those diehards take things too far. More than 1.9 million fans saw a game at Citizens Bank Park in 2016. Philly has had some bad publicity due to some bad apples. But not safe? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest Citizens Bank Park is unsafe. The only crime reported from the facility since 2009 have been a few underage drinking citations handed down. Metro couldn't uncover any reported serious injuries due to fan misconduct.
Christie has some kind of beef with Philly sports fans. And it makes zero sense. He is the governor of a state full of them. In the midst of a Donald Trumplike rant a few months ago, Christie said a similar thing about Eagles fans.
"Now Eagles fans, I understand it from a little more, because the Eagles do suck and they’ve sucked for a long time," Christie said on the "Boomer and Carton" show. "And their fans are generally angry, awful people.”
Christie is the angry one. It's one thing to insult opposing fans in the heat of a trying moment, a big game or frustrating stretch. But to do it for pretty much no reason during spring training — or after the NFL's regular season?
Christie is a shameless Cowboys fan, and a right-wing Republican. Neither gives Christie the right to make sweeping generalizations about people he doesn't like. Perhaps he is readying himself for a postpolitical career as a talk show host.
We all have seen what happens when you call one group of people "criminals" or "racists."
Ironically, it is Christie himself in trouble with the law, not Phillies or Eagles fans. A result of his "Bridgegate" scandal, where he allegedly caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to inconvenience a political rival, the case against Christie is moving forward in the court system.