Bears fans: Rex Grossman has feelings too

By Allyson Kloster

As I write this article on an overcast Sunday afternoon, nothing is out of the ordinary. The Chicago Bears are losing to the Tennessee Titans and fans are starting to boo Rex Grossman.

Grossman could rake up more yards than there are leaves on the ground or throw 12 interceptions, and fans will react to him the same way. They will never like him. In fact, many will say they hate him.

But why is this? How do fans develop such intense feelings of hatred toward athletes?

Before I get in too deep, let me warn Grossman haters who are reading this article: I will be defending him, so stop reading while you can.

I defend him not because I care about his feelings, but because I think the hate directed toward him is blown out of proportion.

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Sure, ever since he joined the Bears in 2003 his career has been more tumultuous than a Harlequin romance novel. But it happens all the time.

There are underperforming athletes in every sport. The worst that happens is everyone loses faith in them and they fade into the background. These athletes are never hated, they’re just forgotten.

But if athletes manage to tap dance around the field and avoid getting yanked by a stage hook that plops them on the bench, fans reach for their rotten tomatoes.

Unfortunately, fans cannot pummel athletes with tomatoes in athletics. There is a protective shield around the athletes that prevents us from determining who takes the field.

Darn. It’s too bad we couldn’t use it in Grossman’s case.

Still, Bears fans have waited for the long stage hook to grab hold of Grossman for years. Put in Cedric Benson as quarterback. He’d do a better job, even if he’d rather be boating in Lake Austin.

When the hook never came, fans got angrier and angrier. Instead of wondering who operated the stage hook, everyone’s undivided attention focused on loathing Grossman.

I think it’s unfair. Yes, he stinks. But he can’t help it.

I doubt Grossman intentionally throws more interceptions than touchdown passes. He’s trying his best, so why should we get angry at him?

We should be angry at coaches for leaving him in for so long. They determine whether or not he plays. They are the mysterious beings who operate the stage hook. Honestly, the Bears’ management has screwed up more than Grossman.

Now that Grossman is back on field, it seems that no matter what he does or says, everyone assumes the worst.

Even the media are doing it. Before Sunday’s game, I read, “Rex Grossman said he would be ‘shocked’ if he wasn’t starting Sunday against the Titans,” from multiple sources, including the Chicago Tribune.

It’s as if they were trying to make Grossman seem like a delusional player who assumes he automatically deserves the starting slot.

Even if the quote isn’t pulled out of context, we shouldn’t blame Grossman for assuming he has the starting job. It’d be shocking if he didn’t start, since he practiced all week as the starting quarterback after Kyle Orton got injured.

Still, Grossman has missed so many opportunities that it’d be shocking if this time was any different. And since he’s a hated player, it’ll be harder for him to prove himself than Marques Tuiasosopo, the third string quarterback on the Oakland Raiders.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

But it would be a bad thing if we funneled all of our hate toward him. Remember, he can’t help it that he stinks.

He didn’t make himself starting quarterback, years of bad management and an injured Kyle Orton did.

Allyson Kloster is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].