Moral Question Of The Day: Is ‘Toronto Stronger’ Guy The Worst, Or Just Not That Clever?

  • Eric Goldschein

This morning, while scrolling through Reddit, I came across a post labeled “This man should never be able to attend a sporting event again.” Here is the picture of said man:

For those of you who don’t follow the NHL, the Boston Bruins are currently playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs (Boston is up 2-1 after winning last night, by the way). So in a not-too-clever take on the recent “Boston Strong” rallying cry, this Toronto fan mocked up (or bought?) this sign and ostensibly brought it to the arena.

“Boston Strong” references the city’s resolve in the wake of the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, and the phrase thus conjures up a lot of emotions for the city’s residents, its sports teams and their fans.

Of course, sports fans are not known to be the most morally/socially/emotionally conscious individuals, and an emotional sticking point like “Boston Strong” (and all it represents) was bound to be capitalized upon at some point. And if you asked them why they chose to bring personal matters into the realm of sport, they would say something along the lines of “Hey man, anything for the win.” It’s a delicate line between trying to get into your opponents’ heads and crossing over into lacking human decency.

There are varying degrees of this throughout every league, on every level, in every city. The “Honey Nut Cheerios” chant in Boston the other night comes to mind; Duke fans asking a player “How’s your grandma?” does as well. The question is, what’s too far?

This guy with the sign, while dickish, strikes me as more stupid than malicious. It’s like somebody making fun of a breast cancer ribbon — why would you do that other than ignorance of the movement’s importance and meaning? Clearly, this guy doesn’t know anyone from Boston. Now, if he had a started a “Dzhokar Tsarnaev” chant in the crowd, that would likely be grounds for dismissal from the stadium and a lifetime of being hated by everyone with a moral compass.

What do you think? Are there lines that just should not be crossed — and if so, what are they? Or should sports fandom be like Daniel Tosh and rape jokes — nothing out of bounds in the service of comedy? We’d love your opinion in the comments.