Mark Madden: Colts fans had every right to boo Andrew Luck
After news of Andrew Luck’s retirement broke this past Saturday during a preseason game at Indianapolis, the fans present serenaded the quarterback with a chorus of boos as he left the field.
Jacoby Brissett, now the Colts starter, said the reaction “sucked. Especially a guy like that, who has done as much as he has done.”
What, exactly, did Luck do? Luck played seven seasons and never made All-Pro.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers called the booing “disgusting” and said the fans should have thanked Luck.
Thanked him for what? Luck never got the Colts to a Super Bowl. The best he did was a 38-point loss in the AFC championship game.
Said Steelers guard David DeCastro, “It’s just sad. People treat us like we’re circus animals.”
Not true. Circus animals don’t make millions, and they sleep in cages with their own excrement.
Luck quitting at 29 because of mental fatigue and various physical maladies is a big story. But the reaction to his departure is more interesting, and an illustration of the disconnect between millionaire players and paying customers.
Those present at Lucas Oil Stadium had every right to express displeasure. They paid to get in. Many purchased season tickets thinking Luck would spearhead a promising Colts team in 2019.
It used to be the customer was always right. Now, the customer can go kick rocks.
The idea of Luck being applauded as he jogs to a news conference to announce he is ruining the Colts’ season on two weeks’ notice is nuts to anyone but an athlete on a pedestal (or a fanboy who kneels at said pedestals).
Those that booed weren’t “bad fans.” They’re just fans.
Big-time athletes are spoiled. They feel they should never know an unpleasant moment.
Luck then did his babyface exit interview. Cue sorrow and hand-wringing from ex-athletes in the media. The word “heartbreaking” has been frequently applied. We were told how much Luck “sacrificed.”
Luck made $122 million during his NFL career, including $24.8 million in bonuses that Colts ownership had the contractual right to take back but oddly allowed Luck to keep — maybe to kibosh a lawsuit over misdiagnosed/mistreated injuries, methinks.
Many words apply to Luck’s situation. When you factor in $122 million, “heartbreaking” isn’t one.
In terms of sacrifice and heartbreak, a single mother working two jobs ranks above Luck. So does a landscaper toiling under the August sun, or a guy getting a crap paycheck at Walmart.
The networks will call Luck. He will be the next Tony Romo. Romo makes $4 million per year. Not exactly a hardship.
“Football isn’t that important.” We kept hearing that after Luck quit.
That’s stupid. The NFL is very important.
The NFL is a multibillion-dollar industry that has a positive financial ripple far beyond those directly employed. Millions obsess over football on a daily basis.
Many who say “football isn’t that important” are ex-players on TV who would be driving a truck or selling insurance if not for football. Jason Whitlock of Fox calls football “the black man’s underground railroad from poverty to the middle class to beyond.”
Football is important. Luck isn’t. He’s just another guy who never won.
Luck’s decision is his to make. But some criticisms of it are valid, especially those involving its timing.
Luck didn’t “retire.” He quit. It got too hard, so he took his $122 million and went home. Ryan Shazier got paralyzed, but he still believes he can play again. Luck hurt his ankle and calf, so he took a powder.
If your son gets a bad math grade, tell him, “Billy, I know math is hard. So just drop out of school.” Obligation and loyalty are dead. It’s all me, me, me.