Shatel: Rules of civility should be in play for fans at games -
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:00 am / Updated at 2:10 pm
Shatel: Rules of civility should be in play for fans at games

Here at Press Box Buffet Arena, on the campus of Oscar Madison University, I run the joint. And I have a few simple rules.

1. You have the right to cheer for your team. 2. You have the right to be respectful and applaud good effort. 3. You have the right to complain about the price of nachos and 16-ounce pops. You do not have the right to interfere with or stick your nose into the field of play.

I saw the Marcus Smart/Texas Tech incident the other night, and all the replays, and all I could think about was: What the heck is wrong with people?

When did we become so angry? When did we become so courageous? The few times I've sat close enough to the field or court and brushed up to an athlete, I never would have imagined talking to one, much less calling them a “piece of crap.”

And since when is that phrase OK because it wasn't something else?

And why would a middle-aged man even say that to a 19-year-old?

Especially after Marcus Smart just hustled down court to block a shot at a big moment in the game? If you're a fan, you need to be applauding that effort.

Look, I'm not here to do a sociological breakdown of the 21st century sports fan. It sure seems like some people use sporting events more as a release for their anger and frustration than as an escape to be entertained, but that's neither here nor there.

And while social media outlets like Twitter aren't the devil, they certainly empower fans to think they are covering the story — and in some cases are the story.

What I'm here to propose are stricter rules. It is not a right to attend a sporting event. If you do not abide by simple rules — common rules of civility — you can have your privileges revoked.

Put it this way: Fans who provoke a player or coach into doing something that affects the game should be penalized just as if they ran onto the field. And that usually buys you a set of handcuffs.

Smart was in the wrong and he's going to pay the price. But so should the fan on the other end. Heat of the battle goes both ways. So should the penalty.

» Now, once and for all, get off my lawn.

» Creighton coaches were hoping the long layoff would help prevent another February swoon. What it couldn't stop was the defensive effort by St. John's. That was big time. Can other teams in the Big East do that? Not many. Just remember, Jays, when you walk into Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday, measure the distance from the court to the hoop. It should be 10 feet.

» Funny, I don't remember hearing the word “length” that much when the Jays were in the Missouri Valley. What is this new concept?

» Why were the Jays smiling on their way home? They bumped into Bono, the iconic singer for U2, at Teterboro Airport, a private airport in New Jersey just 12 miles from midtown Manhattan. Props to director of operations Jeff Vanderloo for approaching the singer, who is an acquaintance of Warren Buffett. Maybe they can get Bono to sing the national anthem at senior night.

» Is Michael Sam going to be the Jackie Robinson of football? That's not a bad comparison. We'll see. Sam's road to and through the NFL won't be easy. The NFL office will welcome Sam, but several locker rooms won't. He'll have to get drafted by a strong coach with a strong locker room and leadership. Somewhere like New England. Or Seattle.

» I applaud Sam's decision, bravery and certainly the fact that he's a Missouri grad.

» With a win over Illinois on Wednesday night, Nebraska can equal last season's conference win total of five. There's a loftier goal out there, and I'm not talking about postseason. The last time Husker Hoops won more than eight conference games was the 1998-99 season, when Danny Nee and Venson Hamilton went 10-6 in the Big 12 — which was good for a tie for fifth in the league and an NIT bid.

Put together nine or 10 wins in the Big Ten, and you're cozying up to NCAA bubble territory. Then you can try to win a couple in the Big Ten tourney and figure out what it all means.

Better beat Illinois first.

» Certainly there are smart people in the world of college athletics who can get Sami Spenner into the Division I track and field championships. This isn't about finances or even an athletic department that's adjusting over time. It's about a world-class athlete who's ready for the national stage. This seems like a no-brainer of a special case.

» According to the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, Dean Blais got his ejection on Saturday night because he refused to send a player to the penalty box after a third straight penalty on the Mavs. Sometimes a coach will get himself run to make a statement or get his team fired up. In this case, UNO assistant Troy Jutting said it inspired the Mavs to an intense, high-scoring win.

The Herald reported that Blais watched the game from the Ralph Engelstad Zamboni Room, where Blais used to hang out and play pinochle when he coached North Dakota.

» A sandwich with a layer of Fritos chips? Subway is becoming a place where I could eat.

» Read the New York papers on Monday and they weren't hard on Doug McDermott. Not that they should have been, but you never know with New York. Apparently the St. John's fans chanted “overrated” toward the end of the game. I never get that. Why would you diminish your accomplishment?

» I attended a “Welcome DePaul” reception last Friday night, hosted by Ted Baer, at the Hilton across from the CenturyLink Center. There were a lot of compliments from DePaul folks, and it was another example of the good fit that Creighton seems to be in the Big East.

Among the DePaul guests was former Blue Demon Dave Corzine, who also had a long NBA career. On the big screen, they showed a replay of the DePaul-Creighton game in the 1978 NCAA tournament at, of all places, Wichita's Koch Arena. DePaul came back from way down to win that one, 80-78.

Later, Corzine spoke and had the line of the night: “They used to call me the Lumberjack, so when I heard tonight was Lumberjack Night, I thought it was for me. Guess not.”

» One more and I'm outta here: Another day, another lunch. Please join me at the Omaha Press Club today at noon for the Shatel Sports Series, where the main speaker will be ... me. I can promise you sports opinions. Not sure about Fritos.

Contact the writer: Tom Shatel    |   402-444-1025    |  

Tom Shatel is a sports columnist who covers the city, regional and state scene.

Read more related stories
Google signs deal with MidAmerican Energy to power Bluffs data center
Supreme Court conflicted on Aereo’s streaming TV service
Iowa State servers hacked, nearly 30,000 SSNs at risk
'Being frugal counts': Student pays for college with pennies
Crawford: No Iowa fight; if not Omaha, I'll go elsewhere
Shatel: Miles in rumor mill is hint of Huskers' relevance
New public employee pay data: Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy Counties, plus utilities
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
2nd District House race: After 8 terms, Lee Terry knows how D.C. works — and doesn't
Bellevue man is killed at Minnesota dance hall after South Sudanese basketball tourney
The best bar/restaurant patios in the Omaha area
Trial date set for man accused of threatening students
Nebraska man gets 50 years for trying to kidnap ex-wife
Breaking Brad: Into the claw machine! Florida kid follows Lincoln kid's lead
Iowa lawmakers continue session without per diems
Spring corn planting still sputters in Nebraska, Iowa, other key states
Chasers earn series split with Nashville
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
19-year-old killed in one-vehicle crash at 72nd & Shirley
Gov. Heineman vetoes bill to ease restrictions on nurse practitioners
U.S. Senate race: State Auditor Mike Foley defends Shane Osborn against ad campaign
Public defender to represent Nikko Jenkins in sentencing
Husker Talk Live: Replay
Huskers get 2 more night games
Mid-America Center on track for lower operating loss

Tuesday's Top Events
PCL baseball
Omaha 5, Nashville 1
College baseball
UNO at Creighton, 6:30 p.m. (Live stats)

Game Time, TV/Radio Schedule
Tuesday's Area Events
Tuesday's TV/Radio Schedule
Wednesday's Area Events
Wednesday's TV/Radio Schedule

Prep Results (mobile)

Holes in One
Dog Racing Results
Horse Racing Entries, Horse Racing Results
Deadline Deal thumbnail
Steam-A-Way Carpet Cleaning
$50 for 3 rooms and a Hallway up to 600 square feet
Buy Now
< >
Blog: Dirk's 'Mad Chatter'
Dirk Chatelain offers his thoughts on the latest news from around the sports world, complete with links to the best articles, opinion columns, YouTube videos and more.
Civic Auditorium Timeline
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel asked readers for their favorite memories of the Civic Auditorium. We combined their submissions with a few key events or moments in the auditorium's history.
CWS: Banner Years
The College World Series historical database, a growing home for historical information about past NCAA baseball championships, which have been played in Omaha since 1950.
Downtown Omaha event map
Discover the area surrounding the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and downtown Omaha -- including restaurants, arts & entertainment venues, hotels and local retail outlets.
Facebook: Tom Shatel's page
Get Tom Shatel's sports columns delivered straight to your Facebook feed.
Follow Tom Shatel on Twitter
Get instant analysis and commentary from World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel on Twitter.
Nebraska high school basketball's greatest night
Four elite teams. Two buzzer-beaters. One packed house. On March 11, 1989, the stars aligned and produced the best night in Nebraska high school basketball history.
Shatel's blog
Check out the latest from World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel.
Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports
Get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's book "Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports."
Super Bowl: Through the years
The Super Bowl is a yearly media madhouse. See how The World-Herald sports section's front pages portrayed each of the Super Bowl victories won by those players celebrated in our Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl QBs.
Talk sports with World-Herald reporters
World-Herald reporters log on to talk about the latest news surrounding the Huskers, Jays, Mavericks, high schools sports and more. Check out the upcoming chat schedule or replay the latest discussions with the fans.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
The Nebraska 100
In an historic 2005 series, The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes. In a new web exclusive, see the digitized collection for the first time.
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »