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Jason Verrett Going in on Ex-Fans Is a Really Bad Look

The Emerging Pro-Bowl Cornerback Is Trying To Step Into A More Public Leadership Role The Wrong Way

NFL: Pro Bowl-Photo Day Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

*rubs the sides/temples of my head*

*pinches the bridge of my nose*


I really hate doing the “policing players on how they communicate publicly/their use of language when speaking publicly” thing since I just turned 28 last month and I’m starting to dread when the “get off my lawn” stage of my sports fandom will inevitably occur. [Editor’s Note: Wait. What would you call the stage you’re in now?]


Something happened this morning that I felt compelled to write about, on that very subject.

So. Context:

Former Chargers Running Back (and, in this writer’s esteemed opinion, modern team legend) Danny Woodhead signed with the Baltimore Ravens at the start of Free Agency. A big factor in this move was current Ravens and former Chargers Safety Eric Weddle, whose recruitment of Woodhead to the Ravens invigorated a potential “Chargers to Ravens” fan pipeline, as Woodhead and Weddle remain particularly popular among current and ex-Chargers fans.

Weddle then openly criticized the Chargers’ handling of King Dunlap, possibly in a related bid to raise the ire of on-the-fence former fans (granted, it’s not as if the Chargers don’t freely give fans reasons to be upset at the team’s direction practically every week), and has taken to retweeting fans contemplating the switch to Ravens fandom over the last couple of days.

Setting aside how kind of weird it is that an official NFL team website openly published (and promoted) an article about poaching fans from a jilted fanbase (I mean, that’s really weird for a tightly controlled organization like the NFL to acknowledge spurned San Diego fans), that’s kind of where we’re at right now.

So... Enter this morning and this tweet from Jason Verrett:

And, well... Look.

I’m just going to quote my first article for Bolts from the Blue on the subject of ex-fans and their fandom choices:


Again, it’s not wrong for players to ask fans to show up. It’s certainly not wrong for players to engage the Los Angeles community and fanbase and drum up some business and support.

But nobody has the right to criticize ex-fans for their decision to leave the team and it’s f#@!%ing wrong to presume that fans owe you (or the team or organization) loyalty, especially after what transpired over the last two seasons (and debatably ever since the team has existed, given the litany of failures, disasters and seasons where the team came up short have colored the team more than anything).

Now, to be fair to Jason, the NFL does take this absurd line when it comes to the fandom of the sport, particularly with regard to whether that fandom comes from a genuine place of admiration and joy, or something more cold, corporate and deceitful.

Also, I’m worried that Jason is being encouraged to tweet out against the fan backlash, using his status as a relatively beloved player to effectively appeal to authority and use the influence tactic of dismissing ex-fans or fans on the fence who genuinely house a love of former players like Weddle and Woodhead as not being loyal. Also inherent in that criticism: that fans of this sort were “never” loyal which, hoo boy, is that a can of worms that I wouldn’t dare open.

“Encouraged by who?” you’ll ask. Well, I don’t think it takes a massive leap to figure that Chargers PR/Front Office/Ownership probably feels the need to push back against the fan backlash and might have put a word or two in Verrett’s ear.

Plus, Verrett was used by the team to help massage the reaction to Jahleel Addae’s contract signing to help assure (*cough*mislead*cough*) fans that the team hadn’t made a gross miscalculation but had instead kept their (allegedly) incredibly talented safety under contract for the near future.

Speaking of Jahleel!

...The less said, the better.

In summary...

Jason Verrett is being groomed for a leadership role with the Chargers organization for years to come. I just hope he’s given better counsel on how to best manage that responsibility in the future.

Clearly, getting healthy, coming back strong, leading the Chargers to a playoff run, and not throwing massive shade at his ex-teammates all seem like REALLY GOOD WAYS to get former fans back on board (because, really, football organizations and players ultimately don’t care about bandwagon vs. non-bandwagon fans).

This isn’t to say Verrett should police his social media policy to the point where he becomes Russell Wilson meets Jared “On-Brand” Goff or anything. Just that, maybe, laying off of ex-fans would be a wise idea when the team is trying its damnedest to rehabilitate its public image. You can still tweet about going to the Grammy’s, man (I’m jealous, that’s for sure).