Chicago Bears: Justin Fields’ comments are no big dealTim Healeyon September 19, 2022 at 9:27 pm

Understandably, Chicago Bears fans are upset. And quarterback Justin Fields appeared to offend them further in postgame comments. Fields said this:

“It hurts more in the locker room than for Bears fans. I mean, at the end of the day, they’re not putting in any work. I see the guys in the locker room every day, I see how much work they put in.” That was his response to this question from a reporter: “Does losing to this team, does it sting more because of this rivalry and how much Bears fans want to win this game?”

Now, I will be the first to admit that Fields could’ve worded his response better but I also found it annoying that certain online outlets seemed to paint his comment as Fields “taking a shot” at Bears fans in a bid to get attention.

As afternoon host Danny Parkins pointed out on the air Monday afternoon on 670 The Score, while we fans may have a huge emotional investment in these games, our lives are also not directly affected by wins and losses.

Meanwhile, the players and coaches have their professional lives on the line. Poor performance can lead to players and coaches being unemployed.

I suppose a counter-argument could be made that players don’t care as much as fans because they’re getting paid well to play a game.

And because some will move on to other teams and some, perhaps most, won’t care as much as fans about the rivalry since they didn’t grow up rooting for one team or the other.

But I suspect most players do care about winning and losing no matter who the opponent is because of the work they’ve put in. Again, there are also professional stakes at hand.

Yes, Fields should’ve acknowledged how much fans care and how upset we get when the team loses. He probably shouldn’t have compared players directly to fans in an either/or manner.

Obviously, it’s possible that players and fans care equally about losing to Green Bay, even if for different reasons. He also probably shouldn’t have been dismissive about fans not putting in the work. Fans give their time and their money to the team.

Certainly, fans could find something else to do for three hours each Sunday and fans could also save a lot of money by not buying Bears merchandise, game tickets, game concessions, parking, etc. Not to mention what fans spend just by going to a bar or ordering pizza for the game.

Justin Fields probably didn’t mean to insult any fans during his press conference.

Then again, having watched the video, I don’t think Fields really meant to be dismissive. It sounds like poor word choice from a young player in the heat of a press Q and A session.

It can be true that Fields’ comments were insensitive towards the fans and that Bears fans have a tendency to overreact to any criticism. It can also be true at the same time that Fields is right in saying that players are the ones who hurt more because of the professional repercussions of losing, no matter how much emotion fans invest.

Personally, I think it’s much ado about nothing. Fields has a valid point, he expressed it clumsily, and in so doing he sounded like he was insulting Bears fans whether he meant to or not. Expect a clarification or apology later.

To me, this flap is small potatoes compared to the Bears’ bigger problems like a lack of a passing game, an inability to stop the run, and so on.

This author doesn’t like the word clickbait since essentially all content is meant to be clicked but it’s true that sometimes certain media outlets try to inflate minor controversies into major scandals in order to bring in pageviews. I’m also aware that even calling out such behavior is also playing into the discourse.

The next time a player says something like this, check the context (the question being asked, any follow-up, etc) and think it through. It’s easy as a fan to feel insulted when the quarterback seems to suggest you don’t care about the team’s biggest rivalry. Especially after spending time and money on the team.

That said, I doubt that was Fields’ intent. I think he was just frustrated that the Bears lost, and perhaps frustrated by the question. I don’t know if the questioner meant to do it but I can see how Fields might perceive an implication that players don’t care the way the fans do.

I think Fields was just trying to reassure fans that the players care as much, if not more, than they do and didn’t make the point well.

Eight hundred words pointing out how this is a non-story aside, it is really a non-story. What matters isn’t who cares the most but how the players respond come Sunday. And every other weekend from now until the season ends.

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