Kadner: Brian Urlacher whines like Honey Boo Boo
By Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org December 18, 2012 6:12PM
** FILE ** Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher looks at the replay screen during the second quarter of their preseason NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field in Chicago, in this Aug. 25, 2007 file photo. Urlacher has been little to the media since the Bears' 34-31 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 14. On Thursday Oct. 25, 2007, his weekly news conference lasted just a couple minutes, with his answers short if not sweet. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: January 20, 2013 6:23AM
Brian Urlacher’s sort of an adult version of reality TV’s Honey Boo Boo.
They both entertain, make lots of money and in a few years will be replaced by someone else.
Urlacher’s disdain for his fans surprises me about as much as Honey Boo Boo’s lack of social etiquette.
She’s a spoiled brat. So is he.
During a Sunday night TV show, after the Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers, Urlacher said “Two of the people I don’t care about: fans or media. They can say what they want to about our head coach, about our players ... it doesn’t bother me. They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Urlacher’s a good football player, maybe a future Hall of Fame candidate, but he’ll never be mistaken for someone who appreciates the people who have made him rich and famous.
What he thinks about fans or the news media doesn’t bother me, except for the notion that he likely never would make such public statements if he thought it would be unacceptable to Bears management.
You won’t hear Urlacher criticizing his coach or his teammates in public. He knows that sort of behavior would not be tolerated.
Ripping the fans? Well, they’re just the jerks who buy the tickets and the team jerseys, and watch the games on TV, where the advertisers pitch their products.
Products, I would add, that often are endorsed by football players. Urlacher, for example, is a pitchman for Comcast.
The fact that multimillionaire athletes view their fans as parasites, living off the reflected glory of their hosts, should be obvious by now.
There’s some truth to that.
Fans live vicariously through the achievements of their sports stars and their teams.
“Why they heck do we do it?” I recently asked a colleague after a particularly devastating Bears loss. “Why do I expend so much emotion on something that really doesn’t matter?”
His answer was simple: Because we enjoy sharing the experience with our friends and family.
In hard times, in particular, sports can be a wonderful escape.
You temporarily forget about the boss who is harassing you at work.
For a few hours, you may not worry about losing your job or the mortgage bill that may not be paid.
I recently visited a co-worker in a hospital, and there he was watching a football game, his personal problems forgotten.
And that’s why it hurts when a lugnut like Urlacher reminds us that he doesn’t care what we think so long as we’re making him rich.
It brings working stiffs back to reality. Urlacher’s no different than the Wall Street traders, the bankers and the CEOs of the world.
In their view, everyone else works to make them rich.
I heard some sports talking head say Urlacher was just frustrated because he’s injured and the Bears are playing lousy. But I heard Urlacher express his low opinion of Bears fans a couple of weeks earlier on a radio show.
The guy simply has no appreciation for the people who have supported him — the couch potatoes who high-five each other on Sunday afternoons whenever Urlacher makes a tackle.
The exception is the superstar athlete who understands just how lucky he has been and makes the little guy, the fan, feel appreciated.
I’m sure Urlacher does his share of charity work in Chicago and has probably signed thousands of autographs.
He’s been willing to sacrifice his body — and most likely his brain — in an effort to win football games. And when you stop to think of it that way, it might not have been worth the millions of dollars he was paid.
From his perspective, the fans don’t fully appreciate what he has done.
From my perspective, he’s just an arrogant guy, a privileged character, who lacks respect for his fellow man.
I’m not saying all fans are wonderful. Some are obnoxious.
But you know what? The fans are the people who allow Urlacher to make a really good living playing the game he loves.
This is a guy who has made more than a few boneheaded decisions in his personal life and fans have looked the other way.
The deal between fan and pro athlete is simple: Play well on game day and you’ll get rich and people will cheer as you run to the bank.
The guy replacing car tires at Costco doesn’t ever hear fans chanting his name and is never going to get a sponsorship deal with Michelin.
The woman cooking sliders at White Castle may have drunks curse her out, but she’s never going to run into someone at the grocery store who says, “Back in 2001, I remember that terrific order of onion rings you served up at two in the morning under pressure.”
I will never know what it’s like to be a pro athlete.
Urlacher will never know what it’s like to be an ordinary fan who lives and dies on Sundays with his favorite football team.
There’s no excuse for any fan who spits on a player.
No excuse for any player who spits on his fan base.
Honey Boo Boo has no idea that someday soon she will be forgotten, replaced by some other cute, obnoxious kid who says silly things.
Urlacher ought to know better.
There’s always another football player, another linebacker, another Bear to support on Sunday afternoons.
The fans will be there after Urlacher is gone.
It’s our team. And if he doesn’t like us very much, well, thanks for the laughs, Honey Boo Boo.
Correction: In Tuesday’s column, I should have quoted Dr. George Harris as stating that 19 percent of the pediatric patients in the Christ Medical Center trauma unit are gunshot victims.