Football fans can become the nastiest of people when inside the stadiums and free to say whatever they wish. Volkan Sen of Trabzonspor has recently lost his mother, and was a bit overwhelmed when fans of his own team insulted him and her through the stands, sending him into uncontrollable tears, and leaving the pitch, unable to cope with the emotion.
We’ve seen players walk off a number of times due to unfortunate reasons and crowd abuse. It usually has to do with racism against dark-skinned players. It isn’t rare to see players answer back to fans when they feel the people in the stands have gone too far and too sinister with their word choice. But to be that hurt, brought to tears, meaning you can’t play anymore?
There is quite a passionate debate about the subject in Turkey at the moment, about whether or not should have left the pitch, or if he should have played at all if his emotional state was so fragile. There’s no debate, however, about the nature of the fans who insulted him, who seemed to have no problems taking pride in their ability to insult and defending their right to say whatever they want when other complained to them of their disgusting behavior.
When is it going too far? Each league, country and competition has its own set of rules about what fans can and can’t say. Abuse is usually forbidden when it involves racist or homophobic chants. But death seems to be on a different level, and while it might the lowest form of chanting fans can make – making fun or insulting a dead person, there’s nothing, at the moment, that can be done about it.