Gone are the days when you should have your head down and sulking after a game.
People don’t realise how tightly wound AFL players are - you need to give them some breathing room.
Following the outrage surrounding Dyson Heppell and David Myers smiling post-loss against Sydney, I think it’s important to ask what fans are actually venting at.
Are you annoyed with the loss? Frustrated with the individual?
I’m all for passionate fans and expressing emotion after a game, but give the individual a break… there’s hundreds of moments every game that can be scrutinised.
The average worker doesn’t understand just how tightly these players are wound, what they can and can’t say every day.
Just because you don’t like a player’s reaction you abuse him on social media? A case of keyboard warriors at its finest.
I’d put it to any individual to live a week as a player after a loss, particularly someone who has played poorly, and you’ll understand.
Trust me, it’s nothing like what you have in your mind.
Think back to the start of the year when Alex Rance ruptured his ACL in the opening fixture, he returned on crutches with a smile on his face and was even interviewed.
Rance copped it from fans for not being more upset, but who are these people - who supposedly love this game - to tell Rance to be down in the dumps?
Rance was beyond selflessness.
To have a go at a bloke because he wasn’t in tears thinking about himself is ridiculous.
Another question to ask: how much backlash would be dealt out for a smile post-game from a more popular player?
If Myers was McDonald-Tipungwuti, a big fan favourite at Essendon, would there be the same reaction?
A lot of it depends on where the individual sits on the fans’ pecking order.
When I played, it was almost an unwritten rule to not be jovial following a loss, but things are different now.
Look, I do understand the fans frustration, but it still boils down to people taking aim at one person for a collective performance.
People want more personalities in football, well here they are.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
Dale Lewis is the co-host of Triple M’s The Rush Hour with Jars & Louie, weekdays from 3-4pm and 6-7pm.
Lewis played 182 games for the Sydney Swans between 1990 and 2001.