Officially, the BYU-Utah football rivalry may not pack the same punch as in the past, but don’t tell that to the fans.
Judging by the comments below any college football story, fans on both sides are still hungry to compete. Unfortunately, the competition seems to be a race to the bottom.
Let’s face it, sports fans love to smack talk. They revel in their team’s victory and rejoice in their rival’s defeat. And few sports hold as personal a connection for fans as college football.
We at The Tribune love the passion fans bring for their team, their school and their city, and we wholeheartedly support the chiding and sharp-witted debate that results. However, a cadre of sltrib.com posters have for some time taken things too far, too often.
Over the past year, we have worked hard to rein in commenters on news stories and ban those whose sole goal is to incite furor. The effort has worked. We have fewer reports of inappropriate comments and more commenters joining the discussion. Few would say these changes have come at the expense of free speech or differing viewpoints — vigorous debate is still alive and well on sltrib.com.
Now that we know how to improve the dialog, it’s time to jump in to the deep end: college football comments.
Consider this your warning, folks. The days of calling all Ute fans drunks just to get a reaction are gone. Ditto the magic underwear and Kolob insults. You can also stop creating entirely fictional and terribly offensive personal lives for players and their families, and constant pointless insults aimed at other posters (and their mothers) will not be tolerated.
Are we trying to eliminate smack talk? Not at all. But it’s gone too far. It’s not fun; it’s offensive. Some of the most egregious hooligans (and you likely know who you are) will come around and figure out how to bag on the other team with stats, humor and at least a hint of decency; others will be banned.
Readers can help by flagging comments that cross the line, not because they’re in favor of the other team, but because they just don’t belong in the discussion. It is our hope that getting rid of the extreme element will open the door for more fans to share their passion and let the other guys know who rules the roost in Utah football.
If you have questions or concerns, share them in the comment section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And whichever side you root for, Go Team.