What would happen in this scenario?
You approach your husband, wife, significant-other, blow-up doll, etc. and tell them with a face straighter than a 1950s prison warden, "I don't care. If things don't change around here and you don't start giving me everything that I want, I'm taking the kids and pets and I'm out of here". Then proceed to inquire if they think you're joking. After enough tears are shed to overflow the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio...Shout out "April Fools! Wanna go to Applebees?".
You won't be going to Applebees. You won't go anywhere, except the doghouse. If that was me, my wife (who has never raised her hand in anger to anyone) would punch the nostrils off of my stupid face. I'm also pretty sure that it would be a safe bet that I'd never be naked in the same county as her ever again.
Why am I bringing up this bizarre and idiotic what-if?
While not as drastic, Le'Veon Bell basically did this to Steeler Nation. And I definitely don't want to go to Applebees, or get naked with him.
When Bell took to social media on April 1st and threatened to not play under the franchise tag in 2017, I knew it was a joke because he fake-retired last year on April Fools Day. But I did get pissed.
I can take a joke better then most, but it has to be funny. I also love to play the role of the joker myself. Again, it had better be funny. I've had my fair-share of bombs, I get it. But what angered me most about Bell's attempt at a rib-tickler was that his past transgressions has rendered him as not earning the right to joke like that yet.
Sounds harsh, I know. But think about it, this was immature and I'll-timed. I am the first to say that Bell has earned the $12 million that he will get in 2017 and that he deserves to break the bank with his next deal. I hope he does. But I also hope that he grows up and puts the feelings of his fan base and organization into perspective.
I get that he was only joking, but not everybody did. The problem with this joke is that he mentions his lack of getting paid in his rap songs frequently. He posted video of him talking about needing to get paid, when the Steelers were in the playoffs. This is a topic so much that it would be hard to not believe that it was true.
I am the kind of fan that doesn't feel that athletes owe fans anything but the same amount of courtesy that we show them. I respect the athlete that is Le'Veon Bell, but these types of displays are not encouraging to an organization that has supported a player through two season-ending injuries, and two season-opening suspensions. Steeler Nation is nervous about another suspension. The reason being is that the last one was due to multiple drug test no-shows. This occurred not long after he complained/joked about being tested on 4/20 (420 is the police code for marijuana and a very popular weed-awareness day of sorts).
I understand that I am sounding much like the old man that wants kids off of his lawn, but I found the act, although meant to be harmless, as disrespectful to a base of supporters that have become antsy and skeptical of a player they are trying very hard to back.
For me, I'm now ready to move on from this and will continue to back Le'Veon Bell. I just hope he can leave the jokes to the Seinfeld's and Hart's of the world, and maybe someday I'll be ready again to go to Applebees with him.