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What Good Did That Plane Really Do?

Once again, disenchanted fans shelled out some money to fly a plane with a protest banner talking about how the club is still a wreck. What good did that really do?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So says the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  Granted, not every piece of speech is protected.  You can't yell fire in a crowded building for example.

But you certainly may shell out a truckload of money to fly a plane over 17,000+ (reported) people in the stands (I'll say it was only 11,000 and call it a day) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for them to freely speech in all their First Amendment glory, "The club is still a wreck.  KSE and Hinchey out!"

Good.  We all feel better now!  We have that off our chest?  Good.  As long as you feel better, it sure doesn't make us feel any better.  let me tell you what it really does that makes it counterproductive to whatever you hoped to accomplish.

  1. You really connected to those who agreed with you.  Granted, many (if not most) agree with you. Some have bought into the 'wear anything but burgundy' protest, but that stunt only fired up those already fired up. Maybe that was your aim. Fine. Mission accomplished.
  2. You turned off any others who just wanted to come support their local club and have a nice day out with the family. The Rapids struggled in penetrating an overloaded professional sports market in Denver.  You actually get people to the game, and what did they see and hear?  The engine of a Cessna whirring over the stadium with "the club is still a wreck" banner in tow. You may have turned future fans off. (More on this in a future article.)
  3. Do you believe that helped the players play with more inspiration?  Hardly! Yes, it may show you care (see #4), but would this really want the players on the field to play any better? Also, would it contribute to any other quality players wanting to come?  Maybe, maybe not!
  4. You still showed you care about the club--which is a backdoor win for the Front Office.  The opposite of love is not hate but apathy.  You don't hate something you don't care about. For the Front Office, that display is better than the condition of fandom, say, five years ago when no one would care enough to shell out that money and display their affection for the team. For them, I'd imagine this is a win!
In reality, all the plane really did was give a significant (and expensive?) vent to some frustrated fans. We live in America, we have First Amendment rights, and can spend our money the way we choose.  Fine!  But whether this did more harm than good for new fans, time will tell.

Planes don't put pressure on Front Offices to change.  Empty seats and continued pressure from fans will do that.  But as for that plane?  There are other more effective and less counterproductive ways to protest in the long run.