On the Houston sports landscape, there exists a rarified stratum of supreme Houston "sports hate" which has been reserved over the years for the likes of Derek Bell, Matt Maloney and David Carr. In more recent years, you can add Carlos Lee, Kevin Martin and Tracy McGrady to the list as well.
Whether because of chronic underperformance, coming up short in big moments, or bloated paychecks from bad contracts (or a combination of all three), guys on this list are firmly entrenched with virtually no chance for parole.
The newest addition to the group over the past four weeks (or longer) had been Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, whose four consecutive games with a pick six interception thrown has been a simultaneous wet blanket on his team's season and trigger mechanism for sports talk radio fireworks.
Ironically, on Tuesday night, Schaub may have sympathetically found a way to get off the "Houston sports hate" list, at least for one night, and it was through nothing that happened on a field of play.
As reported first by Fred Davis of SportsRadio 610, there were Texans fans last night who crossed the line:
A source close to law enforcement told The Fred and Ted Show late Tuesday evening that Houston Police were contacted by the NFL after fans approached Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub at his home and berated him for his recent poor play.
No arrests were made.
"A fan went to his house and told him off," said the source, adding that another person "took pictures of his family," which were allegedly posted on Facebook. Fortunately, neither Schaub nor anyone in his family was hurt.
The irate fans left on their own accord before police could respond, and it's believed Schaub and the Texans contacted NFL Security which asked for assistance from the Houston Police Department after the incident, according to the source.
Schaub has been under intense scrutiny following the team's disastrous 2-3 start which has included the much maligned quarterback throwing a Pick-Six interception in an NFL-record four consecutive games. The Texans return home to Reliant Sunday at noon when they welcome the St. Louis Rams to town.
I think it's important here to point out that "sports hate" is (or at least should be) separate and different from actual hate. You can "sports hate" opponents, and you can "sports hate" athletes who ruin your weekends. It's part of being a fan. Some fans choose to "sports hate," some don't, but I don't have a problem with either approach. One is probably healthier than the other, for what it's worth, but whatever.
It's when you get the rabid psychopath "fans" (quotes totally intentional) like these who can't separate the games from their own lives, who construe their "sports hate" as a reason to burn jerseys or harass athletes, that the concept of "hate" turns into something much more real and inexcusable. Here are my thoughts on what happened to Matt Schaub on Tuesday:
1. Okay, how big a loser do you have to be to show up unannounced at an athlete's house for any reason, good or bad? Yes, you heard me -- any reason. Swinging by an athlete's crib to tell him how awesome he is is much more civil, far less violent, but every bit as creepy as a psycho fan who's looking for a fight. I don't even like it when my friends show up unannounced at my house; you think people want strangers dropping by unexpectedly, even if it's for good?
2. You just know that these losers were thinking, "Yeah, I'm gonna go over to Schaub's house and rep all my peeps in Section 641 and give Schaub a piece of my mind. This one's for you dude-with-rubber-bulls-horns-hat-who-sits-in-my-section-at-games!!!" Well, congratulations, Schaub Hatred losers, your little stunt had the exact opposite of the desired effect. Your going over there to remind Schaub of how unpopular he is unwittingly made him sympathetic and, by definition, a little (very little, but still) more popular on Tuesday night.
3. This is one of those times that I wish the Texans had Pac Man Jones on their team, so that the team's security people or Schaub himself could just place a call, have Pac Man come over and deal with this scumbag on a very, ahem, personal level. This may spur on NFL teams to keep at least one felon on the roster in case shit gets crazy at the quarterback's house after a bad game.
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4. I actually read tweets about this story, along with the story itself, while watching the PBS documentary on NFL concussion trauma called League of Denial, which outlines the NFL's decades-long cover-up on the effects of concussions on current and retired players. Needless to say, it was a horrible night for my faith in mankind.
5. Hey losers, I had the Texans to close out the last leg of a five-team parlay Sunday night that would have netted me almost a grand, and you don't see me going to Schaub's house, do you? Going to an athlete's house unannounced for any reason is unacceptable; going to an athlete's house unannounced for a reason other than "they lost me money" is criminally unacceptable.
6. My favorite Twitter reactor to this story is "Why didn't they do this to Mario Williams when he underachieved?" Guy. Um, dude, open your eyes. Have you seen Mario Williams? Okay, now, have you seen Schaub? Which one would you rather verbally castigate in his driveway? I thought so.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.