When Andrew Luck made the decision to walk away from the NFL, he did so with the full understanding that the reactions would be mixed. After all, he was a young superstar choosing to leave a game he loved in the midst of his prime. This was something that wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Barry Sanders both did, but Luck's decision was viewed as far more surprising considering that the Colts were favorites to win the division and return to the postseason.
What Luck may not have been prepared for, however, was the vitriol from the Indianapolis fanbase. When news broke about his sudden retirement, the Colts were hosting the Chicago Bears as part of the preseason schedule.
Without even waiting to hear from Luck, the crowd simply started booing a quarterback that they had previously cheered. Some fans even ripped off their jerseys in anger, only to later burn them for social media.
Some #Colts fans took Luck's jersey during the game, with him still on the sidelines. While others decided to burn his jersey.
Luck retired because his body was too beat up to play any further, he gave his body to those fans, what is wrong with people? pic.twitter.com/bKPSMQUrPU— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 25, 2019
Jersey-burning is a long-standing tradition among NFL fans despite the lack of common sense. Every time a player retires, switches teams, or does something unexpected, football fans react by tearing the jersey off in anger before setting it ablaze.
This is exactly what happened when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders. Similarly, Seattle Seahawks fans burned their Richard Sherman jerseys when he was released by the team and later signed with the rival San Francisco 49ers.
The reason this is viewed as a confusing use of time is that these jerseys can range from $79.99-$299.99 depending on the style. Do the fans have so much disposable income that they can simply set $300 on fire every time they are upset?
Of course, all this does is upset the player in question. As Luck explained during his postgame press conference, he heard the boos coming from the crowd. "It hurt. It...hurt," Luck said.
The football fans may be wanting to show their displeasure and prove some unknown point to the players, but they are having the exact opposite effect. The majority of NFL stars see this reaction happening and view it as further proof that they made the right decision to step away from the league instead of risking their health and happiness for a crowd of ingrates.