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Empire State Building tests fan loyalty

By JOHN FELTMAN

After living in New York for 22 years, I have come to understand the nuanced culture of being a sports fan in the Big Apple. Yes, we can be pretty scummy and throw fists at a rivalry matchup now and again. But hey, welcome to New York. We expect to win no matter the circumstances. We are the most passionate fans on the planet, and we expect nothing but greatness. It’s simple: World championship or bust. The Yankees could have the worst team on paper throughout all of baseball. You bet your ass you’ll still see me sitting in the bleachers, section 202, participating in the roll call. There are zero excuses involved if you happen to be a New York sports franchise. And as a fan, if you do anything to insult us, you are damn right we are going to get pissed off about it.

But the city let me down last weekend, and for the first time in my life I am ashamed to be a New Yorker. This past Sunday evening, the Empire State Building did all of us die-hard New York sports fans dirty. She bent all of us over, and didn’t even take us out to dinner first. When the Yankees were in the playoffs this past October, the Empire State Building lit up in Yankees navy and gray–an immaculate sight to see. But, this time around it would be a lot different. The Empire State Building twitter account tweeted a photo displaying the colored lights it was shining that particular evening. For the most part, these lights have a very special and significant meaning. The specific shades and patterns play a huge part in their presentation. I am all for the Empire State Building shining different color lights each night to represent different things. But this time, I have a very big issue with it, and I am sure so does the rest of the New York sports fan population: The Empire State Building featured green and white lights to represent the Philadelphia Eagles and royal blue and red lights to represent the New England Patriots for reaching Super Bowl LII. Is this a sick joke? Normally, this would be considered pretty unique and remarkable for a building with such magnitude to represent two teams in this type of fashion. Especially since these two teams are not located in the great state of New York.

How can a prestigious, iconic building like the Empire State Building represent two teams that New York football fans despise the absolute most? I am not even a Jets or a Giants fan but this display still pissed me off. It’s a huge slap in the face to all New Yorkers and an insult to our loyalty. The Philadelphia Eagles are arguably the biggest rivals to the New York Giants, and the New England Patriots are New York Jets fans’ worst enemy. Whoever was behind the idea of displaying that color scheme on the building should be exiled from New York permanently.

You know what the worst part about this whole situation is? The New York Jets and Giants both went winless against these two teams this past season and both finished the regular season with losing records. It would’ve been just as insulting if this occurred after great seasons for both New York franchises, but this just twists the knife even deeper. New York and sports go together like bread and butter, you can’t stomp all over us like that.

New York, you really screwed up on this one. It’s not often I am embarrassed to say I was born and raised in the state, but seeing that photo really made me disappointed and ashamed.

John Feltman can be reached at john.feltman@theminaretonline.com

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