WIN or LOSE, I am a Bulldog and will always be a Bulldog. That is a decision I made when I decided to become a part of the Mississippi State football team in 1997. [Mike is a football equipment manager-Gene.]"> WIN or LOSE, I am a Bulldog and will always be a Bulldog. That is a decision I made when I decided to become a part of the Mississippi State football team in 1997. [Mike is a football equipment manager-Gene.]">

MSU Fans: Please Think Before You Speak

<img src="" align="left" width="124" height="163"> WIN or LOSE, I am a Bulldog and will always be a Bulldog. That is a decision I made when I decided to become a part of the Mississippi State football team in 1997. [Mike is a football equipment manager-Gene.]

When I came to MSU, State had just finished a dismal season. People used to ask me all the time, "Why are you going to a losing team?" But I always told them that the Bulldogs would get things going. They didn't believe then, but they became believers.

The truth is I hate losing. Nothing raises my blood pressure more than losing. But I came to State with a commitment, a commitment to become part of what could be and what has become a program that everybody respects.

It really disappoints me that some of "OUR" fans act the way they do when our football team is losing.

40,000 coaches in the stands heavily scrutinize Coach Jackie Sherrill and his staff, who I know all personally, each week.

That is OK. That is part of what goes with their jobs as coaches at one of the schools in the toughest conference in the nation, the SEC. But when it comes to 18 to 21-year old STUDENT-ATHLETES, the things that are being said about these kids are getting to the point of being outrageous.

Do you not think that it hurts these kids when we lose? They put blood, sweat, tears, and many hours into this program every day, and in some cases, all year round. When things are going wrong, who are they supposed to turn to when they need an emotional lift?


Also, what kind of impression are you putting on these message boards for our recruits? Believe it or not, they (recruits) read the things you write. While they probably don't base their decision on what is said on a message board, you and I both know it can't help.

Also, think about some of the players that might be playing in the National Football League in the future. When we need their help to upgrade our facilities or promote our program, your negativism may very well leave a bad taste in their mouths which in turn could cause them to turn their backs on your University. And don't forget that some of them have little brothers or sisters - some of whom may be top-notch athletes someday - listening to the crap in the stands and reading your negative posts on the message boards. When it is our time to recruit them, do you think they will want to come to a program perceived as negative by some of its own fans?

It is a low blow whenever the parents of our players have to listen to that crap in the stands. It is very disheartening to some of these parents, even to the point of causing some to cry in the stands when they hear "their own fans" yelling things about their children, children that they could have sent anyway but instead sent to our university because they felt it was the right place for them. The next time you feel the urge to criticize one of our - really your - players think about those parents.

To the students of Mississippi State: If you think that you can do better than our players, by all means come join us by walking on. We will let you strap the equipment on, and if you can help this team, you will be on the field. Writing crap in our school newspaper does no one any good and is by no means the answer to your frustrations. If you feel you must write something in the school paper, at least make sure you know what you are talking about before you allow it to be published.

Instead of being negative fans, think about this; South Carolina fans are prime examples of how fans are supposed to act. They went 0-22 in two seasons and still they sold out every game. They had hope and faith and over the past few years, they have enjoyed the fruits of that undying hope and faith.

I want to personally thank Coach Sherrill, the coaching staff, and the players (past and present) for affording me the opportunity to be a part of a winning program. Coach Sherrill, I want to thank you for taking us to the SEC Championship Game, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl (a 10-2 season), and the Independence Bowl during my years here.

I guarantee you one thing: It won't be like this much longer. One thing these bad times teach you is who your real friends are.

While many of you may argue, "I give my money to the school!", your money should be given not because you love to win, but because you love this great University.

We - the coaches, players, athletic department officials, trainers, managers - will get this thing turned around and when we do please, please don't be so quick to jump back on the wagon unless you are ready to make the commitment to stay in the bad times as well as the good.

The show will go on. But until we get it back right, take pride in your program and label yourselves as the "World's Most Loyal Fans."

To the players and coaches, keep working hard and doing your best because there are plenty of people who haven't and will never give up on you.

To the loyal fans who are there every Saturday and don't gripe and complain, I will leave you with this: A man is not judged by how he handles the good times, but how he handles the bad times.

I am by no means saying that the fans are the reason for our record because you aren't. I just wanted to let you know of some of the consequences associated with talking bad about your players. If you remember, it was just a short time ago when people were calling for Rick Stansbury's job. And look what he did and is doing even now.

So, please stay positive and hang in there. We will get this thing turned around and your loyalty will be rewarded.


This article is based solely on the opinions of Gene's Page guest columnist Michael Parson and not that of Michael, who is an equipment manager of the MSU football team, can be reached at

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