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Charlotte labeled one of NFL’s ‘weakest fan bases.’ Should we be angry?

When the Atlanta Falcons face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, “they will deal with the light jeering of one of the weakest fan bases in the league.”

Or so said a blog post Tuesday on the sports news website SBNation.

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Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess hands the ball he caught for a touchdown to young fans during second quarter action against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Writer and Atlanta Falcons fan Matthew Chambers credited – or blamed – his premise on a single paragraph posted by the online niche publication Charlotte Agenda, which listed “fair-weathered” Panthers fans among the most annoying people in Charlotte. The paragraph accused fans of losing their enthusiasm when the team suffers a series of losses.

“The Panthers will need some help to win on Sunday, and they probably aren’t about to get it from crowd noise from their weak fan base,” Chambers wrote, before going on to lambast the entire city.

“The city is basically a giant Bank of America branch. The darkest moment of my life was being stuck in an unending conversation about banking with someone from Charlotte. I’m 80 percent certain Charlotte added a football team just so bankers could expense another event.”

His insults sound similar to something Deadspin.com wrote in July, when it said: “There’s a certain cruelty in the fact that Charlotte is both North Carolina’s largest city and also, by far, the boringest town in that state … Charlotte is a bank branch someone made into a whole city, presided over by (Panthers owner) Jerry Richardson and his anodyne football team.”

Charlotte is also “a little light on professional sports,” Chambers goes on to say in his post, with no Major League Baseball and no major league hockey team. (The Charlotte Checkers are minor league.)

This is not the first time Panthers fans have been ridiculed from afar. It has been going on for years.

NFL great Terry Bradshaw once called Panthers fans “stupid” on national television, after someone threw something onto the field at an ejected player.

A Deadspin.com article recently featured someone calling Panthers fans “a joke,” and a Phoenix New Times article last year called the Panthers “the NFL’s biggest bandwagon team.”

“The Panthers attracted hordes of fair-weather fans in the Carolinas and across the nation,” said the article. “Look, we’re willing to admit that not every fan of the team is a beer-swilling hillbilly. But the fact you can see dudes dressed as Dog the Bounty Hunter at Carolina home games, buy a ‘Redneck Wine Glass’ made from a Mason jar that bears the Panthers logo, or catch players rubbing elbows with NASCAR drivers speaks volumes, don’t it?”

There’s even a web page for Carolina Panthers jokes, many of them about the the team’s fans. Here’s a sample:

  • What does a Carolina Panthers fan and a bottle of beer have in common? They’re both empty from the neck up.
  • What do you call a Panthers fan with half a brain? Gifted.
  • How did the Carolina Panthers fan die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him!
  • Why are Carolina Panthers jokes getting dumber and dumber? Because Panthers fans have started to make them up themselves.
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