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The Right to Boo, or Why FC Barcelona Doesn’t Need Your Jeers

Just because you’re allowed, doesn’t mean it’s helpful.

Barcelona v Athletic Club - Copa del Rey: Round of 16 Second Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona limped towards the finish line in a 2-1 win over CD Leganés, and still suffering from a hangover after a crushing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, the fans spent some time booing and jeering the team.

It wasn’t a majority of the stadium to be fair, but many people felt the need to jeer the team. Andrés Iniesta stated, plainly, “jeers do not help.” Luis Enrique said he did not understand the point: “as a fan, whistling a player from your own team does not make sense.”

Supporters pay a lot of money to see their team play. It’s totally within their right to express themselves however they see fit, so long as it is not crossing certain lines (for example, racial abuse.)

The PSG game is one horrifically bad result, one that legitimately calls into question the entire Luis Enrique regime. It leads, inevitably, to completely-warranted criticism.

But criticism from afar is not the same as audible displeasure in the stadium. And while people are allowed to express their frustration, it is probably not in the team’s best interests for the fans to be anything but supportive while in the stands.

It’s extremely rare to find a player who appreciates booing. I don’t buy the idea that booing as punishment will lead to better performance. It’s much more common to hear players are affected in a negative way, leading to a vicious circle.

As bad as the team gets, jeering or other negative reactions from fans towards their own team is counterproductive. But, every fan who pays should be allowed to do it.

When it comes to discussions away from the stadium, that’s a different story. The players are probably going to be largely unaffected by that chatter, or at least it’s removed from the heat of the moment enough that it will produce a different result.

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