Loyalty is Much More Than Location
Loyalty as described by the dictionary is faithfulness to commitments or obligations. In sports, loyalty can mean so much more or even so much less.
As a fan, one's loyalty is extended beyond comprehension at times. As a sports radio host or analysis, you must leave you loyalty at the door and have no obligation to favor or criticize a specific team or player.
All the time, including multiple times this past weekend, I get emails and tweets asking my "why I hate" their particular school or team. I usually respond with some sort of sarcastic remark, but it always gets me thinking about their state of mind and how loyalty has clouded their judgement.
When we in the business criticize or praise a team/coaches performance it almost all cases, its not directed at the individuals character or teams location, yet its a direct reflection of the teams performance on the field of play.
Furthermore, because I have lived somewhere, attended some school or covered some team, doesn't mean that I have to have loyalty to them. Because we live in South Dakota, should we not criticize the University of South Dakota Coyotes for playing like they should be in class 11AA instead of Division I, or because I have covered the AFC South in my days in Nashville that I shouldn't point out the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars roster is about as pathetic as it gets in regards to fielding a NFL team?
When teams play bad or management doesn't do their job correctly, it is our job to point it out and analyze the situation. On the flip side, when a team like the Minnesota Vikings starts the season out strong against all expectations, its our duty whether you grew up hating the Vikings as I did to make sure and give credit, where credit is due.
Loyalty to your state, region, school or favorite team should not come into your ability to clearly see the facts and relay them to your audience.
Loyalty is for fans, not for sports writers, analysts or hosts. We stay true to our craft and the performances that make up the story.
So the next time you begin to click "send" on a email or tweet to someone being critical of your team, think twice about your team or favorite players performance and maybe re-route that complaint to the party the performed like a #SoftBatchCookie.