It seems as though the relationship between the general population of Philadelphia sports fans and Domonic Brown is, to say the least, strained.
If you remember, Brown was a highly-touted prospect that was untouchable at one point — even in a possible trade for Roy Halladay. That alone put an enormous target on his back in the eyes of Phillies fans.
It took him a while to really break out for the Phillies, if you can even call it that at this point. He struggled mightily in his first 500 MLB plate appearances prior to 2013. A big influence to his struggles was the fact that he never really had a chance to work out the kinks at the major league level and find a groove. He would struggle, and instead of letting him figure it out, the Phillies would send him down. He was never with the big club for enough time to find his swing.
A faction of Phillies fans didn’t care. They were told that he was going to be good enough to be untradable. He needed to perform to justify that title. Some got tired of Brown, and wanted to see him traded while he still had value as a prospect. “The Phillies should cut their losses with Brown” was an all too common phrase prior to 2013.
Even though it was three years, Brown still hadn’t had 500 PAs yet. All the hate and backlash for him was overdone and premature. In 2013, he had a solid season and even made the All-Star team. But there was an interesting development. He joined Twitter.
A quick Google search for Kyle Williams’ mentions after he muffed two punts in the NFC Championship Game two years ago reveals what Twitter can do to an athlete.
So, as expected, people directed insults, racial slurs, and nasty comments at Brown after poor performances. To be fair, there’s plenty of positive comments in there as well.
But Brown did something that is now becoming controversial, as you’ll see in a little bit. He fought back. At first, it was playful. He and Cameron Rupp sported Dallas Cowboys jerseys in the Phillies’ clubhouse and posed for pictures. That ruffled some feathers in Philadelphia, to put it lightly. Even though the Eagles and Cowboys had not played yet, Philadelphians took his jersey-wearing personally.
A few days later, the Phillies posted a picture of a few players wearing Eagles hats in support of the team. Not coincidentally, Brown was one of those players. Maybe the Cowboys jersey incident would just blow over.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. The Eagles are hosting the Cowboys in a battle for first place. Into our timelines pops a picture of Brown at the Eagles-Cowboys game, sporting a Dez Bryant jersey with a group of other Cowboys fans — Mike Adams included.
Immediately, “fans” directed absurdly hateful things at Brown. From calling for him to be traded, to wanting him to literally break his leg, the stir he had created was stunning. And the funny part? He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew it would spark rage with Phillies fans. He wanted to spark that rage.
If you aren’t familiar with the term “trolling,” it is basically the act of purposely ruffling feathers for entertainment. And this is exactly what Brown did. Flawlessly, I might add.
On Monday, after plenty of articles — local and national — were written, Brown was on Twitter, discussing Sunday’s events. Buried in the discussion was something very interesting. He said that “Philly doesn’t love” him.
An odd development.
He’s missing something. Philadelphia sports fans don’t dislike him, nor do they take kindly to being taunted. Regardless of whether or not you think it’s OK for him to root for the Cowboys openly in Philadelphia, toying with fans only to get sensitive about it makes little sense.