I Don’t Think Male Sports Fans Are Ready to Go to War With Swifties

Sports Dudes are blaming Taylor Swift for the Chiefs' recent struggles. I wish them luck in their inevitable showdown with her famously feral fandom.

I Don’t Think Male Sports Fans Are Ready to Go to War With Swifties
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Taylor Swift and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce have been dating since the summer, and her fans thus far have been impressively supportive of the relationship. In September, when Swift attended one of Kelce’s games for the first time, Swifties on Twitter took it upon themselves to learn and teach each other the rules of this needlessly complicated sport. By contrast, football fans—whom Swift has charmingly referred to as “dads, Chads, and Brads”—have been a bit less welcoming. And as of the Chiefs’ latest loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day, these fans have declared all-out war on the singer and, by proxy, her own famously feral fans by blaming her relationship with Kelce for the team’s recent struggles. (With their Monday loss to the Raiders, the Chiefs have lost three of their last four games. Swift has attended all four of these games.)

The day after the Christmas game, ESPN’s Skip Bayless tweeted out, “Chiefs imploding on the field and the sideline. Taylor Swift Effect???” This hypothesis came shortly after Bayless wrote that he “feels like it’s about time to call Taylor Swift a distraction.” Radio personality and sports commentator Craig Carton similarly suggested Swift was to blame for Kelce supposedly underperforming as of late, musing on whether he’s “distracted” by their “very public” relationship: “Everyone knows what it’s like at some point to fall in love and have that be the main focus of everything and maybe you lose sight of the other stuff because you have this great new relationship,” he said. Meanwhile, “Yoko Ono” briefly trended on Twitter during and after the Chiefs’ latest game and… I’ll let you guess why.

I have my own personal feelings about this: Namely, what does Swift have to do with whether or not her big beefy boyfriend can catch a ball??? Wherever you fall on the deep and intense spectrum of Taylor Swift Feelings, I think we can all agree that fame has not impacted her own capacity to perform, so her fame shouldn’t be blamed for a man’s performance problems. It’s pretty 101 sexism, to the point that it feels weird to even be talking about this in 2023, but none of this is surprising in a world where the “Kardashian Kurse” remains a universally upheld theorem of sports fandom, and dudes lighting shit on fire is seen as an acceptable response to their team losing.

That said, I am not going to lecture any further about the misogyny of it all. I would just gently ask the male sports fans who insist on whining and bitching about Swift, the attention she receives at games, and her new relationship: Do you know what you’re getting yourselves into…?

For better and, in plenty of cases, for worse, Swift fans go to war for their queen. Male sports fans are probably most accustomed to intra-fandom feuding, telling fans of rival teams to kill themselves, telling these rival fans their wives and kids are ugly, et cetera. But that’s light work compared to what most pop stans are capable of. As one Twitter user quote-tweeting Bayless’ disparaging comments about Swift put it, “skip thinks he’s just engagement baiting again and will not realize what fire he’s playing with here until he tries to start his car tomorrow morning.” Again, I ask, @TravisKelceFan123, are you ready to see your credit card number and address on Twitter dot com?? @ILovePatrickMahomes69, are you ready to die for your opinion that Swift is the “Yoko Ono” of the Chiefs?? Because you just might!

I am of the strong opinion that overly zealous fandoms are the bane—and likely apocalyptic downfall—of society. That said, I’m pretty tired of the unchecked egos of many a male sports fan parading about the internet and rioting in the streets as if they own this place, and I’m ready for them to be put in their place by a different fandom that is just as capable of fighting tooth-and-nail. Sure, it remains debatable as to whether Swift herself offers a meaningful contribution to feminism, but I would find it—if not feminist—then very, very funny to watch her Swifties stomp out sexist sports fans who were caught unprepared for the smoke.

As for Kelce’s thoughts on all this: He doesn’t seem especially bothered by her fame. “Obviously I’ve never dated anyone with that kind of aura about them…. I’ve never dealt with it,” he told the Wall Street Journal last month. “The scrutiny she gets, how much she has a magnifying glass on her, every single day… and she’s just living, enjoying life. When she acts like that I better not be the one acting all strange.” OK, that’s lovely and all, now, please get your fans to listen to you before they get themselves killed, sir.

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