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Darnell Dockett Is A

Loveable Meathead Troll

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Image of Darnell Dockett by Anthony Quintano and used under a Creative Commons license.
The Currently Injured, Defensive Line Standout For The Cardinals Is Obviously Having Fun With Fans And That He Is A Living The Dream Of A Player In The National Football League

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By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 21, 2014 — There’s not a lot of difference between a loveable sports troll and a meathead jerk, but there is a SOME difference.

For every John Rocker, who gets snowballs filled with batteries pelted at his head, there’s a Darnell Dockett, who can openly mock the famously insane Raider Nation and live to tell the tale.

So, what is the difference between a troll and a douche? I think a lot of it has to do with perspective. And, while someone like Dockett may appear to lack it on occasion, I think he has more perspective than many of us think.

You see, Dockett is having fun, pure and simple. Does he rifle feathers and act like a sore winner sometimes?

Sure.

But, he’s the kind of sore winner you want on your team. He’s the type of guy who’ll reward a fan with free swag for helping security break up a fight. He’s the type of guy who’ll troll the most notoriously unhinged fanbase in football with no regard for his own personal well-being.

The troll in question has to do with Dockett creating a sign that read “Worst in the NFL. 0-6.” with a smiley face in the 0. The sign was directed at Raiders fans who Dockett had been jawing with all day when the Cardinals sealed their latest victory and kept the Raiders winless on the season.

On the surface, it looks like a completely idiotic move. Just a stupid jock doing something stupid. But, Dockett is known around the league as a bit of a sarcastic goof. Now that he’s out with a knee injury, he has little else to do than troll fans.

And, I think the fans respect that. They’ll troll right back for 60 minutes (and possibly send batteries flying at his feet) but in the end, Dockett left Oakland Colliseum with nary a scratch, outside of the surgical scar on his knee.

It’s because there’s a difference between playful banter and mean spirited idiocy. Dockett was just giving a few passionate fans what they wanted, a measure your 'you know what' contest with an NFL player. They’ll probably be telling their friends and co-workers about it for weeks.

Dockett is the rare athlete who knows he is an entertainer. Fans who pay attention realize that he doesn’t take himself too seriously. That’s why following him on Twitter is so fun. Darnell is a guy who realizes he’s a playing a game he enjoys for a living, so he’s enjoying the rest of his life while he’s at it.

Real friction occurs between fans and players when the fun leaves the occasion. Take the aforementioned John Rocker, who was just kicked off of Survivor because he’s still the world’s biggest tool.

In a 1999 interview with Sports Illustrated, Rocker managed to alienate pretty much everyone who’s not a white male from the South by making several derogatory statements aimed at minorities, foreigners and homosexuals while talking about New York City, Mets fans and Yankees fans.

He then received a fairly battery-filled hail of resentment from Mets fans during the playoffs that year. The whole incident was ugly and black eye for the league.

See the difference?

Athlete trolling works when it’s all in good fun for both sides involved. But, when either side is actually trying to inflict damage, physical or otherwise, on another group, it’s over the line.

We’re talking about sports, after all. Not world politics. If we can’t have fun with it, what’s the point?

That’s why I love Darnell Dockett. Head coach Bruce Arians probably isn’t a huge fan of his theatrics, but the fans are. He’s a player that Cardinals fans love to love and the opponent’s fans love to hate.

But, that hate doesn’t extend far beyond a good jab here and there because Dockett is keeping his troll within the context of the game. The trouble starts when things boil over that line.

Speaking of boiling over, what’s Metta (Ron) World (Artest) Peace doing lately?

Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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