In a recent Psychology Today blog, Sam Sommers explores why Penn State fans would hold a pep rally on Joe Paterno’s lawn despite allegations suggesting he turned a blind-eye towards child rape. It is easy to dismiss these people as rabid football fans who have become soft in the head after years of keg stands and beer funnels. However, a closer examination suggests that this behavior is something we are all capable of.
There is a long history of sports fan delusion. One can still see Atlanta Falcons fans who wear Michael Vick jerseys despite his dismissal from the team years ago for running dog a fighting ring. Tiger Woods is still the most popular player on the tour. Steroids sullied baseball’s reputation, but the offending players are still idolized. Sports fans’ emotions can trump astoundingly bad facts.