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It is okay that Royals players cheer for other NFL teams

Not everyone is a Chiefs fan.

This offseason is long and boring. Kansas City Royals fans are oddly wound up, partly because beloved players have been traded (Wade Davis and Jarrod Dyson), partly because the Royals weren’t good last year, and partly because everyone seems to know that 2017 is it for The Core that was so successful.

I’d also wager that a significant percentage of Royals fans are also Kansas City Chiefs fans, and as the best Chiefs team in decades there was legitimate playoff expectations, with the caveat that the Chiefs have been soul-crushingly disappointing since roughly the Battle of Gettysburg itself (the Chiefs, an infinitely-propagating sadness machine, lost).

Into this bubbling potential energy walks Eric Hosmer, whose Instagram post yesterday churned Royals fans into an undulating mass of hot takes.

That’s Royals players Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain with Seattle Mariners (BOOOOO) outfielder Jarrod Dyson and Green Bay Packers’ Damarious Randall.

The takes on this seemingly innocuous event were oddly passionate. The most heated voices came from people criticizing Cain and Hosmer (and indirectly Dyson, who is #FOREVERROYAL in our hearts). Quoted below are some of the responses we got on our Facebook and Twitter posts covering Hosmer’s exploits:

They should be representing the Chiefs at Arrowhead instead!!

Don't they know the Chiefs are playing a game as well? Not a good look.

Probably shoulda kept this post to yourselves. You should be in KC supporting the Chiefs. Just my opinion.

Why are they not supporting the Chiefs???? They should remember the Chiefs players supported them during their post season. Would have thought Hoz for sure would have been at Arrowhead.

So the Chiefs players support them but they can't return the favor? Smh....

really?!?! Should be here in KC cheering on your neighbors. #ChiefsKingdom

That's completely shitty.

It’s important to note that these aren’t just the frustrated thoughts of the minority - some of these were the most liked comments on our posts, and were liked far more than positive posts relating to Hosmer et al. There are clearly a lot of people who are very angry about this, if they aren’t the majority (which they may well be, I don’t know--participate in the poll below to voice your opinion).

To kick it off: In this case, it’s important to note that Hosmer and other Royals have supported the Chiefs.

So it’s not like the Royals just sit over at Kauffman Stadium and ignore the other team.

But that’s not the root of the issue; the root is this, which I’ll put gently: it is okay that Royals players cheer for other NFL teams! Of course it is! The big reason for this is pretty simple. An athlete often has no say in the team they play for (if they are drafted), and even if they do via free agency, their relation with a team is a simple business contract. There is no contractual or moral obligation to support any team other than the one for which an athlete plays for.

Beyond that, athletes are real people with real histories, lives, and friends. We tend to elevate athletes to a mythical status, but the only difference between them and us is that they are more athletically gifted (and more driven, usually) than us. They aren’t a special breed of human. They bleed like us, love like us, and are complicated individuals with relational flaws and strengths. This is not a complicated idea, but it is an additional step that is easier not to take.

It’s easier to see athletes as commodities, or as a bizarre patchwork of unrelated ideals. That way, we can get as furious with them as we like and say whatever cruel thing pops into our heads because, hey, they’re "just an athlete."

Athletes doing things for their communities is fantastic, but it’s not a required part of the job description. Hosmer’s job description is: play baseball. That’s it. If Hosmer wants to go watch a football game in a comfortable dome with some friends, that’s fine. He’s human.

None of us are morally obligated to watch or support the Chiefs (even if you live in Kansas City). That our other athletes should be is silly.