I love the city of Philadelphia. I love its history and I love the people, the people who have been kind and welcoming every time I've visited. If the opportunity to reside there ever presented itself, I'd definitely consider it.
Most of all, I love my Philadelphia Eagles.
But, as a die-hard fan of this team, as an athlete, a sports fan and someone who has studied the sports industry, I have to say I'm ashamed of the treatment inflicted upon Minnesota Vikings fans when they attended the NFC Championship Game at The Linc earlier this week. True, every team has its drunken, hostile fans. But no one can argue with the multiple photos, videos and commentaries that have surfaced documenting the unacceptable behavior of many who donned green on Sunday. I think it's clear the line was crossed.
This year's Eagles team has displayed such unity and faith in one another; the players have achieved great success despite the many obstacles that arose during the season. Many of our players are respected by fans of other teams, not just because of their athletic talent, but because of their character off the field. I think it's unfair that the perception of this classy team should be soiled due to the unethical actions of fans. But I understand.
To the Minnesota fans who were treated poorly, I apologize. I apologize that you weren't allowed to fully enjoy your game and your time in the City of Brotherly Love. I promise you, there are many wonderful qualities in that city and the people who live there. I apologize that you weren't shown respect.
To the Philly fans who treated those in purple as human beings: thank you. I wish there were footage of your civility to soften the opinions of those who now believe everyone who proudly bleeds green will launch full beer cans, punch horses and start fights.
To the Philly fans who want to tell me to buzz off (or worse) for writing this, keep in mind that your actions reflect upon your beloved team, upon your fellow fans and upon your city. Your city is not being seen in a positive light right now. Why do you think that is?
The nation respects Carson Wentz. The nation respects Malcolm Jenkins. The nation respects Zach Ertz. The nation respects former Eagles like Brian Westbrook. And the nation respects coach Doug Pederson and many others affiliated with the Eagles franchise. Perhaps an appeal to decorum from one or all of these Philadelphia leaders would remind all fans that support and loyalty don't have to come in the form of misconduct.
I may not live in Philly, but my heart and my loyalty will always be with the Eagles. I yell, I curse, I even throw things from time to time when an important game is on the line. My husband is from Massachusetts, so all of these behaviors will be in full swing come Super Bowl Sunday, when our two teams battle for the big one.
But I'm also grateful for the fan in that opposing jersey. Because, I mean, what would football be without the enemy on the other side?
Kyndel McConchie lives in Columbia, S.C.