The latest in a long line of Philly Fans vs The World came in Game 3 of the Sixers-Bulls series.  Bulls center Joakim Noah led the fast break himself, but lost his footing and went down with a nasty looking ankle injury.  With Noah writhing on the floor in agony, Philly fans did the compassionate thing and cheered the injury.  Give them a little credit, at least they didn’t throw anything at him.  Here’s video of the play…

If you were watching the game on television, what you didn’t hear was Bulls play by play man Chuck Swirsky immediately blasting the fans cheering Noah’s injury.  Here’s the audio via Crossing Broad

“This is a bush league crowd cheering with Joakim Noah down on the floor.  This is totally unacceptable and despicable on this Philadelphia crowd… Totally unclassy, but then again this is the same city that cheered when Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys went down at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia with a serious injury.  Absolutely no class.”

You don’t hear words quite that strong from announcers too often, but cheering an injury definitely crosses a line of fandom.  With all the awful injuries that have happened this postseason, who knows how bad Noah’s ankle may have been hurt when he went down?  Baron Davis’ career may be over after he tore his entire knee in Game 4 of the Knicks/Heat series.

Considering the Bulls already lost Derrick Rose to his own devastating knee injury, Noah going down just added to the bad luck and misfortune that has afflicted the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.  For what it’s worth, Swirsky’s call seemed to strike the right note in the moment, you just can’t cheer players getting injured.  

In breaking down the call, there is so much packed into those few seconds for an announcer considering all the circumstances.  Here’s another one of your key players going down to injury in a series looking bleaker by the minute and the home crowd is inexplicably cheering.  It’s a mountain of information to process and articulate instantly. We asked Chuck for some further insight into his call of the Noah injury and his strong reaction to the cheering Sixers fans…

“Matt, basically it was a statement on fan behavior based on their reaction to Noah’s injury.  We didn’t dwell on it.  Moved on and that’s it.  It never surfaced again during the broadcast.  Hard to fathom how people can honestly cheer when they see an athlete in obvious pain and agony. It goes way beyond the standard boundaries of what is acceptable in today’s sports forum.  It’s not my style to offer editorials as play by play announcer, but it struck a wrong chord and I felt I had to speak out.  Philadelphia is a great sports city and passionate fans, but they crossed the line. Love the 76ers front office with Rod Thorn Tony DiLeo and Doug Collins.  They’re great people and this is not personal. I made a statement and turned the page.”

The Bulls will look to save their 2011-2012 season without Derrick Rose and likely without Joakim Noah tonight in Game 5 of their First Round series against the Sixers in Chicago.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.