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September 22, 2021

Eytan Shander: It's okay, this Ben Simmons nonsense is not your fault Sixers fans

Opinion Sixers
Ben_Simmons_8_Hornets_Sixers_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons.

It’s not your fault.

But I spent years supporting Ben Simmons.

It’s not your fault.

We ate those meat pies! We adopted Australia!

It’s not your fault.

I supported this guy for years, no matter how bad it looked or got on the floor. I’m done supporting these guys only for them to turn around and blame the entire fanbase.

Stop. Take a breath. You did nothing wrong and should never feel bad about supporting a player in this city. 

What happened to Carson Wentz? It’s not your fault. 

What happened with Markelle Fultz? It’s not your fault. 

What’s happening right now with Ben Simmons? It’s not your fault.

None of this is anything more than business as usual in a pro sports league, with the lone caveat that it is easy it is to pin nonsense on our fanbase. We are an easy target and players – and their agents – are fully aware of this.

“The same thing that makes you laugh will make you cry” as my co-host Barrett Brooks often reminds us, and it holds so true here. There’s nothing wrong with pouring out your emotions from the stands while cheering on a star player. The buildings have always been loud, from cheering on Fultz for just stepping on the floor, to Wentz and his struggles. Those are the fans who represent us, not some idiot waiting on hold to talk to a radio show.

The narrative is simple because we’ve seen this before, it’s already happening right now with some of these absurd reports. The latest being that groups of fans were plotting to show up to camp – which is closed to the public – and “boo” Simmons. This is so believable because of the already existing stereotypes hovering over us like a dark rain cloud. Of course, anyone paying attention to the actual situation knows this is the biggest farce to come out of this story.

Unfortunately, fans are feeling a sense of remorse for cheering on Simmons, only to see his camp – allegedly – leak some nonsense about a pretend threat of boos. While it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to hold this behavior against Simmons moving forward, to retroactively chastise yourself for buying in from the jump.

It’s ok. We can be wrong at the end while being right throughout. This isn’t a marriage. We didn’t push anyone out, nor is there any universal hatred towards Simmons. It’s on us to fight this narrative that’s built so easily and accepted by a gullible national machine. Some producer in Bristol or LA isn’t giving you the benefit of the doubt, even if they happen to be from this city.

Negativity fuels those ridiculous morning TV shows and we are easy targets. But you’ve been through all of this, from the first day Simmons was selected out of LSU to his last day infamously passing up a wide-open bucket. We saw Wentz go about his departure with a ton of radio silence, even leading some to believe that he was coming back.

Simmons and his camp want a trade, and the Sixers aren’t rushing to make a deal. They may not have a deal even worth making. Nothing has changed since we last spoke about this, since Kyle Neubeck was on vacation, or even since that fateful meeting between Simmons and Joshua Harris. Again, the only thing that ever changes with this stuff is impatience, usually coming from the player’s side.

Jalen Hurts is getting a ton of support, most fans I interact with love the idea of him growing into the franchise QB. People are willing to give him a shot. Sound familiar? We won’t be in the business of apologizing for sticking with Hurts. I’m confident he can play. He’s also handled last year and this offseason with nothing but class.

While Simmons may be an anomaly when it comes to defining how bizarre his situation is, both on and off the floor, this is far from any warning. Guess what? There are going to be more people who play here that have an issue, or imbalance on the field of play, or simply a tough person to support. We may even see players who don’t hang around the city, something that seems to matter to a lot of people.

We don’t have anything to apologize about for supporting Simmons. You don’t have to “own” anything. So much of his upside was predicated on putting an ounce of effort in improving the glaring weakness. 

The worst case we all thought this dude is that he would develop a bad shot, not continue to have zero shot.


The Atlanta Falcons offense needed an extra week, but their offense finally arrived in the 2021 season. Meanwhile the New York Giants had little trouble putting up points last Thursday night against a decent Washington defense. The good news on this total being at 48.5 — vis — is it isn’t quite reflective of how bad the Giants can be on defense. Yes, a backup QB was able to move the ball last Thursday, so you can safely expect Matt Ryan to look way more comfortable.

The Faclons defense is atrocious and that isn’t going to improve anytime soon – if at all. The Giants have a dangerous rushing attack led by **checks notes** Daniel Jones. In all seriousness, Jones can take off and put some points on the board, or at least get the ball deep into Atlanta territory. Both teams move the ball, both teams score, so bet the OVER 48.5.

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Follow Eytan on Twitter: @shandershow

You can listen to Eytan on The Middle w/ Brooks, Mayes and Eytan (Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-1 p.m.) and on @foxphlgambler (Mon.-Weds., 6-8 p.m.)

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