THERE ARE several things Philadelphia's pro sports franchises ought to caution players about when they are acquired. A laminated, wallet-sized list for handy reference might be best. Or maybe print it all on the back of a smartphone case.
* Don't make fun of those guys dancing in sequins on New Year's.
* Don't say you live in, or intend to go to an establishment that is "downtown."
* If you use the noun "Cowboys" in reference to a football team from Texas, the only possible verb choice for your sentence contains four letters, the first of which is "s".
* It's pronounced "school-kill," or if you want to sound native "skookil."
* And, perhaps most important, do not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever complain about the paying fans booing your unsatisfactory performance. Ever.
Ever. Ev. (pause) Er.
Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is in his third season here, but somehow he failed to pick up on the importance of this last bit of local wisdom until Tuesday. In an interview with Josh Paunil of Phillymag.com, Johnson was asked about fans booing as the Eagles went to the locker room at halftime of their 45-17 Sunday loss to Tampa.
"If we get down by any significant amount of points or we don't make any first downs, we're going to get booed," Johnson said. "That's just kind of how it is. It's not really home-field advantage playing here anymore. Really, that's the truth. Cats here, they really don't care.
"I've heard it so much since I've been here that it don't really faze me like it used to," he said. "When I first got here, though, I was like 'Holy (bleep).' "
That last part also might have been the reaction of Eagles management when Paunil's story was posted. Talk radio and social media went into a tizzy, and very soon, Johnson released a statement.
"My comment about the fans was out of line and I apologize," Johnson said. "I'm just frustrated like they are about our performance on the field. The bottom line is that we need to give them a reason to cheer by scoring and winning games. We need to EARN that home-field advantage and I know that. Our fans deserve better. The Linc can rock and that's on us to make it happen."