Throughout the years, many NFL players have retired earlier than expected; Barry Sanders, Calvin Johnson, and Jim Brown, for example. This type of announcement usually shocks fans, who struggle with how to react. This preseason, Andrew Luck unexpectedly retired as quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
Upon hearing the news, Colts fans booed him. This caused a maelstrom in the media, with players, journalists, and fans all weighing in. In the end, we think Colts fans should’ve supported Luck’s decision.
Andrew Luck’s retirement
During an Indianapolis Colts preseason game on August 24, 2019, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story that Luck was retiring from the NFL. The news came as a shock to the football world. The delivery of it no doubt caught Luck off guard, as he was on the sideline in shorts and a t-shirt.
In a bygone era, most fans wouldn’t find out the news until after the game. In an era of social media, however, that’s not the case. Most of the fans likely knew Luck was retiring during the game. As Luck left the field following the contest, he was showered with boos from the Colts’ faithful. Then, Luck held an impromptu press conference to announce his decision.
Players’ reaction to Luck’s retirement (and the angry fans)
Him getting booed, the word leaking out the way that it did, I thought that was a little disgusting because here’s a guy who’s making a quality of life decision.
FS1 sports radio host Doug Gottlieb tweeted, “Retiring cause rehabbing is ‘too hard’ is the most millennial thing ever #Andrew Luck”. Then, former Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Troy Aikman slammed Gottlieb, asking, “What qualifies you to decide how someone should live their life?”
NFL players overwhelmingly confirmed Luck on social media. Players like Derek Carr, Dwayne Haskins, Dez Bryant, and many more all tweeted in support of Luck.
It seems like the ones who understand what Luck’s going through, the NFL players, are in solidarity with the former Colts’ quarterback. Many who haven’t experienced the physical toll of playing professional football had a different view on Luck calling it quits.
Why Colts fans should not have booed Luck
First and foremost, NFL fans should not boo a single NFL player for deciding to retire, no matter what the reason. The players are human beings with agency and lives to lead. The fans are not entitled to the players’ time or health.
Luck also didn’t deserve to be booed because he’s done so much for the Colts franchise. Indianapolis was the laughingstock of the NFL when they drafted Luck (granted, this was due to Peyton Manning’s neck injury the year prior). Luck took the Colts to four playoff appearances.
Another reason they shouldn’t have booed Luck is the same reason he retired: Luck sacrificed his body and health for years for this team. To say that he’s selfish for retiring now, after receiving so many injuries, is simply asinine.
Finally, Colts fans should appreciate Luck’s humility. Despite making what a difficult decision, the QB made the classy move of taking out a full-page ad to thank Colts fans. In it, he thanked the fans for “eight incredible years.” Luck was nothing short of a warrior who gave up his body and had finally had enough.