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It seems the Jacksonville Jaguars can’t help but catch stray bullets, even in an intra-Philadelphia sports discussion.
In an appeal to embattled Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons, who is requesting a trade after holding out the last several months, Eagles center Jason Kelce defended the city’s fans and their expectations of players. But in doing so, he also made headlines for what many are considering a cheap shot at the city of Jacksonville and its fans.
“If you’re struggling, you’re fighting, and you’re really trying, (fans are) still going to respect you,” Kelce said. “That’s what I think most guys miss. I really don’t think this is a hard place to play at all, to be honest with you. I think a hard place to play is a miserable place like Jacksonville where nobody cares.”
There was no mincing words from Kelce, and his comments certainly drew some ire from a fanbase that has passionately stuck with its team through a decade-plus of frustration and, most recently, a 20-game losing streak. And many took to Twitter to voice that anger, including Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.
Dude takes an unsolicited dump on a million people. We love our city and support our team. Before you take another uneducated cheap shot spend some time here. People love this place. And total respect for Philly fan base and the city. I’ve always enjoyed my visits. #DUUUVAL https://t.co/jvqSJWfOBA
— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) October 21, 2021
Sports media personalities had their own takes on Kelce’s words.
#Jaguars fans, your thoughts on these comments?
— 1010 XL / 92.5 FM (@1010XL) October 21, 2021
Good afternoon to everyone except @JasonKelce
i would love to see how Philly fans act or even show if their team was 40-110 in the last decade because ill tell you through the mess Jags fans still showed up
Philly fans boo their players before opponents do.
🗑️ take https://t.co/UFR5ocakvS
— Taylor Doll (@TayDoll1010xl) October 21, 2021
*dont look at the replies*
*dont look at the replies*
— Mia O'Brien (@MiaOBrienTV) October 21, 2021
Jacksonville is a great place to play and Jax cares! it’s difficult for anyone to be a fan when you have one win in the last 21 games. Don’t blame the fans. Blame the team. #DUUUVAL https://t.co/1bX3kAD8ru
— Clay Harbor (@clayharbs82) October 21, 2021
Wouldn’t have guessed the Jags would be looped into the Ben Simmons fiasco. 🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/ixl755cUAC
— 𝐏𝐡𝐢𝐥 𝐒𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐡 🇵🇭 (@PhiltheFilipino) October 21, 2021
NFL analyst Bucky Brooks, who played with the Jaguars from 1996-97, was also critical of Kelce’s comments.
The statement is solid about how cities respect hard-playing players who care about the game but Kelce is not an authority on how Duval County cares about its players and team. The @Jaguars have been down for most of a decade, yet the 904 still shows up every week. #DUUUVAL https://t.co/cij1gUgaHT
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) October 21, 2021
Kelce is one of the game’s best centers, but you would think that with the Eagles sitting at 2-4 (only one game better than the lowly Jaguars), he might be more focused on righting his own ship than take shots at a team that at least has an answer at the game’s most important position.