Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
So much of the oxygen in the room among Fire fans lately has been eaten up by the grueling and bitter politics of ingroup/outgroup dynamics.
The departure of Shaun Maloney and the conflicting stories around his reasons for wanting out restarted a debate about whether players do or do not want to play in Chicago, and whether that should matter.
The #HauptmanOut movement has crystallized anxiety around who "owns" the Chicago Fire, and the difference between shareholding and stakeholding. Depending on which side of that ideological divide you fall on, you’re either trying to save the club or you’re an Enemy Of The Fire. If you’re neutral, you’re not a Real Fan™.
The past week Fire Twitter has been mired in a debate on whether it’s okay to yell a homophobic slur during games. Defenders of the chant are split between "it’s not a slur" and "even if it were a slur, so what?". It’s the latest fight in a seemingly endless and infinitely stupid argument about who belongs in Fire fandom and who does not.
It’s enough to make you forget that there’s an actual soccer team in the middle of all this. Which is probably just as well.