Every Tuesday in Touchdown Jesus, staff writers Cray Allred and Valerie Dunham engage with the popular and polarizing world of sports from a Christian perspective.

Back in July, DeAndre Jordan’s indecision ignited the NBA off-season. In the odd, week-long bargaining window that gives teams and players a chance to reach non-binding agreements, one of the league’s most explosive big men reached terms with the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas owner Mark Cuban took the agreement and ran, earning a league fine for publicly confirming the player was leaving the Clippers before the moratorium window had closed. Jordan got cold feet, and many emojis, reports, and unanswered texts later, he was back with Los Angeles. Last week, the center played in Dallas for the first time following The Spurning. The fans booed, as you might guess.

Losing makes you crazy, and the Christian fan is not exempt from being possessed by irrational fan demons.

I probably can’t make a Christian case for booing, but it’s typically not that ugly of a phenomenon. Booing can be a harmless, if impolite, way for a crowd to inform a referee they may have made a mistake. It can even be a sign of respect, an admission that an opposing player is playing well enough to prompt a desperate communal grunt. Cuban even downplayed this particular act of booing as a form of entertainment, saying a spell of public outrage was well and good because a basketball grievance wasn’t as serious as “thermonuclear war”.

But this was not the kinder, gentler variety of booing. This was one of those uncomfortable episodes where the hatred of thousands, directed at one solitary individual, is palpable. Every time Jordan touched the ball, took a shot, or went to the free throw line, the Maverick fans expressed their ire. “Mavericks Nation” was egged on by Cuban and some Dallas players in the buildup to the game, who fed the fan base’s animosity and explicitly called for booing. Jordan was even likened to the devil in a local newspaper on game day. With all that stoking, Jordan might be fortunate that the closing chant of “DeAndre sucks!” wasn’t worse.

This is clearly a disproportionate response. DeAndre Jordan told a billionaire, in private, that he would work for him for millions. He didn’t hold a press conference to endear himself to Dallas fans. He understood the domino effect those agreements have, of course, and apologized for changing his mind.

Mark Cuban, on the other hand, rejected the apology, threatened to release the player’s private text messages to the public, and—here’s the part Cuban might not mind getting lost in the story—botched an entire off-season. This summer, he compounded the fallout of Jordan’s reversal by promising the difference in Jordan’s salary and the Mavericks’ cap space to another signee, Wesley Matthews. That gamble resulted in bumping Matthews up to a maximum contract worth $13 million more, well above his market value.

We’re not here to break down the minutia of sports transactions, but one of the central protests from Jordan’s critics is that he couldn’t own his decision, shutting down communication with the Mavericks after his change of heart. Sure, Jordan’s mea culpa fell right in line with hollow-sounding PR apologies perfected by the modern public figure, but Cuban is seeing the speck in Jordan’s eye remarkably well considering the plank that should be mucking up his own vision. Cuban has no better track record of copping to his own team-building sins. The Mavericks perennially lose out on their free agent targets, and Cuban perennially spins their failures as forward-thinking strategy. One of the only mistakes Cuban has confessed to his fan base was his choice to let Tyson Chandler leave in free agency on the heels of a championship. He eventually reacquired Chandler and vowed to be more loyal the second time around. But who did the Mavericks spurn when chasing Jordan this summer? None other than Tyson Chandler.

We are deft at portraying ourselves as right in our own eyes, even on such a grand scale. On a Wednesday night at a basketball arena, the owner, fellow multi-millionaire players, and fan sitting in row RR can all view themselves as victim to one man on the court. They are convinced that the player, being relentlessly mocked and booed for changing his mind about his job, is the villain, not the victim. When Jordan Dallas won the game, they did so as the good guys.

There were echoes of LeBron James, polarizing basketball icon, in this spurned NBA team vs. NBA player fracas.  LeBron was once one man making an unpopular choice, facing the disdain of even more people he had not directly wronged. James finally and decidedly took back control of his public narrative when he announced his return to Cleveland in a thoughtful first-person essay. Before that, though, James’ apology was dismissed, his character attacked, and the rhythm of the scorned fan base was made clear. Whether you piled onto the LeBron hate-a-thon of yesterday or the DeAndre Jordan hate-a-thon of today is likely influenced more by your rooting interests than a consistent moral compass.

As a neutral observer, I’m comfortably seated on my high horse. If and when one of my teams is left waiting in the wings by a superstar, though? I’ll have to fight the instinct to comb every report for evidence of betrayal, resisting the urge to pinpoint slights or deceit from the player to channel my disappointment into focused, personal rage. We don’t want contrition; we want penance. We don’t want to be let down easy, because an unceremonious player departure gives an excuse to fully vent our anger. We don’t want anyone to handle these sagas graciously, so we don’t have to answer in kind.

One of the remarkable features of LeBron’s “redemption” was that it involved an owner-to-player apology; Dan Gilbert finally took back his comic sans tirade published shortly after “The Decision”. If the folks in Dallas are really in a heated pursuit of honesty and decency, maybe Jordan will forgive them one day when they realize they were lacking in those as well.

Losing makes you crazy, and the Christian fan is not exempt from being possessed by irrational fan demons. When we are enjoying the strange madness that is sports, we will inevitably get swept up in disproportionate anger at some point. However, we’re commanded to not let the sun go down on that anger. If we can’t eventually come to our senses in these matters, maybe we should give our attention to something a little less blinding.