Love, Hate, and the Joe Buck Effect
By Andrew Thompson
Joe Buck is the commentator for the 2017 World Series. He is an experienced broadcaster who calls many big games in different sports. However, a strange phenomenon has developed when Joe Buck calls a game: fans from both teams lash out at Buck, claiming that he is biased toward the other team.
Just note these photos of Joe Buck’s alleged love for both Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and Justin Verlander (Astros).
No matter what team you’re a fan of, it appears that Joe Buck loves your opponent more and therefore hates your team.
In tongue and cheek, Joe Buck’s Twitter bio even says, “I love all teams EXCEPT yours.”
Personally, I think that Joe has been great. My favorite moment was when, after Puig licked his bat for the 42nd time, Joe Buck described Puig as “the Miley Cyrus of baseball.” Ha! Perfect!
But I’m apparently in the minority as Twitter and Instagram are filled with Joe-Buck-hate memes and rants.
Joe does his best to expresses equal “love” for all teams, and yet, when we hear his words, we interpret them as “hate” for our team.
Why do we think Joe Buck hates us?
In tense moments, we misinterpret neutral comments as “hate.” I’m going to call this phenomenon the “Joe Buck Effect.”
Besides sporting events, what are some other tense moments where this “Joe Buck Effect” might occur?
The Joe Buck Effect will occur in every…every discussion of any hot-button issue. Because, if in tense moments, we misinterpret even neutral comments as “hate,” then most certainly, in tense moments, we will misinterpret disagreement as “hate.”
Have you ever experienced the Joe Buck Effect in your life?
Do you regularly feel like everyone is against you?
Do you feel like “the other side” is out to get you?
When someone speaks words of disagreement to you, do you hear words of hate?
Do you find yourself often labeling others as hateful bigots when they disagree with you?
Does this very article come off to you as hate speech?
Maybe you’re a victim of the Joe Buck Effect.
Maybe the “the other side” of that hot-button topic, doesn’t actually hate you. Maybe they actually love you, but because your conscience is under tension, you have misheard those comments as hate.
If your conscience is under tension (i.e. something you have done has caused your conscience to wrestle with the question: “Was that behavior right or wrong? Were my actions right or wrong?”) — if there is tension in your conscience, then those words you just heard might not actually be hate speech after all.
Those words might just be truthful, factual commentary. Those words you interpreted as hate, in fact, might even be words of love. It’s just that your stressed-out conscience can only mishear words of love as hate.
When Jesus spoke difficult truths to his listeners he sometimes used the phrase “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” One such time was in Matthew 13:9 as Jesus told a story about a farmer who tried to plant seed in various types of soil.
The moral of the story was that some people are not yet ready to listen to (and to obey) the truth of God’s word. They have ears, but they don’t have “ears to hear.”
Are your ears ready to hear the truth in love? Or do your ears only hear “hate?”
Or maybe you’re trying to speak words of love to others, but your words are constantly being misinterpreted as hate.
How to we combat this Joe Buck Effect?
What should we say to those who receive every comment we make as hate?
Say less. Do more.
In tense moments — in hot-button discussion — when someone is under stress — before speaking the truth, we must show the truth by our actions. Our actions should speak loud enough for “ears to hear.”
A follower of Jesus named John wrote, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18)
We cannot simply speak words of love to broken ears. Those words will be misinterpreted as the noise of a loud gong or a clanging symbol. (1 Corinthians 13:1) No. We must demonstrate love through our actions (Romans 5:8).
This is why the Internet is such a volatile place for political or religious or hot-button conversations…because the Internet is all words, devoid of true relationship. If we truly want our words to be heard, we need to first cultivate the soil of relationships through loving actions toward one another.
Then and only then will be able to speak the truth in love.
We need to dig into the ground and get our hands dirty through acts of service and love before the truth can ever be planted into the hearts of hardened humanity.
Otherwise, our seared consciences and our everyone-is-against-me attitudes are just not ever going to be ready for a God who is never against us, always for us, and loves us unconditionally.
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand:
Words will never be enough.
Show the truth of love with action.
Fight the Joe Buck Effect.