It probably won’t surprise you that passionate sports fans are often the most irrational individuals. "This is just a game" is a mantra that does not apply to them. ESPN is the first channel that pops up when they turn the TV on, and the only radio stations they know of air sports talk 24 hours per day. These dedicated supporters feel personal connections to franchises, fellow fans, and athletes associated with their beloved teams. That’s why certain trades, signings, and other transactions make them go nuts and react in ways unfathomable to those who are either casual fans or who don’t care much about leagues and competitions.
To be clear: "Go nuts" is a figurative term in this instance. A fan burning a jersey or taking to social media to vent frustrations over a sports trade or signing makes outsiders laugh, but such actions are, for the most part, relatively harmless. That said, there is the case of an entire fan base — or "nation," to use their term — believing one transaction cursed a franchise for roughly 85 years before that club finally won a championship.
We’d recommend sticking with believing in video-game jinxes.
Sol Campbell traded in Tottenham Lilywhite for Arsenal red
From 1992 through the spring of 2001, England defender Sol Campbell featured in the Tottenham Hotspur back line, and he became a national team mainstay during his stint with Spurs. As explained by The Telegraph, Campbell was out of contract following the 2000-01 campaign, and Tottenham offered him a new deal that would’ve kept him at White Hart Lane to the end of his physical prime. Instead, Campbell elected to make the switch to Arsenal, Tottenham’s hated rivals.
It was a betrayal that shocked and angered Tottenham supporters at the time, and that lingered in their minds and hearts for well over a decade. Fans referring to Campbell as "Judas" each time he touched the ball when facing Spurs was to be expected. Per The Express and The Guardian, multiple supporters received stadium bans for chanting and singing abusive sayings and words toward the player.
Even police joked the 2017 trade of Paul George was "theft"
In the summer of 2017, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George was a four-time All-Star still on the right side of 30-years-old and capable of leading a club to an NBA Finals appearance. That’s why so many Indiana fans were left flabbergasted that the team succumbed so quickly that July after George "essentially" forced the team to trade him, per the Indianapolis Star. Indiana dealt George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, a trade that seemed rather one-sided at the time.
Per Indiana television station WTHR, the news stunned players around the Association. Oklahoma City police had some fun on Twitter after news of the trade broke, saying they had investigated the "theft." Pacers fans weren’t in a joking mood, though. The traditional burning of jerseys transpired, according to the Indianapolis Star. As explained by USA Today, local retailer The Shop discounted George merchandise from on sale to free of charge.
Pacers fans had little to complain about after the 2018-19 NBA season. Both Oladipo (when healthy) and Sabonis impressed after the trade, and George left the Thunder to join Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in July 2019.