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Tate: Fans ‘at times’ turned backs on Lions

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Just before kickoff, Lions wide receiver Golden Tate took a look into the stands.

He was stunned to find a lot of empty seats.

And he found a whole lot more of them starting in the third quarter of the Lions’ 42-17 loss on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.

That prompted Tate to go on a rant — albeit, calmly and collectedly — about the fan base, which he feels needs to be behind the players more then ever.

“You know, I’m the first one to say I love our fans. I think our fans are amazing and they’ve been patient for a long time,” Tate said. “Before the game started, I looked up, there were a lot of empty seats. Early on in the game, our team is getting booed. Later in the game, it sounded like the loudest they got was when (quarterback Matthew) Stafford was leaving the game and Dan (Orlovsky) was coming in. And that’s not the support that we want.

“When we win, we all win together — the city, as an organization, as a state. When we lose, we all lose together. And today, I felt like, at times, our fan base kind of turned their back on us.”

As he said that, a reporter tried to interject.

Tate sternly told the reporter, “Hold up, I’m not done.”

Clearly, Tate, known for his outspoken ways, wanted to make it clear he’s a fan of the fans.

“We have a lot of confidence in our fan base and we can’t do that without our fan base,” Tate said. “We expect them to be with us a little bit better next week. We’ve got a chance to still be special. I know that we’re not playing the type of football that we want to play right now, but we need our fans. We need them.”

By midway through the fourth quarter, there couldn’t have been more than 1,000 Lions fans left in the building.

Allegedly, the game started with more than 60,000 of them in the seats.

Tate said that’s not how you treat family. Wait, family?

“I consider us family,” said Tate, who, to be fair, as been in Detroit two seasons — while Lions fans have suffered through decades of seasons like this. “I think there’s gonna be times where family goes through trials and tribulations. There’s gonna be times where we don’t agree with each other as far as family, but at the end of the day, we’ve still gotta find a way to come together. It’s how I see it.

“I don’t see our fan base as just Lions fans. I consider us family and what I mean by that, it’s more than football to me. It’s being out in the community trying to bring this city together, helping whoever I can who’s down.

“Right now, we’re just done. But we need the continuous support from our family, at the end of the day.”