Stupid, Stupid Fans…

Posted: April 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Of course it’s sad, horrible, and inexcusable that a 42-year-old Giants fan remains in critical condition after being beaten by thugs after a game at Dodgers Stadium. He was obviously targeted, in part, by thugs because he was wearing a Giants jersey in a sea of Dodger blue.

Of course teams have a responsibility to provide security for fans attending games at their facilities.

Of course everyone has a right to wear his or her team colors for any game, home or away.

Okay, that should take care of you political-correctness zealots who are looking for causes to feel good about.

Now, let’s peek into the real world.

There’s nothing more to say about Bryan Stow, the 42-year-old Giants fan, except to keep him in your thoughts and hope he recovers from his injuries and is able to live a normal life.

As for stadium/arena security, there’s no way to assure total security as long as there are wackos in the world, but clearly there are steps that can be taken enhance a safe environment. The most obvious is to stop selling alcoholic beverages at sporting events. That’s not going to happen. The beer companies spend way too much money in the sports world. And, for the record, I probably enjoy a few cold beers at games more than most people. But there is no question that most fans who act out of control at games have been drinking. I don’t need any research to reach that conclusion.

More uniformed security officers – inside and outside — is another obvious step. I don’t like the undercover strategy. The sight of uniformed officers normally calms down rowdy fans. Why not stop most of the problems before they happen? Money, of course, is a factor. Security is expensive.

Ironically, we all want fans to behave at sports events, but the home teams/schools do everything in their power to get fans emotionally charged. There are the “fight” songs . . . the physical battles among the athletes . . . cheerleaders and players urging the fans to get involved: be loud; stomp your feet; disrupt the visiting team. The mixed messages are mind boggling, and they’ll never change.

Now about wearing your team colors – jerseys, hats, etc. – at away games.

Surely you understand that makes you a target for the overzealous home fans. It is incredibly naïve not to think you’ll be the target of verbal barbs or worse. You become an even bigger living target when the home team loses and you’re celebrating your team’s victory.

Why put yourself in that position? Do you really think you inspire your team when you’re one of a small group in a sea of rivals? I’ve always felt fans have little impact on the outcome of games. Certainly there are exceptions, but Sports Illustrated magazine, in a series of well researched articles last winter, debunked the theory of fans influencing the outcome of games. Yeah, I know the athletes are always telling you how important you are; how you’re part of the team. Understand that if they thought it would put more money in their pockets and boost their egos, the same athletes would tell you the Tooth Fairy is real. (Please don’t read that sentence to small children.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve had this discussion with friends, particularly my Gator-loving friends, and almost to a man they think I’m a cross between a nut job and a party pooper. I tell them they have a right to play golf when it’s lightning, but I advise them against doing that too.

The assault of Stow and the security measures used by the Dodgers have become a major national story, and not only on the sports pages and shows. An insensitive column in something called the Washington Observer-Reporter amped up the outrage about Stow’s beating. Columnist John Steigerwald stupidly asked, “Maybe someone can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants’ gear to a Dodgers’ home opener when there was a history of out-of-control drunkenness and arrests at that event going back several years.”

Steigerwald comes across as an idiot, but there is a message in his column that sports fans everywhere should heed.

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