Thursday, August 25, 2011
Take me out to the BRAWL-game, take me out to the CROWD!
I'm an Oakland Raider fan who found it painful enough watching on TV as the rival 49ers took apart my team during last Saturday night's pre-season game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco...having to remind myself this was just practice!
Little did I know the REAL pain came from what the FANS were practicing in the stands, the bathrooms, and the parking lots!
More than a handful of violent brawls and a shooting left several folks injured, three very seriously, with one man still in life-threatening condition...all of which led to 39 justified arrests, and a good chance the NFL may cancel this annual pre-season game.
Like thousands of others, I checked out the internet replays on YouTube, watching two women punch each other out, an old gray-haired man shove a younger man back down three rows of seats, a few other sustained brawls between Raider and 49er fans flayling away clad in rival jerseys, with sparce security, and young children looking on!
"What in the hell is going on here?" I mean, sure...this is nothing new! Violence has cast itself on most sports, and not just in America but world wide.
Check out the international history of sports violence and you'll find it all...beating deaths, mass stampedes, riots and murdered soccer referees--making what happened in San Francisco look tame!
However, it should not sway the arguement that something has got to be done, right HERE and right NOW!!
These lastest incidents have sparked another huge fire of controversy, just as the Bay Area was starting to simmer down after the "Brian Stow" incident in April, where an upstanding Giants fan (a paramedic no less) was nearly beaten to death in Los Angeles on opening day at Dodger Stadium.
Perhaps we should look to the past for possible solutions. Did fans drink and party as much before and during games back then? What was security like at stadiums 40 years ago? Probably much the same as today, with no secret security measures, just less people to secure!
I do remember watching my first live pro football game on September 3rd, 1967 at the Oakland Coliseum as the upstart Raiders lost to John Brody and the 49ers 13-10 in their first EVER meeting to close out that pre-season.
I saw no fights, altlhough there were probably lots of security guards, lots of beer, and just as many rowdy fans in an environment similiar to all the other NFL and AFL stadiums back then, confronted with controlling violence between rival fans in the stands!
It was interesting to remember who the big team bosses were 44-years ago! John Rauch coached the Raiders, Jack Christianson coached the 49ers, and then ONLY part-owner and lowly general manager Al Davis had just celebrated his 38th birthday 2-months before.
I think even big Al, and thousands more would agree with me now that security should be stepped-UP significantly in a coordinated, well-thought out way....taking into account the realization (and I agree with this) that the majority of Bay Area fans are good people, and it is just the few ignorant, stupid, low-life, substance abusing, drunkard, socially crippled bullies out looking for trouble--THAT CAUSE IT!
Finally, here's one last security measure idea, and I thought this up myself! Let's call it the "sophisticated fan liazon screen" and place it at every stadium entrance gate, equipped with state-of-the-art, hygenically safe breathalizer testing hoses.
Every fan over the age of 12 MUST submit to a quick alcohol breath test, and answer an eye-to-eye question by a designated security screener. Those failing either test...don't get in! They can re-sell their ticket on the way out!
I know this may take time and big bucks to impliment, however, imagine adding this ENTRANCE SCREEN to already upgrated security, and decreased selling of alcohol...and I think parents would find it safe to take the kids to the big game again!
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