Are Fans Endangering the Livelihood of Our Sports Entertainment?
This weekend saw another breakout of violence at a professional sporting event.
A melee occurred between fans in attendance at the Oakland Raiders-San Francisco 49ers game on Saturday.
Several people were injured, including two shooting victims and a man who was beaten unconscious and found in one of the upper-level restrooms.
There were fans of the same team fighting each other in addition to fans from the rival teams fighting each other.
San Francisco CEO Jed York wants to recommend that the annual preseason game between the two Bay Area teams be called off for an undetermined amount of time.
This recent event of violence evokes the question: Are fans taking things too far?
Nearly five months ago, a similar event happened in Los Angeles when a San Francisco Giants fan was severely beaten outside of Dodger Stadium by two Dodgers fans after the season opener between the two teams.
Last week, Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was hit in the eye with the head of a bobble-head doll that was given away to fans in a match against the Portland Timbers.
On August 8 an Arena Football League semifinal playoff game took place in Jacksonville, Fla., between the Georgia Force and the Jacksonville Sharks. A Sharks fan reached over the wall that was separating the field and the stands and grabbed Force kick returner C. J. Johnson in attempt to prevent him from returning the kick.
Another soccer player was hit by a flare thrown by a fan at a Greek Cup semifinal match. AEK Athens F.C. goalkeeper Sebastian Saja was a lucky victim in this instance. The flare hit him, but it only burned a hole in his jersey.
It could have been much worse.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Steve Smith was harassed by irate New York Giants fans on his Facebook page after his decision to sign with the Eagles went public.
And who can forget the Malice at the Palace?
A fan threw a drink at Ron Artest as he was lying down on the scorer’s table. Artest rushed the crowd in an attempt to attack the man he thought threw the cup at him.
The scene grew out of control, and it resulted in nine players from the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons being suspended for a total of 146 games.
Ten million dollars in player salary was lost, five players were charged with assault, nine fans were injured, two were taken to the hospital, and five fans faced criminal charges and were banned from attending Pistons home games for life.
There was even a series of bomb threats aimed at the Indiana Pacers locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, which resulted in a 90-minute game delay the first time the two teams met in Detroit following the incident.
These are just a few of many incidents that have taken place in professional sports over the years.
Is alcohol the blame, or are some of these fans just taking things too far?
The sad thing is that it is only a handful of fans in each of these instances that ruin it for the many in attendance.
Security has got to be improved to protect the innocent bystanders.
Is it possible that the revenue that these multi-billion-dollar industries bring in could be put to better use, putting more security measures in place to protect the very people that make every one of the leagues possible?
The fact that there were victims who were shot should send a message to every major sport and every sports venue that there has to be more security.
How did a gun get by security in the first place?
Could it be that there are a handful of security guards to safeguard thousands of fans in attendance?
If that is the case, something is bound to slip by.
These are events that people go to for entertainment, and instead they are in fear for their lives because someone does not like the fact that a ref made a bad call, a goalkeeper was doing his/her job by preventing the other team from scoring, a key player decided to go play for another team, or someone decided to show up to a home game wearing the opposing team's jersey.
It’s a dangerous.
If something is not done, it could get worse.
As fans of the game, we have to take responsibility for our actions. We also have to remember that at the end of the day it is just a game.
No one gets paid to be a fan. No one should fear for his life because he is one, either.
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