There has been a disturbing trend lately of people getting onto fights while attending professional sporting events. And it’s more than just a simple fist fight. People are getting hurt and nearly killed just for wearing the wrong sports jersey in the wrong stadium. It’s beginning to resemble the gang wars that have plagued out streets for years.
And with the NFL season about to begin and the MLB playoffs just around the corner, this is a subject that needs to be addressed.
Last weekend two people were shot and one person was beaten at an Oakland Raiders/San Francisco 49’ers pre-season football game. This was a pre-season game. It doesn’t even count. (And it’s too easy to blame the Raider fans. They do have some of the worst fans in all of sports, but it’s not always their fault.)
Another high profile incident was on opening day at Dodger Stadium where a northern California man, Bryan Stow, was nearly beaten to death at a Los Angeles Dodgers/San Francisco Giants baseball game.
But it’s not just professional sports where these incidents are happening. People are getting into fights at high school football games all the way down to Little League baseball games. The rowdiness of some fans is getting out of hand. A simple You Tube search for “fan fight” will bring you thousands of videos of fights in the stands.
The word “fan” is of course short for “fanatic” but there is a clear distinction between being a fan of a certain team and going out and causing harm to the “enemy.” These are the same people who use the term “we” when talking about their favorite team. As in, “We are going to win the Super Bowl this year.” I’ve got news for you people; You are not on the team! There are a lot of people out there who may not have a lot going on in their lives that is positive and they try to fill that void with sports. When their team wins they are happy. When they lose they are upset. And when they see a fan from a rival team they take it upon themselves to prove which is the better team.
The only problem is that these encounters increasingly lead to violence.
In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?” All this violence is so out of place and it needs to stop. This doesn’t meant that if you are a Lakers fan you have to take a Celtics fan out to dinner, or of you are a Yankees fan you should go on vacation with a Red Sox fan. What is does mean is we should use our love for the game as factor to bring us together and not push us apart. Because under our jerseys we are all the same, we all have the same hopes and dreams. Even Raiders fans.