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Blog Entry

Leave The Jersey At Home

Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 3:28 pm
 
I read a controversial John Steigerwald column today. Steigerwald has caught a lot of heat because his article appears to place blame on the San Francisco Giant fan who was savagely beaten on opening day this year. For those not familiar with the story HERE IT IS .

Bryan Stow is a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan who is in a medically induced coma after two unknown assailants wearing Los Angeles Dodgers jerseys attacked him following the Dodgers loss to the Giants on opening day. Bryan wore a Giants jersey to the game.

Because of the severe injuries suffered by Mr. Stow it makes placing blame on him seem callous and cruel but what would our opinion be if he sustained simply a black eye or bloody nose? Probably wouldn't be so outlandish then right?

Public drunkeness and violence wasn't new to Dodgers stadium. It's not exactly foreign to any stadium. Where there is alcohol bad things can and will happen. So why wear the opposing teams' jersey in such an environment? What is there to gain? I know, I know hindsight is 20/20. Or is it?

I also went to an opposing stadium this year. I went to see the Steelers play against the Ravens on Dec. 5, 2010. I went with another Steelers fans and as we do every year we elected not to wear Steelers apparel. Neither of us is foreign to a "friendly scrape" or two in our lives. Fifteen years ago we would look for it after a few hours of tailgating and half a dozen overpriced beers. We wore as much black and gold as we could get on our bodies back then and we thought we were indestructible.

But something occured to me over the last 8-9 years that didn't occur to Mr. Stow on opening day. I'm not indestructible, there are dangerous people in the world and the people in my life are counting on me to make good decisions.

Like Mr. Stow I have two children at home and home isn't exactly where they need me - not in a Baltimore hospital or jail. The average stadium holds 50,000 people and they aren't all choir boys / girls. The drinking starts several hours before the game begins and it doesn't stop until the third quarter. Even decent human beings make poor decisions with alcohol involved. Unsavory characters just get more ... unsavory.

You could probably argue many of the points in Steigerwald's column but I think it's pretty safe to agree with the notion that Steelers players weren't going to see me in the stands and even if they could they weren't going to draw much inspiration from it. You know who could see me? The 1,000s of Ravens fans I encountered over the course of 6 hours pre and post game.

Call me unsupportive but the fact of the matter is I go to see my team play for my enjoyment. I'm not there because I think it will help them win. Making myself a target for thousands of Ravens fans just isn't fun - and in Mr. Stow's case it wasn't safe.

Going to visiting stadiums is the right of any fan and "home field" doesn't give anyone the right to verbally or physically abuse someone. That's what all the John Steigerwald critics are saying. Maybe that's what Bryan Stow told his wife when he left the house.


Category: NFL
Comments

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:28 pm
 

Leave The Jersey At Home

Thanks for the comments guys.



Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Leave The Jersey At Home

I've been to a couple of Steelers games away from Heinz Field, most recently at Ford Field when they played the Lions in 2009, and I've worn a Steelers jersey every time.

However, being a Steelers fan in Ford Field is very much different than being a Steelers fan at M&T Bank Stadium!

In Detroit, I received some trash talk, but I never felt threatened in any way and I would certainly do it again in the future. 

In a true rival's stadium, like Baltimore, Cleveland or Oakland, I would never risk wearing a jersey (well, maybe in Cleveland, but I'd be sure to have some Browns fans with me! Wink ).  Although, the arrogant part of me would probably find a way to wear the colours somehow without being so conspicuous as to become a target.  Like beach, I have a family that needs me at home and at 36 years old I'd like to think I'm smart enough to understand my environment and make good decisions.



Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Leave The Jersey At Home

Living in Chicago, I have gone to a few Cubs-Pirates, Bears-Steelers, Blackhawks-Penguin games.  Like yourself, I always wanted to show my colors of black-and-gold.  I never had a scrap, but my jerseys did piss off a few "fans" who had probably imbibed on a few.  No longer go to the s%!#hole known as Wrigley Field because of the way I was treated by the ushers in the past and the fact that baseball doesn't have a competitive system in place, and the average price of a ticket is $45. and I don't follow the sport.   The few times I have attended Steelers or Penguins games recently, I also decided it was a good idea not to wear the black-and-gold for exactly the reasons you have pointed out.  Things don't happen the way they should.  The world isn't fair.  People don't always act like adults, especially when alcohol is involved.  I think we can all recall a few years ago when a Steeler fan was brutalized at a Raiders game.  I take my fandom pretty seriously, but there are those who take it a lot more seriouslly than I do.  I prefer not to be part of their entertainment for the evening.



Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: April 13, 2011 2:15 pm
 

Leave The Jersey At Home

What are you trying to say about Ravens fans? Surprised
Kidding, great post beach. Great point too, just because the other person is wrong, doesn't mean Mr. Stow made the right decision in putting a target on his back, and while everyone wants to say you should be able to do exactly what Mr. Stow did, just because you legally can doesn't mean you should. Why put yourself at risk? People at home aren't going to care about how much you want to rep your team, they are only going to care about you being home safe that night.


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