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.
Posted on: April 3, 2011 5:51 pm
When the court in Minnesota hands down it’s ruling sometime after April 6th, it for all intents and purposes will support or end the lockout opposed by NFL owners on March 11th of this year.
What happens then? A ruling for the owners means the imposed lockout could go on indefinitely. Players for the first time may have to face the reality that come September they will not receive paychecks – a reality that many have chosen to ignore. That’s not a good scenario for players and surely shifts the balance of power to the owners’ favor.
What’s really interesting is what happens if the judge rules in the favor of the players. Is that really a “win” for them? Football will resume and in the absence of a CBA the NFL may impose any rules they like. Most experts agree that any drastic changes would just give the players ammunition for their anti-trust lawsuit so the most likely scenario would be a season once again governed by the rules in place in 2010 – rules that both players and owners previously agreed to.
A repeat of 2010 means no more salary floor and the owners showed so much collective restraint last year the former NFLPA began accusing them of collusion. You can’t blame them for thinking so when even Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones refused to spend money.
It also means 4 and 5 year players are once again restricted. How does a guy like DeAngelo Williams feel about that? March was Williams’ first opportunity to sign a contract similar to the one Maurice Jones-Drew signed (5yrs, 31 million), a guy drafted 33 spots behind Williams. He will be approaching his 29th birthday this time next year. Will a repeat of the 2010 season shut the free agency window for one of the best running backs in football?
Running backs clearly have the shortest NFL life span but there are many players at every position facing the same scenario. Willie Colon started 54 straight games at right tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only will he miss a second straight opportunity at free agency but he suffered an Achilles injury that cost him the entire 2010 season. At 27, Willie was a promising right tackle. At 29 coming off an injury he is a risk.
Other notable 2006 draft picks effected by April 6th’s hearing include Roman Harper (29 in December), Joseph Addai (29 next May), Lance Moore (29 next August), Dawan Landry (29 in December) and Cortland Finnegan. There is a similar list of 2007 draft picks who may have to wait another season.
The best deal for both sides is to sit down and negotiate a deal but a ruling in favor of the players next week doesn’t look like much of a win in my eyes. Unity among the players is the key to their success and another season in the mold of 2010 is not very attractive to players who have already waited for their opportunity at free agency. It could be the final straw for guys who have already made enormous sacrifices.
Posted on: April 8, 2009 10:43 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2009 11:02 am