A Plea To Fans
The following is a guest contribution from Heather Brittany (@HeatherBrit). Heather is currently a law student at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and Sports Chair of its Entertainment & Sports Law Society.
I have never been one to shy away when I believed something was right. I was that girl who would step in the middle of guys fighting, yelling at them to stop. Eventually, this led to me being nearly knocked out cold, and left with a less than stylish black eye. While it did stop the fight (guys scram once they realize someone hit a chick) it also got me to stop interfering. I was done. I was done with egos, testosterone and alcohol. I was done caring.
For the next few years I learned, like many people do, to simply “stay out of it.” If something was not directly affecting me, then I figured I’d “let them deal with it.” Apparently, I am not the only one who was fed up with caring, with doing the right thing. Now, the common course of action is to look the other way. We sit back while seeing people bullied, beaten, even raped and murdered in a well-lit street. We watch as people loot, riot and cause havoc. Why? Because we don’t want to “get in the middle of it…” and because “its not our problem.” Right? Wrong.
Over the past 24 months the news headlines have been littered with stories of stabbings, beatings, lootings, rioting, arson, coma inducing attacks and tongues being gashed. Surprisingly, these were not the headlines coming from Afghanistan. Instead, they were the reports of the aftermath of sporting events.
For years I have sat to the side while seeing opposing fans get harassed, heckled, and even assaulted. Earlier this year, a good friend of mine asked me to go the Dodgers opening game with him. “Great seats, field-level,” he told me. I politely smiled, declined and explained, “You’re a Giants fan… I’m not just saying ‘no’ because I don’t like you’re team… I’m saying no because I don’t want to be pelted and possibly shanked.” Turns out, I was right.
The problem is, I knew this could eventually happen, I even allowed this to happen in front of me. Obviously not to such an extreme degree, but I have turned the other cheek while watching my own fans needlessly harass the visiting team. Why? Because, I wanted to stay out of it. Fans, this has gone too far. So here, here’s my plea to you…
To those of you who are similar to the scum of the earth that attacked Bryan Stow, enough. Enough with the fighting, with the peanut and beer throwing. Enough with the extreme heckling, with the vulgar shouting. Enough with acting like you have anything to do with what is going on, on the field (you don’t). The only part of the game that you have a part in is making your team look disgraceful. Quite frankly, I’m done allowing you to even do that.
To the rest of you, enough with the inaction. Enough standing around allowing your friend to be a jack-ass to some complete stranger. Enough just saying “Come-on, man.” Enough. Get in that person’s face. Get rid of that friend, or dump that boyfriend like this woman had the intelligence to do. I don’t care if it is someone with your same colors, from your same family, or even your father. You get in their face and end this. YOU are the only person that can stop the downward spiral that the “fan experience” has become.
We have all gone through enough over the past few years to allow this to go on. Bring the game day experience back. Sure, go ahead and talk trash and joke with the other fans. Get crazy and even stick your tongue out at them. But the second that you see someone cross that line step in the middle. Stand up for what you know is right.
IT IS ALMOST GAAAAAAAAME DAY!