Leading Off: More violence in NFL stands than on field
10/22/2013 12:00 AM
10/22/2013 6:42 PM
You don't want to be caught wearing the wrong color shirt or hat in certain parts of cities.
You can be jumped by an angry mob wearing rival colors on its turf. If you're lucky, you only lose a couple of teeth and pick up a few bumps and bruises. Some have been killed just for wearing the wrong color shirt in the wrong place.
Like an NFL stadium.
What, you think gang-mentality violence happens only in the inner city?
More and more violence is occurring inside – and outside – of NFL stadiums between those wearing home and away jerseys. Take a look at YouTube each Monday morning and see the videos of fights between rival NFL fans.
The latest post is of a woman wearing a Patriots jersey taking a right hook to the face from a man wearing a Jets jersey after New York upset New England on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
There are dozens of videos just like it: Cowboys fans fighting Cardinals fans; an Eagles fan punching a Giants fan; 49ers and Raiders fans brawling at Candlestick and O.co Coliseum.
Have you ever seen a Chargers or Chiefs fan wearing a white jersey at a Raiders game in Oakland amid a sea of black? It's like an eight-point buck that stumbled into a hunter's convention.
Fans can wear any jersey in any stadium, but they have to expect to take flak from the home fans – be it good-natured or malicious.
Taunts between fans often start with team insults that escalate to personal comments that often lead to punches.
Meanwhile, fans wearing the same team colors rarely fight one another.
Most football fans, of course, are not out to make trouble. They attend games to have a good time and cheer for their team. Yet many still attend games cautiously, keeping their head on a swivel and their guard up.
Other fans, especially with children, choose to play it safe at home in front of the TV.
NFL teams and stadiums have increased police and security patrols. Some stadium police now dress in visiting team jerseys as bait for troublemakers.
Fans can text security for help.
Still, there isn't much more the NFL can do to make its fans safe other than post signs at all stadium entrances that read: Enter at your own risk.
Can the NFL do more to prevent violence at stadiums?
Yes – more police, less beer.
No, too many people to police.
Vote above, or go to www.sacbee.com/sports
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Red Sox: 48%
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