What to Make of Fan Violence and the 49ers

Curbing dangerous behavior is at forefront as San Francisco resumes preseason.

Assorted musings with the 49ers set to host the Houston Texans at Candlestick Park tonight, a week after the violence-marred preseason game between the 49ers and the Raiders:

  • The NFL has a serious problem if it sees the need to follow the 49ers’ recommendation and put an end to the Bay Area’s annual preseason affair. The league would essentially be admitting it cannot stage a safe, fan-friendly game between two natural rivals.
  • Scary but true – that’s what the 49ers are already saying.
  • Canceling the one preseason game that has even marginal interest to most fans is a terrible business decision. As far as meaningless games go, how could the 49ers, the Raiders or the fans of either team do any better? Some of the benefits? The only chance in most years to see the two geographical rivals meet. Greater attendance and concession revenue. Higher TV ratings. And the teams save the costs of a trip anywhere outside of the Bay Area.
  • Jed York cited the fans’ “disinterest in the preseason” as a contributing factor to the unruly behavior last week. Great! Let’s can the entire preseason. It’s always been a scam – tying a pair of nearly unwatchable games to season-ticket packages. Meanwhile, college football teams don’t play a single exhibition game, and many programs open with their toughest non-conference opponent.
  • The 49ers and the City of San Francisco, which owns and operates Candlestick, seem to be deluding themselves about what the chief problem is with the fan violence. It’s not the rivalry with the Raiders. It’s not the tailgating. It’s the lack of effective security – inside and outside the stadium.
  • The cost of the providing that security should be irrelevant. Public safety is paramount. If the city and team can’t provide a safe and enjoyable environment for all, they shouldn’t be allowed to host and profit from the proceedings. Install a slew of high-tech security cameras. Station a police officer at the front of each section, and have plenty of others roving the concourses and parking lot. Employ a zero-tolerance policy to toss out belligerent drunks. Whatever it takes.
  • That being said, good luck in totally eliminating fights in the stands or parking lot – at any sporting event. Tempers are bound to occasionally spill over.
  • But the senseless violence -- the Bryan Stow attack at Dodger Stadium, the brutal beating in the Candlestick restroom or the subsequent shootings in the parking lot – is a harsh indication that some stadiums have had woeful security in place. Let’s hope that changes starting tonight.
DanC August 28, 2011 at 11:20 PM
I started this thread and I thought I implied fan violence is a general problem, anywhere, any sport. I don't think it can be attributed to tailgating or anything like that. It's alcohol, pure and simple. I know. I was a fan of the mediocre Denver Broncos in the 60s-early 70s (when the John Madden Oakland Raiders were kickin ass). I and friends had season tickets in the boisterous, chaotic South Stands (snowballs) in Mile High Stadium. 21 oz cups of Coors beer delivered right to your seat for $1.50...watch out if the Broncos lost.
Lin August 29, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Its the tailgate parties! Alcohol and whatever is free flowing. Then throw in lack of security....= Unruly people
Carol August 29, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Can't we all agree to even temporarily stop the tailgating and alcohol consumption to save lives? A few have ruined it for many, but if just one life is saved from this, then I say we have taken a giant humanitarian step in the right direction. From the loud obnoxious behavior I have seen, alcohol is a huge problem. Bring in more security and police and nip this in the bud.
Alice Stoddard August 29, 2011 at 06:38 AM
It's Bush and Cheney's fault
Dogbert August 29, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Hey folks, forget what was going on in the stands, the bathrooms and the parking lots. Did any of you happen to catch what was going on out on that field - you know, the one with all of the grid lines and such!?! For the love of the baby Jesus, those guys looked like they were trying to kill each other! Seriously. Bodies were flying through the air like projectiles trying to take out the other gang members who wore different colors. At least these thugs had the good sense to wear crash helmets. But I'll tell you, it was REALLY scary...


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