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"It wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't World War III"
December 17, 2001 6:43 AM   Subscribe

"It wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't World War III" Watch the Browns/Jaguars game? Maybe it was a bad call, but throwing plastic bottles full of beer? Anybody who knows me knows I speak out loudly and firmly against the ridiculous sports culture we have in this country. This incident makes me ashamed to be a Clevelander, even a transplanted one. What is it that gets people this riled up and stupid?
posted by starvingartist (120 comments total)

 
What is it that gets people this riled up and stupid?


Beer.
posted by arco at 6:52 AM on December 17, 2001


arco hits it on the head. I saw some of the video this morning and you can see all the fans beating the crap out of each other in the stands while the refs are running for cover to the locker rooms. Pure funny.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:55 AM on December 17, 2001


I generally loathe sports altogether, anyway, so articles like this only serve to fuel my smug engine.
posted by tpoh.org at 7:00 AM on December 17, 2001


violence begets violence...
posted by jpoulos at 7:00 AM on December 17, 2001


"The immediate answer is that atrocities can probably not perpetrated by calm individuals, but rather by groups of individuals revved up in a dynamic of escalating stakes. This we call the mob mentality."
posted by ColdChef at 7:00 AM on December 17, 2001


I think what we're forgetting here is that the officials made a rather egregious mistake in their officiating of the game at a crucial moment. The fans were simply disciplining the officials. I'm sure in the future those officials will never ever make a mistake again.
posted by Popstar at 7:04 AM on December 17, 2001


Yeah, that was ugly, but the important thing is that the Jags won!!! (It's really pathetic how rarely I get to type or say the last three words of that sentence.)
posted by Optamystic at 7:09 AM on December 17, 2001


I'm with you, Optamystic. Go Jagulars.

After watching that game, I'm mystified that any fans in Cleveland made it to the end of the fourth quarter with beer remaining in their bottles.

The NFL should respond by cutting off all beer sales for at least one game next season in Cleveland (Sunday's game was the team's last home game this year). They probably won't, because beer rakes in the bucks, but I've always thought the best way to curb the enthusiasm of idiotic fans is to take their booze away.
posted by rcade at 7:16 AM on December 17, 2001


Is it stupid that they're throwing full (plastic) bottles of beer or that they paid $6 for the beer in the first place?
posted by m@ at 7:19 AM on December 17, 2001


Really, in these mistaken calls, the referees have engendered a culture of dislocation and oppression among the fans, who are merely reacting in the only way they can. We should not seek to indict this violence; we should instead understand why we, as a culture, caused these fans to be violent. Only then will the sad cycle end.
posted by dhartung at 7:22 AM on December 17, 2001


At the very least, unlike soccer ("the world's sport"), football hasn't had any deaths yet. Fistfights, snowball fights, a stabbing and one guy setting another on fire. But no deaths. Yet.

the best way to curb the enthusiasm of idiotic fans is to take their booze away

I dunno, I've been to enough games to know football fans can be psycho without drink.

Only then will the sad cycle end.
"An eye for an eye let's the friggin' Eagles win the NFC East."
posted by owillis at 7:24 AM on December 17, 2001


I think what we're forgetting here is that the officials made a rather egregious mistake in their officiating of the game at a crucial moment. The fans were simply disciplining the officials.

I left my sarcasm detector at home. Are you being facetious, Popstar? Let's forget, for a moment, that it's a game, a stupid, pointless game played by ridiculously overpaid athletes, some of whom are accused or even convicted criminals (but that's overlooked, because they're pro athletes, they're important, right?). Bad call or no, throwing beer bottles, even plastic ones, is simply wrong. A 5-year-old kid got hit by a bottle, and a guy from Indianapolis (I think) went home with a huge gash over his eye.

Last night on the local news they interviewed a woman who was at the game. They asked her if she threw anything. She said yes, and she was proud of it! Her friends even applauded her! It just makes me wonder what the critical factor was in this event. Alcohol? Thug/mob mentality? Fan loyalty? I cringe at that possibility the most.

I hope Cleveland does get a black eye over this. I hope it remains for a long, long time. I'm disgusted.
posted by starvingartist at 7:24 AM on December 17, 2001


I hope Cleveland does get a black eye over this.

Dude, have you been to Cleveland? It's already got a black eye, a shattered nose, and a nasty cauliflower ear. That's not even counting the monstrosity that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
posted by Optamystic at 7:31 AM on December 17, 2001


What bothered me even more was both the Browns president and owner didn't offer a smidgen of criticism. In fact exactly the opposite (See front page quote) they were proud of their fan's reactions. Hip Hip Hooray, our fans love football so much they'll start a riot!
posted by jeremias at 7:34 AM on December 17, 2001


I left my sarcasm detector at home.

Dude, don't leave home without it. That sarcasm was pretty blatant.
posted by anapestic at 7:34 AM on December 17, 2001


The refs blew two calls against the Bills in the Buffalo/New England game yesterday. Per usual as a Bills fan, I am used to it. Instead of throwing beer bottles, Bills fans were throwing in the towel.

With that said, I think officials have been horrible this year. Too many lame calls and not consistent. Last nights Ravens/Steelers game was a good example. No offensive pass interference calls and taunting calls!
posted by Macboy at 7:34 AM on December 17, 2001


dhartung is right, this is an indictment of American foreign policies, and justified within the context of decades of oppression. This is an opportunity for the US population to come to terms with the crimes committed in their name. Any attempt to prevent these events in the future will be doomed to fail unless they address the root causes of sports violence; Palestine.
posted by aramaic at 7:36 AM on December 17, 2001


SA: I think (s)he was being facetious.

Owillis: I had a premonition that you'd step in here and talk about soccer violence. I think you're right--I'm just saying it's funny that I saw you coming.
posted by jpoulos at 7:37 AM on December 17, 2001


The Redskins haven't lost any games because of officials (we'll do it through sheer incompetence and lack of football ability, thankyouverymuch) but it certainly seems like things were better off when the "replacement" refs were around. At the very least the games were shorter.

Things would be so much better if they stopped the namby-pamby "protect the quaterback" calls.

I had a premonition that you'd step in here and talk about soccer violence
Mefi's Self-Appointed Defender Of American Football
posted by owillis at 7:40 AM on December 17, 2001


Dude, have you been to Cleveland? It's already got a black eye, a shattered nose, and a nasty cauliflower ear. That's not even counting the monstrosity that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dude, I live in Cleveland! Didn't you read my post? This incident makes me ashamed to be a Clevelander, even a transplanted one. There's a lot of great things about Cleveland. We have the first permanently established professional theater in America, as well as a wealth of smaller local theater. We have a great art museum, the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Music, both top-notch schools, and the communities, for the most part, are great! Yes, the Rock Hall sucks. Yes, I hate the sports culture here. But Cleveland has other things to offer. And thanks to the idiot, asshole, dumb-stupid fucking Dog Pound, Cleveland will still be known as The Mistake By The Lake. There is so much more to offer, and we have to go and fuck it up. Can you tell I'm pissed?
posted by starvingartist at 7:42 AM on December 17, 2001


Its not worth getting pissed over. In two weeks, it will be forgotten.

I would be more pissed that Art Modell ran the original Browns out of Cleveland and then won a Super Bowl...
posted by Macboy at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2001


Let's forget, for a moment, that it's a game


That's kind of impossible to do and still keep any context here. People (even those from Cleveland) don't just gather in large arenas and start violently lashing out without some reason. I don't condone what happened but I do understand the context. You're all fired up, your team is driving for the win, and emotions are running WAY high. Face it, whether you think sports are silly or not, these people had a real deep emotional and personal stake in what was going on. And then the officials took the whole emotional thing away by doing something that absolutely is NEVER supposed to be done, reviewing a former play after the next had been run. I think I'd have come a little unglued too.

Bad call or no, throwing beer bottles, even plastic ones, is simply wrong.

I couldn't agree more.
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:44 AM on December 17, 2001


There's a lot of great things about Cleveland. We have the first permanently established professional theater in America, as well as a wealth of smaller local theater.

[Sarcasm detectors should be activated in T-minus 3...2...1]

The first permanently established professional theatre in America?! Well, doesn't that just put the cherry on the parfait?
posted by KLAX at 7:50 AM on December 17, 2001


Starvingartist: Sorry if I hit on a sensitive subject. I'm from Jacksonville, so the notion of civic pride is entirely foreign to me. Seriously. For most of my life, the town was most famous for the pungent stench that wafted not-so-delicately from its' three paper mills. That, and being one of the last bastions of Jim Crow laws. Hometown pride at its finest.
posted by Optamystic at 7:53 AM on December 17, 2001


-- bile... slowly... going... down... --

What exactly is that supposed to mean, KLAX? That other forms of culture are not as important to the definition of a city as sports? That theater is stupid? That art is not a significant element in the culture of a city? The Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theater, Bad Epitaph Theater Company, Red Hen Productions, Willoughby Fine Arts, The Beck Center, The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, Dobama Theater, the Near West Theater, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Eldred Theater, Charenton Theater Company, and all their audiences would disagree with you, I think. You ever even been to Cleveland? Or would you just rather sit there in your smugness and assume?
posted by starvingartist at 7:57 AM on December 17, 2001


Art is not a significant element in the culture of a city?

Ah.... no not in America where football is king.
posted by Macboy at 8:04 AM on December 17, 2001


Ah.... no not in America where football is king.

This is just about as non-profound an insight as declaring "Not in England where soccer is king."
posted by Skot at 8:10 AM on December 17, 2001


Maybe I'm getting a little too worked up over this. I don't want people to think that I posted this link just so I could rant, because I didn't. I really want to know what other people think about this phenomenon, and not just in the context of this particular Browns game. It happens all the time, like when the Bulls fans rioted because their team won. Why do sports fans get so worked up? Is it simply mob mentality? Or is it something different? I am not a sports fan - I hate the pro sports culture, I hate the way fans act when their team wins or loses. People who go into seclusion for days on end because their team lost the World Series make me scratch my head in absolute bewilderment. People who memorize endless volumes of sports trivia astound me. Are sports really that important?
posted by starvingartist at 8:10 AM on December 17, 2001


FIGHT ! FIGHT ! FIGHT !
posted by Frasermoo at 8:25 AM on December 17, 2001


violence breaks out in sports all the time -- even baseball. has anyone ever been to a cubs / white sox game? there are all manners of drunk, fat and pathetic men fighting each other in the mid-innings. i have seen one such man driven away by ambulance, in fact. (i am guessing that, rather than having been a target of any serious punishment, he likely swung his fist -- missed -- and fell hitting his head.)

my question is not so much why the fans still had full bottles of beer in the fourth quarter than it is why did the fans have bottles of beer? if the fans did not bring those in on their own, i want to see a huge fine on cleveland; i'd like to see a fine even if the fans did bring them in but with something obvious, like a cooler. come on. at least at cubs games, when the fans throw beer (it happens more often than you think), they're in soft plastic or paper cups.
posted by moz at 8:25 AM on December 17, 2001


Starvingartist: How could you sing the praises of Cleveland without mentioning the Flats?

Moz: The bottles are made of plastic.
posted by rcade at 8:30 AM on December 17, 2001


Because cities are judged by their sports team. Sad as it may sound its true. Its a reflection on how the city is judged on a national level. How many people on this board know anything about Green Bay Wisconsin or Buffalo New York? Buffalo has an excellent art gallery (Albright Knox) but its known nationally for the Bills and partly Sabres. Insert Superbowl joke here...
posted by Macboy at 8:34 AM on December 17, 2001


I will include sarcasm tags around my posts to prevent further confusion in the future.. *sigh*
posted by Popstar at 8:38 AM on December 17, 2001


Starvingartist: How could you sing the praises of Cleveland without mentioning the Flats?

I guess what bothers me is the fact that whenever Cleveland is mentioned, people who live there have to defend it because there's always some smartasses out there who hear "Cleveland" & jump into "Cleveland sucks" mode, even if they've never been there. Clevelanders shouldn't have to sit here & sing the praises of the city in order to fight back against the neverending claims of it being the "Mistake by the Lake."

Anyway, as to the post.. I am ashamed of the behavior of the fans, but as someone else said, I don't think it'll be remembered for very long. Just another incident in which alcohol + rabid fandom = stupidity (see also: ten cent beer night).
posted by zempf at 8:39 AM on December 17, 2001


This is why I no longer given a damn about "professional" sports. Most professional sports "fans" are a bunch of couch potato loser dorks who so desperately need to get a life. I've stopped giving a damn long ago.

Foorball, Baseball, Soccer? I'd rather watch an elephant take a dump. It would be much more entertaining.

If a bunch of loser dorks want to throw beer bottles at football games, guess what? I could give a shit.
posted by zeb vance at 8:40 AM on December 17, 2001


Things would be so much better if they stopped the namby-pamby "protect the quaterback" calls.

Yes, owillis, what the sport needs is more injuries, and less regard for the health of the players. You'd make a hell of an owner. :-)
posted by jpoulos at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2001


Someone should establish a 'free for all' league. where you can dope your players to the eyeballs, rules go out the window, and death becomes an inconvenience to the natural flow of carnage and mayhem.

they could have weapons and everything. like Rollerball. cooool.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:50 AM on December 17, 2001


I think those people are pathetic, but I've always distained people who take sports so seriously. Like it's the FANS' win or loss. Like the fan had anything to do with it but pay for the arenas with their tax dollars.

Football is just an excuse for "boys to be boys," that's why they have criminals, rapists, illiterates, and other lovely people playing it. People idolize those overpaid, overweight, violent idiots and therefore, act like them when things don't go their way.

And then Carmen Policy, in his infinite brilliance, says "I think it's nice to see that they care." What a moron. Just as bad as the team he employs.

Football is a pathetic sport. From start to finish.

Cities are only judged by their sports teams by other people who care about sports teams . I don't judge cities by their teams because I DON'T KNOW OR CARE about sports teams. I will, however, judge Cleveland by their sports teams' FANS.

They ought to not let Cleveland play at all for the rest of the year and not sell beer all next season. But they'll never do it.
posted by aacheson at 8:50 AM on December 17, 2001


rcade:

the bottles may have been plastic, but the plastic cups i'd been thinking of are those thin, very malleable sorts which bend if you hold the cup with the slightest pressure. what i saw on television did not compare, seeming thicker and thus more painful when tossed at 20 mph.
posted by moz at 8:51 AM on December 17, 2001


Is there a link to some video? I saw it on ESPN this morning, but it would be neat to review it several times since there was A LOT of action going on.
posted by labotsirc at 8:56 AM on December 17, 2001


i would like to say, if i may, that the use of cleveland as an excuse in this thread to ramble about the evils of organized sports is a bit annoying to me.

aacheson:

Football is just an excuse for "boys to be boys," that's why they have criminals, rapists, illiterates, and other lovely people playing it. People idolize those overpaid, overweight, violent idiots and therefore, act like them when things don't go their way.

when i think of football, i think of walter payton. that man is the complete opposite of what you describe above, and thinking of him makes this grown man cry.
posted by moz at 8:57 AM on December 17, 2001


What is it that gets people this riled up and stupid?

They were probably British football* hooligans, who thought the National Football League was just that.

* sawker for you 'mericans.
posted by dagny at 9:02 AM on December 17, 2001


Why do sports fans get so worked up?
Well, I probably fit some of the stereotypes here about sports fans, although I feel you guys are exaggerating a bit. I've never gotten into a fight over sports, although a couple good shouting matches have been engaged in. I can't speak for other fans, but for me it's The Redskins (shock!) and I'm really tied into the 'Skins because they're my hometown team. It's one of the few things you can get several thousand people from different races/economic levels to agree on and enjoy collectively. As such, you become happier when they win (Joe Gibbs) and frustrated when they lose (Norv Turner). There's a very real rush of adrenalin, even sitting there on the couch. Personally, I have a tendency to just go to sleep after the 'Skins lose because I'm so upset. I've never got to the point of killing myself or hitting someone, that would just be retarded.

Last year I left the sports bar after the 'Skins lost to Dallas (again) and a real smart Dallas "fan" (I say this because Dallas fans ride, ride, ride the bandwagon) got in my face to heckle me. Now I just glared at him and walked away, but I could see that if I had less self control or a beer or two in my system why I would have felt okay with hitting him.

Yes, owillis, what the sport needs is more injuries, and less regard for the health of the players.
Look, the "slide" rule is one thing. But when a defensive lineman just taps the QB (based on the momentum of 500lbs of flesh hurtling through the air), that shouldn't be a penalty. Never mind that the penalty gets called more often when it's a "golden boy" QB (Favre, Aikman, Manning).
posted by owillis at 9:02 AM on December 17, 2001


i'm from cleveland and i think it is funny. it even got on the Today show. i consider football fans as drunken neanderthals so who cares if they get bonked in the head?
1. someone might win a darwin award. 2. their skulls are thick so dont worry.

what did bother me about the whole thing was the newscasters interviewing children who'd gotten bonked on the head. what the hell are 5 year olds doing out that late? and at a football game? too bad the parents didnt get hit, might have knocked some sense into them.

hey starvinartist, did you forget Cain park? i love that place
posted by sadie01221975 at 9:05 AM on December 17, 2001


Moz, I'm sure not all football players are as I said, but when I read about the players doing things like: shootings, wife-battering, raping of women, womanizing, illiteracy, bastard children, drug use, etc. etc. etc. and the oafs just get more money and more "respect" and more women, it makes me sick. I don't see so many of the "good guys" in football making a stand against their pig teammates that give them all a bad name.

Just the other day, a woman pressed charges at CU Boulder (my alma mater) for a gang-rape at a football RECRUITMENT party. Why won't I be surprised when the guys aren't punished? Come to CU, where football is king and women are property!
posted by aacheson at 9:06 AM on December 17, 2001


i met a fervent Fayenoord supporter in Rotterdam who said his best birthday ever was when an Ajax fan had his head caved in with a hammer.

there was something wrong in that. made me feel uncomfortable.
posted by Frasermoo at 9:07 AM on December 17, 2001


zeb vance - do you care to offer one shred of evidence to support your claims about sports fans? Also, since you don't care so very deeply, why did you bother to comment?

I always get amused by those who decry sports as stupid, violent, criminal, pointless, (insert your favorate mis-conception here) and then tell the rest of us what SHOULD happen in sports, kind of like aacheson just did. starvingartist asked a very valid question, but because of the assumptions taken into it, I doubt anyone here will be able to offer a very good answer. It isn't very hard to find resources on the web to offer insite to explain fan behavior ... if one isn't too busy spouting their own anti-sport agenda.

owillis, nice post, (from one football fan to another).
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:08 AM on December 17, 2001


This article mentions, only briefly, one of the great moments in Cleveland History, the great 10-cent beer night riot at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. This always struck me as a great subject for a made-for-TV movie, and I invite screenwriters to take a shot at it.
``That's when Billy grabbed a bat,'' said photographer
Ron Kuntz, standing next to the Texas dugout. ``I'll
always remember
this, he grabbed a bat and said, `Let's get 'em boys.' ...and before
you knew it, there were thousands of fans all over the
field. I was scared.
The only thing I can compare it to was when I was
covering riots in Venezuela and there were guys with
Uzis running around...

Sounds like "Black Hawk Down!"
posted by Faze at 9:08 AM on December 17, 2001


Anybody who knows me knows I speak out loudly and firmly against the ridiculous sports culture we have in this country.

Anybody who knows me knows that I speak out loudly and firmly against the ridiculous waste of beer. Urp.

Oh, and count me in the camp that lauds Cleveland as a city with a vibrant arts scene. And the Rock Hall isn't that pathetic. A lot of folks would be surprised how much cultcha there is out here in the flyover.

Also, go Rams!
posted by bradlands at 9:11 AM on December 17, 2001


I left my sarcasm detector at home.

*schmarmy comic-book-guy voice*

"Ooooh, a sarcasm dectector. Now that's a useful invention."
posted by brand-gnu at 9:11 AM on December 17, 2001


I'm a big fan of (some) pro sports (lets go Pens!), but I don't become deeply, personally involved with the teams I follow the way some (many?) people who don't have many other interests do. I wasn't joking about the beer comment earlier; I hate going to football and baseball games and having to deal with boorish, beligerent, sloppily-drunk assholes who end up ruining the game for those of us who actually care to follow it. (Oddly enough, I don't see this happen at hockey games too often, perhaps because the game commands your complete attention more than baseball and football, where there is a lot of "down time.") I would love to see alcohol either banned or severely limited (like, only sold during the first quarter of a game) at sports. Hopefully the people who care more about drinking than the actual game would stay home then.

I understand how the fans in Cleveland (a city I like, btw, a helluva lot more than Buffalo) got upset at the blown call, but their actions do speak greatly of their lack of perspective and sobriety.

All that said, I don't think I could ever enjoy going to an NBA game if I wasn't sloshed.

(Oh, and before someone else brings it up, there was an incident at a Penguins game this year when a player [Kovalev] scored a hat trick [three goals], which prompted the fans to throw things [usually hats] onto the ice. The only problem was, it was "Hockey Puck Giveaway Night," and around 100 pucks flew onto the ice. One of the pucks hit a Penguins player in the face, and he had to leave the game. This incident had less to do with drunkenness than exuberance, and the Pens' stupidity at giving out pucks before the game.)

After previewing: I second what owillis said.

I'll shut up now.
posted by arco at 9:11 AM on December 17, 2001


Just the other day, a woman pressed charges at CU Boulder (my alma mater) for a gang-rape at a football RECRUITMENT party. Why won't I be surprised when the guys aren't punished? Come to CU, where football is king and women are property!

Okay, so if someone plays sports, then they're guilty until proven innocent, right? And you can't judge a city by its sports teams but you can judge a college by them? Explain this here , cause you've got me confused now.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2001


Here's an article about how football fans are becoming increasingly "upper class": "Higher ticket prices are changing the face of sports. Professionals, executives and others with means increasingly are filling seats once held by middle-class families and other average fans. Cooke Stadium holds 23,600 more people than Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, the Redskins' old venue, but many of those additional seats were bought by businesses whose fans probably aren't the type to dress up as hogs."

Thanks Wulfgar.
posted by owillis at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2001


what the hell are 5 year olds doing out that late? and at a football game? too bad the parents didnt get hit, might have knocked some sense into them.

Out that late? It was a 1:00 football game, ended at roughly 5pm due to the game being.. uh.. "extended" a bit. Maybe your kids go to bed at noon, but I don't see anything wrong with taking the munchkins to a football game. I went to a lot of games as a kid & it hasn't made me too messed up, I don't think.

What irks me here is that all I see is a lot of people in this thread taking one isolated incident & using it to paint all sports as terrible violent things that should be banned forever. Sheesh.
posted by zempf at 9:14 AM on December 17, 2001


[Instead of throwing beer bottles, Bills fans were throwing in the towel. ]

I did that when they announced our starting QB last year.
posted by revbrian at 9:16 AM on December 17, 2001


Wulfgar!, okay Mr. Fan, what do YOU think should be done when something like this happends? ...since you have the right to submit answers since you're a sports fan....
posted by aacheson at 9:18 AM on December 17, 2001


FIGHT ! FIGHT ! FIGHT !
posted by Frasermoo at 9:22 AM on December 17, 2001


Wulfgar!, CU Boulder has a long reputation for treating their football players with kid gloves because of all the $$$ and prestige (!) they bring to the University. If the people are guilty, I sincerly doubt they would be treated with the same level of punishment of a non-football-player. Perhaps they will, though, which would be wonderful.

Also, please re-read my post. What I said is that I don't judge cities by sports teams because I don't know about their teams, but I do know about Boulder after living there, so I feel free to judge them.
posted by aacheson at 9:32 AM on December 17, 2001


Q: What's worse than people who get into fights over a game they watch and don't play?

A: People fighting over people fighting over a game they watch and don't play.
posted by tommasz at 9:38 AM on December 17, 2001


The refs did throw kerosene on the fire by breaking one rule (reviewing plays is not allowed if another snap is taken first) to take the ball away from the home team.

I think fan goonery is indefensible. Yet while the mob did not have just cause it did have a cause.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:44 AM on December 17, 2001


aacheson:

Moz, I'm sure not all football players are as I said, but when I read about the players doing things like: shootings, wife-battering, raping of women, womanizing, illiteracy, bastard children, drug use, etc. etc. etc. and the oafs just get more money and more "respect" and more women, it makes me sick. I don't see so many of the "good guys" in football making a stand against their pig teammates that give them all a bad name.

Just the other day, a woman pressed charges at CU Boulder (my alma mater) for a gang-rape at a football RECRUITMENT party. Why won't I be surprised when the guys aren't punished? Come to CU, where football is king and women are property!


i suppose that i can't answer for every crime an NFL player commits that is not prosecuted to the fullest, but i can name some examples. rae carruth -- the man who had his girlfriend shot because she was pregnant -- i would like to say was released by the panthers, though ESPN lists him as still with the team, but his career is all but done. (ironically or perhaps not so, carruth went to CU.) ray lewis would likely have suffered the same fate had he been convicted, but his skill and his conviction led to his reacceptance by some (certainly not by me and a lot of other fans as well as players). OJ Simpson has been exiled from most popular media, and mark chmura -- the good guy who refused to attend a dinner at the white house over his outrage for the irresponsibility of former president clinton -- has been released by the packers in spite of being acquitted of charges that he'd raped his baby sitter at a post-prom (i believe) party. (and, really, why the hell is some 20 or 30 something NFL football player hanging out with 17 year-olds at a prom party??)

recently, a player on the browns (his name escapes me) was caught with unlicensed firearms in his car; he was subsequently released by cleveland. some crimes by athletes do go punished -- particularly at the professional level -- though perhaps not all do. (latrell spreewell is still playing basketball, isn't he?)

the story of the gang rape at CU is pretty sad, and if the guys are guilty i'd like to see them thrown off the team at the least and expelled if i'd have my way. i think there's a sort of karmic balance, though; the players whom are so good at their sport strike me as the hardest workers and, as a consequence, the most sincerest of people. i think players like ray lewis are the exception to the rule of the walter paytons, the brian urlachers, and the michael jordans.
posted by moz at 9:50 AM on December 17, 2001


Carruth was cut by the Panthers, Mike Sellers (former 'Skin) was the Browns player, and Ray Lewis also makes me sick. I would dislike him even if he didn't play for The Other Team In Maryland.
posted by owillis at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2001


YOU CALL THIS A SOCCER RIOT? C'MON BOYS, LET'S TAKE 'EM TO SKEWL!
posted by Ty Webb at 10:04 AM on December 17, 2001


Cleveland earned its terrible reputation back in the '60s and '70s. Its main river was so polluted it caught on fire.

I was impressed with the city when I visited for a wedding in 1997. Lots of fall foliage, a revitalized downtown, a great baseball park, and the aforementioned Flats. Before that visit, though, I was expecting it to be a lot like downtown Jacksonville today -- industrial, grimy, and dreary.
posted by rcade at 10:16 AM on December 17, 2001


Wulfgar!, okay Mr. Fan, what do YOU think should be done when something like this happends? ...since you have the right to submit answers since you're a sports fan....

You misinterpret me; I don't think that only "fans" should be able to have opinions, and in fact I don't think that "fans" should be able to submit answers. The answers are up to the city of Cleveland, the owners of the Browns, and one Paul Tagliabue (who I don't envy at all this week). What I was getting at is this, if you wish to help solve a problem, you'd best understand it, and leave your preconceptions at the door.

To offer my opinions as to what I would like to see happen:

1) The entire officiating staff from that game should be suspended for a period of at least three weeks. What they did was inexcusable according to the rules of the game.

2) Any fan caught on video hucking foamy missiles at anyone should be prosecuted for misdemeaner assault, and have their season tickets revoked (if they have them).

3) The Browns organization should be fined, severly. I hope and trust that Tagliabue will do just that.

As for CU Boulder's reputation, I would like to point out that "reps" aren't admissable in court, and one Alum claiming something doesn't make it so.

p.s. GO GRIZZLIES!!!
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:34 AM on December 17, 2001


Here's a "fan" who should spend Christmas in the pokey!

As for Colorado's football team, years ago in Sports Illustrated CU campus police were quoted as saying they use the team media guide as a mug book.
posted by Carol Anne at 10:45 AM on December 17, 2001


All I've got to say is BFD.

Those plastic beer containers are so light that they need some liquid in them to be thrown any distance. IMHO no one was in danger of getting hurt. The whole incident was blown way out of proportion. Was anyone really hurt?

And... If you don't like sports, don't support them. I happen to like sitting in the dawg pound. Don't take away my rights because you don't like sports.

If I had a virtual beer bottle I'd toss in the middle of you self important, pseudo-intellectual, geeks.

Cleveland Rocks!!!
posted by baudboy at 10:57 AM on December 17, 2001


baudboy - the bottles were, according to the targets of said bottles, full. How would you like to be beaned by several hundred full plastic bottles of beer? And people did get hurt - like I said before, a 5-year-old kid got hurt, and a visitor from out of state drove home with a gash above his eye.

And I don't support sports. If you like them, fine. But if you start throwing bottles, acting like a toddler with poor impulse control because your team is losing, and people get hurt, then I think you should lose some right. The right to beer in bottles? Maybe. The right to watch football? No, but it might make you think twice about acting so stupidly.
posted by starvingartist at 11:14 AM on December 17, 2001


Don't take away my rights because you don't like sports.

i think you'd better talk to the browns, baudboy, because they'll be the ones to take your rights away if they decide.

i don't know. i think having bottles of beer hurled at you may or may not hurt physically, and even if it did not hurt in that way, it didn't leave much for the dignity of the officials or the game itself. of course, a group of fat, drunken fanboys tossing bottles of beer doesn't leave much for dignity all around, does it?
posted by moz at 11:16 AM on December 17, 2001


The snobbish attitude of those in this post who look down on the commoners and their silly 'foosball' is more sickening then the spectacle up in Cleveland was.
posted by Mick at 11:29 AM on December 17, 2001


Give me a break, Mick. Someone threw a transistor radio and knocked a guy down, according to the broadcasters. Still think that's less offensive than snobbery?

Cleveland.Com has a nice moron photo gallery: (#1, #2, #3, along with some footage of the embarrassing incident. Did you throw something, baudboy?
posted by rcade at 11:32 AM on December 17, 2001


I read the same AP report. It said that the four year old child of an assistant was hit with a cup. No mention of getting hurt. The eye witness with the "gash" was from Toledo (does making it an out of state visitor make it so much worse?). The report also said that that there were no serious injuries. Again....BFD.

By the way, the beer is not in glass bottles. It is in a very light weight plastic container.

This is all just an excuse to look down your nose at Cleveland and those overpaid brutes that play those violent children's games.

Please!
posted by baudboy at 11:32 AM on December 17, 2001


I don't really think its fair to use Cleveland fan(atic)s as an example of the average football fan. Cleveland has a history of throwing things (such as snowballs with batteries in the middle) at opposing teams. This prompted, then Bengals coach, Sam Wyche to make his, in Cincinnati anyway, famous PA announcement "you don't live in Cleveland! you live in Cincinnati!" because he was angry that certain fans in the stadium had begun to throw snowballs at the other team (don't know where I'd begin to look for an audio clip). Of course that was back in the days when Cleveland vs. Cincinnati was a huge rivalry. Ah, those were the days... I really wish Cincinnati still had a football team.
posted by srw12 at 11:34 AM on December 17, 2001


Ich bin ein Clevelander. Last week, LTV Steel idled the mills and put 7,500 workers on unemployment. Our town's entire manufacturing sector (basically the complete economic base) is now feeling the ripple effects, and so a little more dread is heaped onto the hearts of the blue collar, dawg-pound inhabiting Browns fans, who are watching their last ditch chance for a playoff position in what, ten years, evaporate. (And after defeating the Super Bowl champion Ravens BOTH times this year!) Sprinkle in a little Christmas anxiety. How's that for perspective?

So you get a couple of idiots lobbing full (plastic) beer bottles: life is hazardous, crowds are dangerous, people are assholes... sorry about your forehead, dude. Bottles are the mistake - where's the accountability for that? Regardless, the statement at least affirms some kind of spirit - a resiliency that Cleveland is known for - the one thing (besides the so-called "burgeoning" arts scene) that Clevelanders can take pride in. I say, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
posted by greensweater at 11:38 AM on December 17, 2001


This is all just an excuse to look down your nose at Cleveland and those overpaid brutes that play those violent children's games.

I'm a fan of the violent children's games. I watched the game live, and as a Jagulars fan jumped up and down in an embarrassing manner afterwards.

I like Cleveland. I know the bottles were plastic.

However, none of this changes the fact that a bunch of fat-asses throwing debris because of a referee's call is deeply, irredeemably pathetic. Even moreso because the ref was correct. These fans were bitterly enraged over a technicality.
posted by rcade at 11:42 AM on December 17, 2001


Someone threw a transistor radio and knocked a guy down, according to the broadcasters. Still think that's less offensive than snobbery?

Yes, one person getting hit with a radio is less offensive then the elitist attitude that permeates certain sections of our society.
posted by Mick at 11:44 AM on December 17, 2001


However, none of this changes the fact that a bunch of fat-asses throwing debris because of a referee's call is deeply, irredeemably pathetic. Even moreso because the ref was correct. These fans were bitterly enraged over a technicality.

How can you review a call after another down was played? Why didn't they review the kick off and play the whole damn game over? That's pathetic.

And another thing, what have you got against "fat asses"?
posted by baudboy at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2001


A number of questions have been posed, the answers to which would be pretty evident if most were'nt busy making grand assumptions.

Why do people get worked up about sports? Easy. For the same reason that anyone gets worked up about anything. Asking why a fan cares about the team is as ultimately futile as asking a music or art fan why they are moved or scientists why they're fascinated by their subject. It's ultimately unclassifyable. Boil it down to different strokes.

As far as all football players being violent (potential) criminals - ahem. Any team is a cross-section of society, as are (gasp!) audiences at a game. The violent fools get the most press, but there are a whole lot who just go out because they like the game and feel pretty lucky to get paid a ridiculous sum of cash to do what they love. Seems like a good 50% of MeFi posters are too busy being judgemental to realize this.

And the crack about players being overpaid: sure. But at the same time they generate insane amounts of revenue and like any other union-ed workforce, they demand a consummate portion of what they generate. Again, obvious. Also take into account the physical deterioration experienced by the average player, especially in football. Some positions have about a six-year lifespan. They're paid for destroying their bodies. Argue the merits of that detail if you want, but the motivation for high pay is there.

As for these fans, they should be rounded into a pen, at which point everyone hit by a bottle gets a crack. If they're physically unable to do it again, so much the better.

What I'd like to know from all those who talk about sports as a bunch of rubbish is: what do you care that much about?
posted by videodrome at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2001


baudboy: calm down! I think you've been watching the Drew Carey Show a little too much. "This is all just an excuse to look down your nose at Cleveland." Whatever. You've missed all the comments that say exactly the opposite.

greensweater: a "couple of idiots" I can understand (esp. in light of all the tension facing Cleveland at this time), but this was far worse than a little "letting off of steam." This was mob rule. I'm not going to be all "high and mighty" and say that fans here in Pittsburgh wouldn't have done something similar, but this incident should make both the fans and the people in charge (Tagliabue, Policy, etc.) reexamine some things, as someone could have been seriously hurt in all this.
posted by arco at 11:50 AM on December 17, 2001


(Thought I must agree with your "that's pathetic" claim, baudboy. The refs screwed that one up big-time. Not a crucifiable offense, but a major mistake nonetheless.)
posted by arco at 11:53 AM on December 17, 2001


baudboy -
OK, it was a 4-year-old, not a 5-year-old. That makes it alright? From what experience I have with 4-year-olds, they can perceive pain from anything. I think he (or she) was probably hurt, whether we would perceive it as serious or not. As for the person from Toledo, that was my mistake, I'm at work and don't have a lot of time to go researching links. I thought the person was from out of state, and yes, it would make a difference because I remember the news saying that this person drove home before seeking medical help. How would you like an extra-long drive home with an open wound? As for the bottles, no one is saying they were glass. Where did anyone say that? We know they were plastic. They would still hurt if thrown from a few rows up and full of beer. You sound like you're making excuses for this behavior, and that bothers me. I am not looking down on Cleveland. I like Cleveland. I live here. I've used half of my posts in this thread defending Cleveland as a city. I am looking down on any Browns fan who threw something at that game. If you threw something, you're a dick, and I don't want to have anything to do with you.
posted by starvingartist at 11:56 AM on December 17, 2001


what do you care that much about?

Nothing.
posted by aramaic at 11:57 AM on December 17, 2001


This is a game that should have been played in the Coliseum. Not the one in Los Angeles, but the original one in Rome.

More coverage at Jacksonville's local paper.
posted by Zurishaddai at 12:01 PM on December 17, 2001


Even moreso because the ref was correct.

Sorry, rcade, but I gotta disagree with that. Whether the pass was a reception or not is inconsequential. The officials knowingly broke the rules; in effect, they cheated for the opposing team. If officials can cheat, then the terrorists have won!


(No I'm not really serious about that last quip).
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2001


How can you review a call after another down was played?

ESPN.Com: "correct procedures were followed and the correct decision made when replay overturned what had been ruled a fourth-down catch by Cleveland's Quincy Morgan."

And another thing, what have you got against "fat asses"?

I'll withdraw the comment if the press uncovers any photos of svelte debris-throwing maroons.
posted by rcade at 12:10 PM on December 17, 2001


I think I'll bring my four-year old niece to the Dawg Pound, in ten degree weather, on the lakefront, where grandmas swear like sailors and people puking on each other is status quo.

Cleveland Stadium's reputation is well deserved -- ignorance is no excuse. Folks in the bleachers have been throwing dog biscuits for twenty years. Idea: let's fire their asses, and then give 'em 16 ouncers!!
posted by greensweater at 12:11 PM on December 17, 2001


If you threw something, you're a dick, and I don't want to have anything to do with you.

I love the Browns and I love Cleveland. The Browns have the best and most loyal fans in all sports and I am proud to include myself in that group. I was not at the game. I do not drink and I would never throw anything at a sporting event, ever.

(I don't know why this discussion had to get so personal. What's my behavior got to do with the point I was making? Oh. Back to the point....)

My point is that this whole incident is over hyped and over blown. No one was seriously hurt. Some fans didn't like a call and threw some plastic containers on the field. So what?

(starvingartist - I was just making a post, it wasn't an invitation "to have anything to do with" me.)
posted by baudboy at 12:16 PM on December 17, 2001


baudboy: I asked because you said you're a Dawg Pound fan and didn't seem to mind the debris tossing. It wasn't intended as an accusation, but it would've been nice to hear a first-hand account of the mayhem.

You keep interpreting this as an excuse to dogpile Cleveland, but personally I think the same might easily have happened in Dallas or Jacksonville (the two places I've gone to games). I've been a season ticket holder in Dallas, and every game, dozens of fans get so boozed up they can't make the 500-yard walk to their cars without stopping to urinate in a gully. It's quite an amazing spectacle.
posted by rcade at 12:21 PM on December 17, 2001


Have any of you been to a football game like UGA-UT-FLORIDA (i'm a dawg), at any of those three stadiums with 100,000 rabid fans? I remember when GT was playing a home game and some team beat them there. The opossing team's band was literally mugged when they left. Yet, i never heard an outcry over that. In my experience, yes Professional games can get intense, but NOTHING compares to the intensity of fans in college. Think in college if UT was playing in The Swamp and some call was made against UT near the very end of a close game (like the cleveland game) and 2 plays later, that play was reversed setting the Gators back. There would be a riot that could put some European futbal riots to shame.
posted by jmd82 at 12:49 PM on December 17, 2001


"Anybody who knows me knows I speak out loudly and firmly against the ridiculous sports culture we have in this country"

I love it when Americans say something along the lines of 'I'm disgusted at how things are done in my country', while completely disregarding how things are done in other countries. In other countries you have fans shooting, stabbing, rioting, organizing fights. You have players attacked (and killed) for blowing the big game, rampant corruption among referees, players being bought off... It's like that *all over the world*, be it Africa, South America or Europe. The level of culture among American sports fans, especially in contacts with fans from opposing teams, is among the highest I've experienced.

YMMV.
posted by jedrek at 1:21 PM on December 17, 2001


Hell, I went to high school in Midland, TX - next door to Odessa, home of the Friday Night Lights story. (I don't share the optimism expressed in that link, btw) High school football there rivals that of any serious collegiate competition, and is all the more sad in it's unrealistic expectations.
posted by videodrome at 1:24 PM on December 17, 2001


jedrek - what's YMMV? You Make Me Vomit? Anyway, I've only ever lived in the US, so I only have that as a point of reference. Any ridiculous sports culture bothers me. But I don't live in any of those other countries. It's all despicable.

GFY
posted by starvingartist at 1:31 PM on December 17, 2001


YMMV = your mileage may vary.
posted by zempf at 1:38 PM on December 17, 2001


starvingartist: So, a culture which supports grown men playing games is despicable while one which supports grown men pretending to be people they're not is OK? They both exist to draw out and shape emotion; both athletics and acting can be performed with skill and finesse or in a brutish and stupid way. Arguably, the latter gets more attention, whether it be sports or theatre. One is designed to exercise the body and the other the mind.

Based on all that, please defend your position, preferably in a clear way, without telling me to GFM.
posted by videodrome at 1:39 PM on December 17, 2001


My bad about the YMMV thing. I am not internet-speak versed. I apologize.

I hate the celebrity/hero culture in general. I think it's great to have celebrities. But they are not infallible. And rioting over a game is just stupid. Supporting sports, in and of themselves, is fine. But when it gets to the point where thousands of people are throwing bottles, or rioting, or whatever, because of a game, that's when I think it's despicable. You wouldn't see an audience riot or throw programs if a Broadway actor flubbed a line. I guess I'm more pissed about hero worship to the point of absurdism, and people getting so wound up in a game that, ultimately, has no bearing on their lives whatsoever. So what if Cleveland wins or loses? How does that affect your life, really and truly?

You could say the same thing about theater, and I would have to agree with you. Ultimately, art does not have any more effect than sports. They are all there to enrich you. I just feel that art perhaps requires a bit more effort on the part of the enjoyer, and perhaps a bit more civility as well. This is not to suggest that there does not exist art which is not civil or pretty or challenging. Blink 182, some "modern" art, and Cannibal Cheerleaders on Crack spring to mind.

Ultimately, for me, it comes down to a question of evidence. There are a lot more riots, beatings, and killings related to sports than there are to theater in specific and art in general.
posted by starvingartist at 1:49 PM on December 17, 2001


And rioting over a game is just stupid.

Damn right.

The presence of alcohol is definitely a factor - though not the only one, as I've had many a Manhattan while attending a play. So let's also include the fact that the audience for sports is expected to be loud and even aggressive, magnified by alcohol. You see some of that in the mention of 'uncivil' art like a Blink 182 show, where there's a similarly loud, drunk audience. You can get into a lot of discussion of class-based attendance at 'art' and sports (even with higher ticket prices and whatnot mentioned above taken into account) and I think there's a lot of relevance to it, but I don't have any sort of backing data, so I'll leave it at a mention.

Even with all that, the main difference is the absence of direct conflict in art. There's confrontation, but not the sort of physical conflict you find in a football game and that's the root - everything else is a magnifier. Personally, I'd say that given the combative nature of sports, alcohol shouldn't be sold in stadiums. (Let me tell you about my experiences in Feway bleachers during a number of Sox/Yankees games last year.) But that'll never happen, and not because of 'rights' (if it's your 'right' to drink at a game, why can't you take that beer to the street?) - it's all about revenue. Beer generates as much money for stadiums as ticket sales. They rely on it, just like at a rock show at any club.

I don't really have any great place to go with this. In a number of ways, I agree with you and appreciate the clear reply.
posted by videodrome at 2:07 PM on December 17, 2001


You wouldn't see an audience riot or throw programs if a Broadway actor flubbed a line.

Don't forget about the "Rite of Spring" riot(s) in Paris after Stravinsky's work was premeired some 90 years or so ago.

And Italian opera crowds have been known to viciously boo a performer offstage for missing a single note. If they were tanked (like at a football game), I'm sure some of these "patrons" would be hurling their opera glasses.
posted by arco at 2:14 PM on December 17, 2001


Like I said, there are exceptions. The Stravinski riots were 90 years ago. In the past twenty years we've had riots in LA and Chicago over sports, a dad who beat another dad to death at a kid's hockey game, and now the Browns game. I think the evidence leans in one definite direction.
posted by starvingartist at 2:18 PM on December 17, 2001


ESPN.Com: "correct procedures were followed and the correct decision made when replay overturned what had been ruled a fourth-down catch by Cleveland's Quincy Morgan."

This has a really awful ring to it, for me. Howey Long alluded to the idea that the officials and the league were trying to cover their asses from the official's role in this incedent, and I think he's right. From the very same ESPN article:

"Things were moving very quickly. When the pager went off (just before the snap), the referee allowed the play to take place before confirming with the umpire and the replay assistant that he was paged for a review."

a challenge is invalid if the next play has been run,

These two things just don't work together. Either the officials stopped the play, or they didn't, and yesterday, they didn't. This may seem like a picky point, but it has a great deal of significance in light of the resulting fan eruption.

Unlike starvingartist and others, I find nothing wrong with gameplaying and sport. These are activities that people have participated in since before written history, either as spectators or participants. But when a sport institutionalizes its own importance, than I can see how the "sports suck" crowd can feel that we have a culture built around it. (No, that doesn't mean I agree). The whole point of a game is that there are rules to acheiving an end, and if the officials of the game violate those rules, then they are as loathsome than the players who walk outside of society, (just not more prosecutable).

Should we stop playing the games, as many would have us do? I'm still waiting for a good reason why we should stop to be presented, especially concidering that game playing appears to be part of human nature. But I will have to agree with detractors this far: as long as the league seeks to protect itself from the monster of its own creation, then those who wish to dis football have a point, just not as damning a one as they may think.

That's one of the reasons I love 1AA college football. All the sport with half the money motivation. Gee, I wonder who's going to be the Champions this year?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:26 PM on December 17, 2001


Football is just an excuse for "boys to be boys," that's why they have criminals, rapists, illiterates, and other lovely people playing it.

See also: politicians, actors, millionaires, musicians, priests, etc.

There are a lot more riots, beatings, and killings related to sports than there are to theater in specific and art in general.

See also: religion.

videodrome: thanks for not perceiving events so simplistically. This condemnation of football/sports is akin to saying "Muslims are so f***ing ridiculous! They're always blowing up buildings and killing innocent folks!"

Sports has its problems, and it is certainly not as important or comparable to world events (forgive me for doing just that). But let us not be guilty of using logic or argumentation that we would consider unacceptable in other arenas. Sports has been around for a long time. The professionalization of sports, like the professionalization/commodification of many other things, has produced some troubling issues. But it has also generated some interesting changes in American society and culture. A whole generation of minority athletes are becoming millionaires and celebrities. In the South, a class of white students want to be "like Mike" or "Tiger Woods" or "Eddie George." It is one thing to talk about civil rights; it is quite another to empower a generation of minorities with a sizeable income and a favorable perception. (A friend of mine teaches MJ's son at a very prestigious private school in Chicago; the children of these professional athletes are being given opportunities to become major "players" in the future of our country--whether it is the world of business, academia, politics, athletics, etc.). I'm not suggesting that sports is the answer for society, only that it is more complex than this thread indicates.
posted by jacknose at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2001


These two things just don't work together. Either the officials stopped the play, or they didn't, and yesterday, they didn't. This may seem like a picky point, but it has a great deal of significance in light of the resulting fan eruption.

There are several rules in the NFL where the refs declare that a play didn't actually take place -- such as illegal motion penalties. This seems comparable; the ref received notification of a replay official's challenge before the snap, so the play is nullified.

I don't want to rob Cleveland fans of some nice indignation, since that's one of the best things about getting stupid over sports, but Morgan dropped the pass on fourth down. Cleveland had no right to run a play after that.
posted by rcade at 3:08 PM on December 17, 2001


I'm not suggesting that sports is the answer for society, only that it is more complex than this thread indicates.

(Laughing with absolute glee) jacknose, you couldn't be more right!!!
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:10 PM on December 17, 2001


I love the Browns and grew up in Cleveland. The Cleveland Browns have some of the best fans of any sport. The Browns have a huge international fan base and can boast the largest sports fan club in the world (The Browns Backers club).

There are several mistakes in the thread above. First of all, Gerard Warren (the Brown caught with the firearm) was not released from the team. You're thinking of Sellers. Gerard Warren was caught with an unregistered firearm, but one that his police officer brother had given him. The gun was licensed but not registered, a felony in some states (including PA where he was arrested).

As far as yesterday goes - it was hardly every fan throwing bottles. For those of you actually watching the game you would have seen that it was primarily the Dawg Pound (the bleachers at one end of the stadium) throwing bottles. The Dawg Pound has been known for years as an incredibly rowdy place. During the 80s this area regularly pelted opposing teams with dog biscuits, etc. The NFL ate all of this up - they gave the dawg pound the NFL's only official fan logo. The behavior of the Dawg Pound goes back years and is tied to the "cheap seats" behavior at sporting events around the world in every city for various teams. It's only in this era of personal seat licenses and the vast influx of the upper class to sporting events that anything that bothers you from eating your gourmet pizza is seen as distasteful.

All that happened was that they threw plastic beer bottles on to the field and later at the benches, etc. Reports of people's "heads being split open", etc. have not been born out, and I have yet to hear of any reported injuries. Full bottles were not being dropped from 100ft up at the upper decks onto crying children.

As far as the call goes it was pretty unanimously derided by football fans. No one can really argue over it. ESPN's coverage of it has been heavily NFL biased, but commentators on every other network have condemned the refs decision. Replay footage even shows the ref not looking at his pocket (where the buzzer is) until after the whistle is blown. It was a mess of a situation and we'll never know who is right, but it certainly seemed like the NFL is trying to hush this one up quickly.

As for the assertion that football fans (or sports fans) are "boneheads" or stupid or whatever has been bantered about, the argument holds about as much mental weight as it did when you made it in grade school in an attempt to differentiate yourself from the jocks or whomever (I know that's when I made it). Different people like different things, it's ok, they can't hurt you now little internet people! You can go on and on about typography without getting beat up, and you can giggle to each other about your Jeffrey Zeldman crushes without the fear someone will give you a wedgie.

Starvingartist, you make it seem like a binary - those who like sports != those who enjoy art or any of the other things you, incredibly, label as activities that involve more "civility." It seems like you're staunchly trying to set up a hierarchy, a differentiation based on what you see as the gentile and the brutes. I'm sure with your private school education you can draw your own parallels to class war and can maybe dig out your history books long enough to understand that those viewed as the cultural and political elite cause far more damage than "idiot" sports fans.

Which is the problem with this whole situation. We have a franchise culture in america. We expect the same experiences in every town and in every event. Not content to have our cheeseburgers served up the same, we've made sure our city streets are filled with the same stores and that people there act how we expect them to. The fact that minor rioting happened at a football game is just shocking (all the "disgraceful"s and "embarrassing"s being thrown about) because we expect all the experiences to be the same. There is a set pattern that is to be observed (whether in the name of "family fun" or "civility"). Even at our rock concerts we have traditionalized the encores (what a routine that is!) to the point where the structure of every show is the same.

What is hilarious is that Americans tend to view Europe etc. as more "civilized" and "cultured" than we are - yet there are countless local traditions on that continent that involve the public throwing of pies, tomatoes, etc. at each other. Or soccer rioting, or the friggin love parade, etc. etc. Tons of occurrences of public outpourings of shared emotions and actions.

There is probably a correlation to this and the notion that American films are about large events and action while European ones are about the interpersonal and smaller in scale, but I'm not smart enough to figure that one out. Perhaps America is to the point where chaos and uncertainty can only exist on film.

So, starvingartist, perhaps it's the activities that you hold in such high regard - theater, etc. - that now have the exclusive right to drama and human reaction. Everything in its proper place, right?
posted by internetgeniuses at 3:11 PM on December 17, 2001


rcade - we may just have to agree to disagree here, but:
IM plays are blown dead at or before the snap of the ball. The official in question (the referee) clearly states that he got the buzz before the play, but decided to consult with the umpire to make sure, after the play was run. They let the play proceed, and invalidated any review. As I said, it doesn't matter whether Morgan dropped the pass or not. The officials validated the play, and let what ensued take place.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:23 PM on December 17, 2001


PS - Wulfgar is right! :)
posted by internetgeniuses at 3:28 PM on December 17, 2001


The difference is that if a riot were to happen at the opera today, no football fan would start a thread condemning opera and the people who like to watch it.

*throws plastic bottle full of beer at starvingartist*
posted by David Dark at 4:19 PM on December 17, 2001


what do you care that much about?

I've read enough of rcades posts to know the answer:

"writing self-important posts to metafilter to show what a bright little boy I am and how terrific I am compared to rabble."
Baudboy is right, elitism is repugnant and the intellectual elite have their own set of people it's okay to mock and hate-sports fans, heavy metal fans, christians, country music lovers, anyone to the right of Noam Chomsky, and basically the working class in general. I've noticed that people who would rather die than crack a polack joke feel no compunction whatsoever about ragging on "trailer-trash" or "rednecks" or "mulletheads."
Im not saying either side is right just pointing up the hypocrisy.
posted by jonmc at 5:09 PM on December 17, 2001


So, Internetgeniuses, just because the "Dawg Pound" have been being obnoxious louts for years and the NFL (truly the pinnacle of good taste) gave it an official fan title, that makes it okay? Rioting and violence and offensive behavior isn't "okay" no matter where. I believe that one of the reasons why we're such a violent society is that so many people are okay with anti-social, violent, and obnoxious behavior and don't step forward to stop it. If the first few fans who threw bottles were boo-ed and derided by their peers for being such idiots, I'm sure they would have stopped. But no, they all jumped on board because it's considered okay. It's acceptable to be a jerk at a sporting event because, "hey, I'm a member of the Dawg Pound!"

I think what people are arguing is that fans of theatre or art don't act like jerks very often and it's not considered socially acceptable and it doesn't get a cute official name. No one said that they expect a concert experience to be the same as a sporting event to be the same as opera.

No one should have an excuse to act like the Cleveland fans did, (and so many sports fans do on a regular basis.) It's never okay to riot, bad play or not, cute name or not, history or not, beer or not.
posted by aacheson at 5:12 PM on December 17, 2001


Rioting and violence and offensive behavior isn't "okay" no matter where.

Says you. I say rioting is sometimes justified, violence is sometimes necessary, and "offensive behavior" is impossible to define in universal terms.
posted by David Dark at 6:04 PM on December 17, 2001


I would like to say that I am so goddamn tired of the word "dawg". In the Glorious New Regime anyone that uses the term will be immediately gutted and strung up on a nearby lamppost.
posted by aramaic at 7:04 PM on December 17, 2001


As an aside - sports radio in Pittsburgh tonight was floating the rumour/theory that the bottles were all full or semi-full, (otherwise the lightweight plastic would not have been able to make it all the way to the field) but the liquid within was not beer... take that for whatever you'd like!
posted by Dreama at 8:41 PM on December 17, 2001


(dreama: lemme guess: Mark Madden?)
posted by arco at 9:02 PM on December 17, 2001


I would like to say that I am so goddamn tired of the word "dawg". In the Glorious New Regime anyone that uses the term will be immediately gutted and strung up on a nearby lamppost.

With all due laughter at how ridiculous that statement truly is, I have to point out its truly fascist character.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:57 PM on December 17, 2001


and so many sports fans do on a regular basis.


BS alert. Prove that claim. Out-of-control behavior is NOT the norm, its simply what you wish to focus on. Your bad, not mine.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:15 PM on December 17, 2001


NEW ORLEANS -- Fans at the Superdome, unhappy with a call against the Saints, threw beer bottles, cups, ice and paper onto the field during Monday night's game. NFL security director Milt Ahlerich said 13 people were arrested. "God forbid, someone should be hurt by one of these projectiles being thrown," he said..."Please, this is New Orleans and we are sportsmen here," the stadium announcer said. The throwing quickly stopped and stadium workers quickly cleared the litter from the field.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:56 AM on December 18, 2001


My point exactly, Carol Anne. If people make it not okay, then people won't do it.

Wurlfar!, you are incredible. At almost every sporting event I've been to, at least one fight breaks out near me, people are cursing and spitting and throwing things and generally being obnoxious drunks. (Perhaps you don't notice it or it just doesn't bother you.) Out of 45,000 people, you're right...a majority aren't doing it. But the ones who are doing it are unaviodable and ruin the event. Sports simply give people the feeling that they can be uncivil and disgusting and until peers and commentators (like last night) stand up to them, it will continue.

Nothing is "my bad." I've never gotten that statement. It makes no sense. Talk about BS alert.
posted by aacheson at 8:38 AM on December 18, 2001


You never heard "my bad"? How old are you? It's slang - it means "my fault - I take the heat for my mistake".
posted by starvingartist at 8:42 AM on December 18, 2001


what do you care that much about?

I've read enough of rcades posts to know the answer:

"writing self-important posts to metafilter to show what a bright little boy I am and how terrific I am compared to rabble."


Uh, jonmc ... not to interrupt your populist sneer, or antything, but if you think I'm one of the people who looks down his nose at sports fans, maybe you should give my posts another read. I watched the game. I go to NFL games. I'm rabble going back several generations.
posted by rcade at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2001


But the ones who are doing it are unaviodable and ruin the event. Sports simply give people the feeling that they can be uncivil and disgusting and until peers and commentators (like last night) stand up to them, it will continue.

I don't think that generalization is accurate.

I've gone to around 100 pro sporting events. I can only think of two occasions where obnoxious fans ruined the event -- a Cowboys/Eagles game where small groups of rival fans spent the entire game profanely taunting each other and getting into fistfights, and a Cowboys/Packers Monday night game where I had to spend a quarter talking a moron in front of me out of stepping outside with four college-age Cheeseheads who would have beaten him senseless.

Most of the time, I had a good experience with the fans around me -- lots of fathers and sons and families. Even in the cheap seats.
posted by rcade at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2001


(AP - Yahoo!) "The NFL, the Louisiana Superdome and the New Orleans Saints agree there is one way to handle fans pelting the football field with debris: Make sure they stop it! 'Whether that means the elimination of all plastic containers or if it means stiffer fines, or what I call the death penalty for season ticket-holders, we're going to do whatever it take to stop these incidents,' Superdome general manager Doug Thornton said." All right, Doug!
posted by Carol Anne at 7:58 AM on December 19, 2001


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