December 22, 2007

Journalist: The NFL's No Game for a Family: Dick Meyer in today's Washington Post: "My son and I braved frigid, remote FedEx Field to see our beloved Chicago Bears, the fallen Super Bowl champions, humiliated 24-16 by the struggling Washington Redskins. It wasn't the depth of our despair that will keep us away from football stadiums for good but the depravity of the fans. I suppose depravity is a strong word. But what better describes drunken adult men, egged on by other grown beer-swillers, belly-shouting the most spectacular obscenities imaginable as they stand next to a 13-year-old boy? Every play was a competition to produce a more vile insult or a different suggestion about which Bear body part might be stuffed up which orifice. ... Within 10 minutes of kickoff, I knew I had made a terrible mistake taking my son to the game."

posted by rcade to football at 10:46 AM - 25 comments

We had the same sort of discussion previously which was quite an eye opener for me. What I thought would be a condemnation on oafish conduct turned out to be quite different with several opinions not only ok with it but placing the blame on those complaining. So I don't really see this changing. If enough fans are ok with stadiums and parks turning into just another version of their local strip club / bar then then this will become the norm and not the exception.

posted by justgary at 11:17 AM on December 22, 2007

I took my oldest son to a Jags game and had an experience similar to Meyer's, absent the scantily clad teens. The guys right behind us were drunk when the game began and spent the entire game railing on a visiting Falcons' fan with profanity and insults. I kept an eye on the fan, like his antagonists in his 20s or early 30s, expecting it might lead to a fistfight. Maybe we should have sprung for better seats, but it was no place to take kids. The NFL attracts too many drunken assholes. I've seen fights break out in the stands at Cowboys games before. When you couple this with the fact that seats and parking and food are ridiculously expensive, it gets easier all the time to stay home.

posted by rcade at 12:26 PM on December 22, 2007

The NFL attracts too many drunken assholes. I've seen fights break out in the stands at Cowboys games before. I used to go to Buffalo Bills games with my father back in the early 1990s but we went to our last game after the Dolphins beat them one time. There were multiple fights in the stands, drunken brawls outside the stadium, and leaving the parking lot was a dicey proposition. It's not worth the hassle/price/travel to see an NFL game with the drunken rowdiness in the stands.

posted by grum@work at 12:39 PM on December 22, 2007

Sounds like football now is like soccer was in the 70's in the UK. My Dad would never take me to a game because of the crap that went on in the terraces. The NFL will pay the price for not cracking down on this. Attendances will start to drop as people get pissed off dealing with this shit. Same thing happened in the UK before the clubs turned it around. So how do baseball games stand up in comparison? I would assume they're much more sedate affairs, given baseball doesn't attract the same drunk neanderthal demographic that football does. (NOTE: Given the way some people go off on here, I should point out I am not implying all football fans are drunk neanderthals. Nor that all drunk neanderthals are football fans. Merry Christmas.)

posted by Drood at 12:50 PM on December 22, 2007

Makes Philly fans seem sedate eh? I am a lover of both beer and football(and baseball for that matter) but never have I behaved as described here. I am also a Philadelphian, which of course means I have to be an asshole. I remember going to games with my old man and being horrified at "grown-ups" behavior, and promising myself to never behave as such. Its one thing to heartily deride the opposition and boo and have some fun. It's a totally different matter when violence, racial epithets, sexual innuendo and other inappropriate behavior occurs. People are stupid and rude. Almost all of them. Smart people with manners unite!! The next time we are at a game, stage an up-rising and quash the drunken idiots with force. Or would that make us just like them?

posted by GoBirds at 01:35 PM on December 22, 2007

This article is more entertaining if you imagine it being read aloud by Stewie from the Family Guy.

posted by aupa_athletic at 01:40 PM on December 22, 2007

Do any of you perhaps more mature or seasoned sports fans remember a time when we would have a beer (or maybe 3-4) at a game and actually be more fun than rude? Certainly I would complain about calls that didn't go my teams way and I would boisterously cheer the home team on, but I wouldn't cheer for the opponents possible injury. My friends and I were aware that this was another human being, and while I wished his team to lose, I also looked forward to the next game our teams meet. And vulgarity was out of the question. For one, I enjoy the company of the opposite sex and experience and common knowledge taught me that a foul mouth was a good way to distance yourself from them. And stadium officials at games I attended were quick to put a cap on that sort of idiocy. When we found fans sitting amongst us who were below the standards of sporting decorum, they would be encouraged in a non-violent but none the less clear way that it was time to pipe down. I'm certainly no saint, but when I drink I don't become a boor. At least according to all reports. I say report the idiots to security immediately and try to garner support from the other polite fans around you to discourage the moronic behavior. We paid good money for the chance to see a game, maybe with our families in tow, and we have the right to a fun environment. Scream, Yell, Hoot, Holler. Just be decent.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:56 PM on December 22, 2007

I, too, often go to Ralph Wilson Stadium to see the Bills, having gone to hundreds of games in the past few decades. It's not difficult for me to go and have a good time with my friends, but I'd never take a child under the age of 16. Some of the fans get so freakin' polluted they can barely walk into the stadium. They stand in the game, screaming obscenities, falling down, and the few that actually fall and crack their heads open or pass out are usually met with a rousing ovation. And, sad to say, I would NEVER wear the jersey or whatever of the opposing team, because I've seen everything possible thrown at such people, plus semi-violent assaults. There have been times where I've given my tickets away, just not being in the mood to deal with all the assholes. I would much rather go to a baseball game any day of the week, because it is generally a much more laid-back atmosphere. My daughter enjoys going to PNC Park, and I have never had anything but a great experience.

posted by dyams at 02:03 PM on December 22, 2007

Rude behavior that happens at football games mirror the decay of decorum in society in general. Just yesterday I was out shopping, went into the checkout lane and was being checked out. A sixty-seventy something guy proceeded to ram his shopping cart right into my behind and started piling his stuff all atop mine without putting down a separation bar. A polite request by me for him to back up and separate his stuff was ignored, the checkout girl and I had to do the separation and monitoring, her and I was in such a rush to clear my stuff out that she double rung two of my items (I did not realize it until after I got home), and forgot to put one small item into my bags (I also realized once I got home). Needless to say, I was enraged when I realized the mistakes and what had caused them and had visions of punching the old man out to teach him a lesson. Of course, if I had punched him, I would have been arrested and may have seriously injured him. In the end I made the right choice. If decent people are to take back society (including football games, and don't kid yourself, baseball and basketball games also), change has to start with kids. The guy that went to the Redskins game to see his Bears with his son should have used the rude behavior that he saw around him to instruct his son on what proper decorum is and why it is important. Kids that have been trained to behave properly turn into adults that behave themselves in public, the issue is in simply about increasing the numbers of them.

posted by Cave_Man at 02:33 PM on December 22, 2007

I agree. My wife and I went to see the Yankees play Boston in NY and it was embarrassing the way the crowd behaved. Going to a sports event is not supposed to be an occasion for public drunkeness. I suggest they stop selling alcohol completely at the games and try to make them what they used to be: a family event. Of course they'd have to lower those ticket prices (driven by the ridiculously high salaries these athletes are receiving). I've noticed quite a few half empty stadiums during regular season NFL games this year. Maybe they'll get the message.

posted by daveny5 at 04:04 PM on December 22, 2007

Out of 60-70,000 fans in a stadium, how many of them are these bleating drunkards? I'd guess maybe 500 (at least in Jacksonville Memorial Stadium, where I attend Jaguars games). If we have someone that gets too obnoxious, we report them to security. (Profanity IS against the rules, you know)

posted by yardbird67 at 04:18 PM on December 22, 2007

My son and I went to a game at Gillette Stadium a couple of years ago. Neither he nor I can remember any serious profanity, rude behavior, drunkeness, or anything else that detracted from the enjoyment of the game. To the contrary, the fans in our area were cheering, high-fiving, hugging (even strangers), and generally having a grand time. There were several fans of the visiting team a few rows behind us. There were no derogatory comments directed at them. In short, the Kraft family runs a tight ship at Gillette. This is possible when the team owns the stadium, rather than playing in a publicly owned facility, where security is handled by someone other than the team. There have been several incidents of fans at Gillette having their season tickets pulled for rowdy behavior, even when it was not the ticket holder using the seats at that particular time. My son tells me that Beaver Stadium at Penn State is far more rowdy than Gillette. He also says that a visiting fan has a less than even chance of getting out of the Ohio State stadium alive (but then, that's his opinion).

posted by Howard_T at 04:22 PM on December 22, 2007

So how do baseball games stand up in comparison? I would assume they're much more sedate affairs, given baseball doesn't attract the same drunk neanderthal demographic that football does. Usually (at least by our seats) the people around us are fine, but sometimes you can get the group of people who only go to a few games a year and see them as an opportunity to get plastered and act like assholes.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:23 PM on December 22, 2007

So how do baseball games stand up in comparison? I would assume they're much more sedate affairs, given baseball doesn't attract the same drunk neanderthal demographic that football does. I go to about 4 games a year in various cities (Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston) and I've never seen anything like this. I know it happens (ex. Boston/Yankee game) but I doubt it's the problem football seems to have.

posted by justgary at 04:55 PM on December 22, 2007

My son and I went to a game at Gillette Stadium a couple of years ago. Neither he nor I can remember any serious profanity, rude behavior, drunkeness, or anything else that detracted from the enjoyment of the game. Yeah, I'd have to agree. And when I've gone to Gillette or Foxboro, I've been wearing a Jets Jersey. I get the occasional "fuck you" or "you suck" (and once someone wanted to do nasty things to my mom) but in no way have I ever felt threatened. I've been to Jets away games at San Diego, Arizona, San Francisco, Washington D.C. (wearing my Jets jersey in a sea of Redskins fans - like the author), Miami and L.A. (Rams and Raiders) and I've always worn my Jets jersey. And only once did I ever feel threatened: At the end of the Raider game (whose fans seemed to consist of gangbangers and ex-cons) when the Raiders scored a TD on the last play of the game to win. My point is that wearing the opposing team's jersey makes me a target. And though there is some booing and finger pointing, it's just razzing the other team. And when I've been to Jets home games, I've been in the immediate vicinity of many fans of the opposing teams. The worst thing I've seen? A season ticket holder run crying to the usher because a woman rooting for the Bills was too loud and obnoxious. Oh, the horror. I don't doubt the veracity of the fellow spofite's postings above, and I do realize that my stories are my personal experiences, nothing more. But I certainly do question the veracity of the journalist. He wouldn't be the first to exaggerate to give his story a little more juice.

posted by cjets at 05:51 PM on December 22, 2007

Most of the baseball games I went to last year (Miller Park) were fine, but sometimes (especially in the bleachers) you'd get a group of drunks together who decided it was a crime to not do the wave or hilarious to start swearing at the mom with her kids. Fortunately, there are sections of the stadium that don't allow drinking.

posted by drezdn at 09:49 PM on December 22, 2007

This problem is happening all over the league. I have been a season ticket holder for the 49ers for 25 years. It used to be I would never see a fight at a game. Now it is unusual when I don't see at least one fight during the game. What is causing this is a relection of what society has become. It is now acceptable for all the trash talking and profanity that we hear from the younger generation. When you add alcohol to the mix it gets out of hand. As the younger generation starts becoming the predominant age goup in stadiums these issuses will become more and more prevalent.

posted by patrickm at 02:09 AM on December 23, 2007

I don't think it's fair to hang this on young people. I attended lots of Cowboy games in the first half of the '90s and boorish behavior was commonplace. At Jags games, some of the idiots are in their 30s or 40s. To be honest, part of the reason this continues to happen is because the fans in the majority don't complain. I didn't tell the ushers about the fans behind me who were spoiling for a fight at Jags/Falcons this year. Didn't call the team to complain either.

posted by rcade at 09:22 AM on December 23, 2007

I refuse to go to any Cubs-Cardinals games at Busch Stadium anymore. Fist fights broke out at two of the games I attended and the ushers were so worthless they didn't even kick the guilty parties out of the stadium. The rivalry just attracts a special kind of stupid.

posted by cardsfan at 03:13 PM on December 23, 2007

A few years ago, I worked at Raymond James Stadium during Bucs games as a fundraiser for my college . And I quickly stopped being shocked at how drunk and obnoxious fans got (though in fairness to the NFL, I think that's more of the Bucs, because since the Culverhouse days, the Buccaneers have been marketed as a reason to come out and drink). As for the NFL games, should we really be surprised that they've become scenes for fans to become drunken idiots? The league markets itself as a huge frat party, complete with the Official Beer of the NFL™! and stripper whores, er, um, cheerleaders! So that's the attitude that the NFL is going to try and attract. Compare, with say, baseball, who tends to market itself with nostalgia (how many advertisements for baseball season featured a child in them? Was I the only one who noticed that?) for summer and simpler times (which is partly why I think MLB is getting hammered so much now-people still value the old numbers). As for the solution, it was all ready hit on by a couple of people in the forum. One, beer-free sections (the Family section, as it's known in Ray-J), and when it starts affecting the bottom line, then the league will crack down on it (at least as hard as they are now cracking down on the players).

posted by Bonkers at 04:24 PM on December 23, 2007

rcade you are right there are some obnoxious rude fans in their 30's and 40's and probably some in their 50's. But the problem is primarily with fans in their 20's who think going to football games is all about getting drunk in the parking lot before or during the game and talking trash to fans of the other team who come out to root for their team. And that is just not right. I have known Raider fans that have said it was the other guys fault and it was OK to pour beer all over them because they wore the other teams colors. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

posted by patrickm at 07:36 AM on December 24, 2007

I think the problem has two sources. It begins with a few genuinely antisocial individuals who delight in boorish behavior; it gains steam from a great many otherwise sensible individuals who would normally find such behavior shameful and embarrassing, but who have been persuaded through marketing images to believe instead that oafishness is cool and that it will be met with approval and affirmation. Alcohol makes the situation much worse, by destroying judgment and inhibitions. When a stadium has "gone bad", it's too much to expect that the problem will be solved by decent fans standing up in an atmosphere of verbal abuse and physical threats. You need to tell the ownership that you won't be going back, and why you won't be going back -- and you need also to let ownership know that you're letting others know of your experiences. There are stories told of the old Foxboro Stadium that are far from pretty. The Krafts turned things around. It can be done, but not without a commitment from the owners.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:22 AM on December 24, 2007

But the problem is primarily with fans in their 20's who think going to football games is all about getting drunk in the parking lot before or during the game and talking trash to fans of the other team who come out to root for their team posted by patrickm at 7:36 AM CST on December 24 I agree with this only half-heartedly patrickm, Yes there are plenty of twenty somethings gettin drunk and feeling invincible at some games, but my experiences do not push the blame on that age group solely. (or primarily, as you say). I live in St. Louis, and I have attended only a handful of games since the Rams moved here in 1995. Each time we chose to park in the "tailgaters" lot - to enjoy the food, of course. People arrive early in the A.M. and start tieing one on as soon as the gear shift hits Park. These are folks that drive in with their $80,000 RVs and big screen SAT TVs, BBQ pits and full liquor cabinets. And thats at 7 a.m. Believe me, I like to tailgate before NFL or NCAA games, and I might enjoy a beer here and there, but there are people in every age group who do not know "when to say when". I guess I'm fortunate to not have witnessed any behavior too vulgar or offensive. But I understand how all of this could take place in any city, with any fan. I look forward to enjoying Rams, Blues and Cardinal games with my kids so I hope my luck doesn't run out. I wish good clean sportsmanship to you all, and I'm glad Spofi seems to be filled with decent sports fans who look to enjoy the game and not the full service bars provided by the organizations.

posted by BoKnows at 03:47 PM on December 24, 2007

Never had a problem at any Cardinal games, however some fans got out of control at Mizzou/Kansas game at Arrowhead. A lot of cursing and baiting (not good natured ribbing) the other teams fans. I must admit my son was probably one of the worse (the kid could never drink and doesn't know when to stop) and embarrassed me to no end. However, at 25 I couldn't very well spank him front of the crowd, but boy did I want to. Overall, I say I've not witness that much at the Rams, Blues or Cardinal games throughout the years and I probably attend maybe 40 games between the three.

posted by Nakeman at 04:58 PM on December 24, 2007

I went to see the first-ever game at Ravens Stadium (can't be bothered to remember who bought the naming rights, and even if I could, I wouldn't want to give them free advertising). We took a booze bus from a bar called The Judge's Bench in Ellicott City, and my buddy and I instigated a beer-can shotgun competition (judged on speed, overall quantity, and grace) which I of course won. My buddy tackled me down the bus steps and onto the pavement of the Pigtown parking lot, and while the rest of the bus tailgated, he and I wrestled, giggled, and popped one another in the head with full beer cans. By the time we got to the game, we were loaded, half-concussed, and ready for a snooze, which the Ravens obliginly gave us in the form of a 3-0 victory. I don't remember who they beat. The game was so dull that I never even thought of swearing at the top of my voice or pouring my beer cup, emptied and refilled with urine, on the usher. I learned foul language as a kid going to Memorial Stadium to see the Orioles: a row of big-bellied men with a big cooler filled with beer (not cans or bottles, just beer sloshing around inside. They sidestepped the ballpark container laws, using the spigot to pour increasingly flat beer into dixie cups they brought from home) sat a few rows behind us (Section 39, Row 11 or 12) and used language colorful enough to fire my preadolescent imagination. I went to a friendly soccer game at RFK a few years ago between DC United and Newcastle United, and, finding myself standing next to an Englishman during the national anthems, belted out "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" over "God Save The Queen." His jaw dropped, so I winked and said, "We mean it, man!" and then asked him if he thought we'd see Shearer play. When the first Tynesider took a dive, rolling around in his black and white stripes clutching a phantom sprain, my brother stood up and shouted, "Go back to Footlocker!" I bring this up not to say that any one sport sponsors more or less foul-mouthed, coarse, or violent fan behavior than any other, but to illustrate the difference in behavior at games we care about or that matter in the standings from behavior at friendlies or laughers or novelty matches. And also to show how much fun it can be to come up with taunts and ribs that aren't obscene or threatening. Though those stevedores in Section 39 really taught me quite a bit about proper swearing, for which I thank the fat limpdick ratfuck bums. Violence is another thing: absolutely unacceptable.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:05 AM on December 27, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.