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How Fans Are Ruining Sports

Updated on February 19, 2013

Fans are a driving force for all sports events around the world. They are not only the important source of revenue but the lifeblood of a team or athlete. Their undying support is what makes makes most sports organizations strive to succeed. Without this fan base, sports cannot exist.

However, there are hardcore fans in the sportsworld, who take their support to extreme levels. These are the knuckleheads or hooligans, who bring violence and mayhem wherever they go, and the ones responsible for reeking havoc at stadiums, arenas, and cities around the country. They are the ones who make security nervous at all venues and make safety a big concern for all fans at a sporting event.

These are the fans who are ruining sports!



Recent photo of SF Giants Fan Bryan Stow
Recent photo of SF Giants Fan Bryan Stow | Source

Fan's Safety

Safety is the number 1 concern at all sports venues. After the beating of Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium by two Dodger fans last April, security at all stadiums and arenas is at an all-time high. One can imagine what an enormous task it is for any security team and law enforcement officials to manage a stadium or arena with an upwards of 30,000 to 90,000 people. Coupled in with fans drinking large amounts of alcohol, the task becomes even more daunting and the concern for the safety of all fans becomes a major issue.

It's suprising why some families who bring children subject themselves to ballparks and arenas where fans are often heard using profanity, yelling at officials, and taunting other fans of a rival team. Oh, and good luck, if an individual tries to go to a stadium or arena wearing a jersey from a rival team. Prepare yourself for ridicule and taunts from fans of the home team. In most cases, this "lonely individual" might find himself or herself in a fight with home team supporters.

Stadium or arena security is not only the main concern. Areas outside the venue or in the downtown area are also a safety concern where large intoxicated crowds gather in celebration of a victory or in frustration after a loss. The scene where massive crowds gather with little or no security often ends in violence, rioting, vandalism, and looting.

"The Malice at the Palace"
"The Malice at the Palace" | Source

Player's Safety

So many times, a player's safety on the field or on the basketball court has been put into question because of on-rushing fans storming the court after a victory. Scenes of Larry Bird pushing through fans to get to the locker room at Boston Garden after a title win and football fans storming the field after a great victory are vivid reminders that athletes can be in harm's way at any sporting event.

Recent events of athletes being attacked by fans has become a common sight. The most notable was the "Malice at the Palace" in 2004 that involved fans and two NBA teams the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers. The melee between fans and players led to fighting in the stands that resulted in the arrests of fans, player suspensions, and an NBA policy banning players for fighting on the court and limiting the sale of alcohol at arenas.

In 1993, top-ranked tennis player Monica Seles was stabbed in the back from a deranged fan at a tournament in front of stunned spectators in Hamburg, Germany. The stabbing not only changed security measures at "smaller sports" but it showed that all athletes, not only team sports, are vulnerable to fan violence.

Penn State riot
Penn State riot | Source

Recent Events

Recent events involving fan violence occurred at Penn State University when fans and supporters rioted after football coach Joe Paterno was fired from the team. At the recent Stanley Cup finals between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, fans in downtown Vancouver took out their frustration after a loss by destroying businesses and property in the area. During an NFL exhibition game between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers this past August, one man was badly beaten and two men were shot at in the parking lot in two separate incidents.

Soccer-related violence is also a problem around the world. With fanatics following their teams around the world, violence is common in the World's most popular sport. Recently, soccer-related violence claimed the lives of 7 people during a match in Morrocco this past September. This past April, in Punjab, India, a player was killed at a stadium and 9 men were arrested. In addition, recent rioting at soccer matches have occurred in Belgium, Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, Australia, and Turkey. Furthermore, the game sparks fan violence in Africa, Central and South America, most European countries, and the United Kingdom.

Fan violence is not only regulated to college and pro sports but to youth sports as well. Parents of Pee Wee football players and Little League players could be classified as fans of these youngsters and news stories of them brawling amongst themselves or with officials or with coaches is nothing new. Two recent incidents occurred in Castle Rock, Colorado (July 2011) and Sharpsburgh, Maryland (August 2011) when the former had 6 adults involved in a brawl and the latter involved parents pushing and shoving game officials and shouting gay and racial slurs!

Founders of Bleacher Report
Founders of Bleacher Report | Source

Social Network/blogs

Social network/blogs is a place where fans and anonymous supporters go to voice their praise or their displeasure of an athlete or favorite team in a "G-rated" setting. The team blogs were really meant for their loyal fans who they can voice their opinions but in a positive manner. That has not been the case in recent years.

National sports blogs (like Deadspin, SB Nation, and Bleacher Report) are popular around the nation but the forum gets livelier and animated when it is a regional team's fan page. Blogs devoted to the fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Roll Bama Roll), USC Trojans (We Are SC), Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Irish Eyes), and University of Hawaii (Sportshawaii) often find themselves being infiltrated by "haters" (aka "Trolls,") who go out of their way to spew venom on the blogs.

The anonymous supporter pretends to be a fan of the team but he or she spits out negative comments either in a subtle way or in a no-holds barred manner. This rogue fan is not a supporter of the team and doesn't care what other devotees think. This individuals's main mission is to post hate or create a disruptive thread or go against the "home team" in anyway possible.

This person may be banned from the blog but he or she would spawn another identity and return to the fan page eventually. Haters infilitrate not only the College blogs but the professional sports team websites as well. These pretenders spew hate on websites belonging to the Los Angeles Lakers, New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Dodgers, and many other teams. It's not uncommon to find a Celtics fan spewing hate on the Lakers blog or a Dodgers' fan trolling on the San Francisco Giants forum.

Fan websites were never meant to have any negative comments or in-fighting among fans but the anonymity of the internet makes it a breeding ground for haters.

Oh, how times have changed.

Fan violence erupts in Argentina during a soccer match
Fan violence erupts in Argentina during a soccer match | Source

The Future of Hardcore Fanatics

There is a fan being born every minute in this world. Whether they come from a third world country or an industralized one, fans are everywhere in the rural areas, in the suburbs, and in the cities.

As for the hardcore fanatics, there is no such profile that can determine how these individuals turn out to be extreme and violent fans. Many hooligans come from different backgrounds (poor, middle-class, wealthy) but they have one thing in common---extreme loyalty to their team or athlete.

Their entire life is based on the fate of their team and their emotions sway from the highs of victory to the lows of defeat. Law Enforcement officials are often on standby when a big sports event is around either at the stadium/arenas or on television. It is not uncommon when domestic violence occurs at the same time a major sports event is on television, ending up with an exasperated fan taking out their frustrations on their spouse/partner.

Despite people's busy lives, these fanatics continue to thrive and worship their favorite team or athletes. Most of these fans are unyielding in their loyalty and it comes to a point that some develop irrational behavior when associated with their teams.

These irrational fans are the ones who make safety at stadiums/arenas/and other areas a nightmare for other fans, security, and law enforcement officials.

These deranged fans are indeed the "terrorists" of the sporting world and nothing can be done to stop them from infliciting violence and disaster.


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