In sports there are fans who the teams rely on to show support by attending games, buying merchandise and even trash-talking with the fans of rival teams.
Sometimes the trash-talking can escalate to violence, like the incident that happened after the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Opening Day victory against their rival the San Francisco Giants. After the game, Giants fan Bryan Stow was brutally attacked by what is assumed to be two Dodger fans in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.
“Bryan Stow remains in a medically induced coma with half his skull removed to allow his injured brain to swell. He was slammed to the ground while walking through the Dodger parking lot, then repeatedly kicked in the head,” said Toni Richards, contributor to the Los Angeles Times.
However, this is not an isolated incident and violence is not something that just Dodger fans are known for; fan violence occurs across America and is becoming a growing issue.
On the same evening as the violence at Dodger Stadium, a fan was thrown out of Staples Center during the Los Angeles Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks after a short melee erupted on the court during the fourth quarter.
One of the worst incidents in recent memory was during a 2010 NFL game in Cleveland where an 8-year-old boy wearing a New York Jets jersey was tackled by a Browns fan while leaving the stadium after the game.
Trash-talking is a perfectly acceptable form of supporting your team; it happens on the court, the field, the ice, the diamond, or wherever your favorite team is playing, it is part of the competitive nature of sports, but that trash-talking cannot boil over into violence.
It hurts the overall image of sports to have radical fans that take things over the edge when it comes to supporting their team; it becomes less of a family event and more of a health risk.
If the violence between fans continues, then the emotion and excitement of attending sports games will be replaced with fear and empty seats very quickly.