SBD/August 22, 2011/Franchises

Violence Breaks Out At Raiders-49ers Game At Candlestick Park

S.F. police "were seeking witnesses Sunday to the shooting of two men and the severe beating of a third in a restroom at Candlestick Park, as city and league officials condemned a rash of attacks and brawls that marred the annual preseason football game between the Raiders and 49ers," according to Asimov & Newton of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Video footage of fights between fans at the stadium "popped up on YouTube, showing a chaotic and dangerous scene." Police said that shortly after the fourth quarter ended, a man wearing a "F- the 49ers" T-shirt "was shot several times in the stomach in the stadium parking lot." He "was initially listed in critical condition." The second shooting victim, who "suffered superficial wounds to his face, was shot in a separate area of the parking lot." The beating victim "was knocked unconscious in an upstairs restroom during the game." Police "defended the level of security at the stadium." S.F. Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak said that city officers "join 49ers staff to provide security at all games, but typically add extra officers when the team plays the Raiders, due to the rivalry." The 49ers issued a statement "calling the violence 'disquieting' and pledging, with the NFL, to cooperate with law enforcement." Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask called the incidents "not acceptable" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/22). Trask added the majority of the team's supporters are "terrific people and terrific fans." Trask: "I'm aware of the perception, and I don't believe the perception is the reality. Stereotypes are insidious." An NFL spokesperson said that the league "deplored the actions of a few fans and was reviewing the incident" (L.A. TIMES, 8/22).

SAFETY ISSUES: In Oakland, Kaplan & Maher note the outbreak of violence "heightened concerns about security at stadiums that first arose about five months ago" when MLB Giants fan Bryan Stow was "severely beaten by two men in Los Angeles Dodgers gear outside Dodger Stadium." The 49ers would not comment on security yesterday, but issued a statement saying they will work with police "in any way possible to understand how and why this happened" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 8/22). In S.F., Scott Ostler writes under the header, "NFL Must Act Quickly To Tamp Down Fan Violence." Ostler: "Whatever the security at the game, it wasn't enough. You can't have owners making billions of dollars, players making millions of dollars, and fans bleeding and dying because the league and individual teams aren't devoting enough resources to security" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/22). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami writes, "We can definitely agree that it's worth reviewing whether the mix of 49ers and Raiders fans at this annual exhibition game -- at night, with many long-term ticket-holders of both teams staying at home -- is too combustible to continue. At the very least, the teams can agree to play the game next year during the day, damn the TV ratings, if they play it at all" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/22). 

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