SBD/August 30, 2011/Franchises

NFL Exec Praises Raiders' Game Day Security After Sunday's Preseason Game

NFL Senior VP/Government Affairs Jeff Miller attended Sunday night's Saints-Raiders preseason game at O.co Coliseum and he "praised Raiders security, saying the game-day environment is much better than it was in 2008," according to Vittorio Tafur of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Miller said, "Over here in Oakland, they have done a real nice job, improving the way they deploy their resources in the parking lot and engage with the fans in the lots. I was out there with a lot of fans and many of them said, 'Hey, we really like the fact that the police come in and out of each aisle and talk with us and interact with us.'" He credited Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask, "all the staff with the Raiders and the stadium personnel who have taken this really seriously." Miller added, "From where it was to where it is now is a long way." He also indicated that the NFL might "take all seven months to decide whether or not to approve the 49ers' recommendation to suspend the 49ers-Raiders preseason series." Miller said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "is not looking to force" the 49ers to play the Raiders next preseason. Miller: "Maybe it doesn't get played next year, I don't know. But ultimately the teams are going to play each other in the future" (SFGATE.com, 8/29).

PICTURE THIS
: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio noted Trask has "circulated a series of photos showing fans with family members and babies enjoying Sunday night's game." Trask wrote in an e-mail to the media, "Now, those of you who regularly attend our home games know that this is not aberrational -- it is the norm. That said, in light of the recent attention on the family friendly nature of sports facilities, I thought it important to send some new photographs -- from our most recent game." Trask added, "None of these pictures were taken in our Club Sections or our Suites -- these are fans throughout the stadium." Florio wrote the images "definitely provide a different context" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 8/29). The league also released photos from Sunday's game yesterday, and NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello wrote on Twitter, "Perception + reality, often not the same." In a USA TODAY sports section cover story, Robert Klemko notes the NFL "introduced a fan Code of Conduct in 2008 with an evolving list of best practices for stadiums and a committee to oversee it." The committee conducts "fan surveys and weekly audits of every franchise, issuing grades at the end of each season." Miller said that since '08, the league "has seen incident reports and ejections rise and arrests drop, indicating the problem is being 'nipped in the bud.'" But Miller added the violence at the Aug. 20 Raiders-49ers preseason game is "a clear sign that even though we do a lot, we need to do more -- and we will do more." Levick Strategic Communications Senior VP Jason Maloni, whose DC-based crisis management firm works with athletes and clubs, said that social media "makes us more aware of these incidents." Following the Raiders-49ers "fiasco, dozens of videos emerged on YouTube and other websites depicting fans trading blows in the stands, stadium corridors and parking lots" (USA TODAY, 8/30).

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BAY: 49ers President Jed York yesterday discussed the status of the 49ers-Raiders preseason series and said the S.F.P.D. told him the "only way that they really think it can be played is during the day." York: "Our recommendation to the NFL has been, ‘Let's postpone it for a few years. Let's try to work on things with the Raiders.' ... The ball’s in the NFLs court and they’ll make a final decision because the only team we choose to play against in the preseason every year is San Diego.” CSNBayArea.com's Matt Steinmetz asked if there was “no evidence” that the people causing the most trouble were not attending the game, “why was it necessary from your standpoint to take the step” to cancel the series. York: “When you have two fan bases that are so close to each other, you have issues that exist amongst, not necessarily the fan bases, but really between folks that can come out to a preseason game where you can buy a ticket very cheap on StubHub or something like that. You come out to a game, that's not the element that you want at your game. ... the people that are just coming to create trouble. That seems to happen more often when the two teams play each other than when we play anybody else” ("Chronicle Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area," 8/29).
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