SBD/July 12, 2013/Franchises

Red Bulls Supporter Group Rejects Team's Offer To Stop Profane Chant

Red Bulls fans could face stricter enforcement of the team's code of conduct
The Garden State Ultras (GSU), a MLS Red Bulls supporter group, have "summarily rejected" an offer from the club of $500 for every game it did not use a profane chant, according to Brian Lewis of the N.Y. POST. The GSU was one of three groups offered the monetary incentive not to chant "You Suck A------." GSU spokesperson Christopher Vidaic in a statement said, "This is our club, our city, our family. We will not be censored, we will not be bought." The other two supporter groups, Viking Army and Empire Supporters Club, could "choose to work with the front office on what appears to be a fait accompli and collect their money, while the GSU would be subject to sanctions." The ESC board has "already stated its support of the team’s effort to rid the stadium of YSA chants." Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake is "facing the same issue, and had no interest in any quid pro quo with its fans, considering ejecting any supporters that failed to comply" (NYPOST.com, 7/11). Red Bulls GM Jerome de Bontin said of the offer, "We were thinking what can we do to make our fans feel more at home in the arena and at [the] same time abide by the code of conduct. The fans are very important to the success of the club and looking at the numbers, how they are organized, what can we do to help them grow the numbers that would be meaningful to them? We need to attract more people to the different supporter groups." He added of former Red Bulls GM Erik Soler, "Maybe my predecessor didn’t pay (attention). But we have to make sure everybody abides by this code of conduct. ... If the club is going to grow and have success, we need them to stop some of the songs and chants we didn’t feel are appropriate" (NYPOST.com, 7/10).
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