49ers owner Jed York spoke at a press conference outside Candlestick Park earlier this afternoon and said he would recommend to the NFL that the 49ers-Raiders preseason series be postponed for "some period of time." This follows Tim Kawakami's report earlier today in which an NFL source indicated the series would be cancelled. In other news, tailgating will no longer be allowed during and after games at Candlestick.
I wanted to use this post to address some of the topics raised in FanPosts and comments I've seen today. First and foremost, some of the reasons for the problems. In a radio interview earlier today, Jed York discussed the issue of preseason games and how a revamped schedule (18-game schedule I'd imagine) could lessen some of these problems.
Some viewed this as a poorly-timed effort to work in the 18-game schedule, but I actually think he made a good point. While at the game I spoke with various folks who had bought tickets through StubHub and had paid pennies on the dollar to get in the stadium. Season ticket holders are forced to purchase preseason tickets and thus look to unload them for whatever they can get. This allows anybody looking to make trouble to get in cheap. Throw in the fact that less money on tickets means more money for alcohol and it's a recipe for trouble.
I'm not saying an 18-game schedule would put a stop to this violence, but fewer meaningless exhibition games would likely mean more regular season ticket holders attending the game. One issue not addressed in that argument is how many season ticket holders were getting into fights during the game. Nobody has really said anything on that at this point.
Another issue that has been raised is the idea that this somehow ends any chance the 49ers and Raiders will work together to build a joint stadium. I really don't understand this argument given the context of what a joint stadium means.
People seem to think that with a joint stadium, Raiders fans might be more likely to show up at 49ers games and vice versa just because the facility is in the same place. Can someone explain why this is more likely when the Raiders already struggle to get their fans to their own games? The teams would generally be playing home games on opposite Sundays, and even if they were home the same week, it would most likely be one team on Sunday and one team in prime time. Why would this mean Raiders fans would suddenly want to spend face value or more to get into the 49ers game?
Additionally, Saturday's violence was seemingly highlighted by some Raiders fans, but 49ers fans were also involved. I saw at least two 49ers fans arrested and hauled out for starting something. There's also some video of a 49ers-Raiders fight that eventually turned into two 49ers fans swinging at each other. People that are going to cause problems are going to act up no matter their allegiance.
It's a shame they are canceling this preseason series and it might be an overreaction to what was hopefully an isolated incident. At the same time, it's not a surprising response. It often is the actions of a few idiots that hurts the majority of law-abiding people. I remain hopefully the parties responsible will be caught and punished for this nonsense.