[This is a video taken by a fan that will put you in the middle of one of the many fights taking place. The mysterious crackling noise is in fact a taser gun being used to subdue the suspects.]
Violence ensued at Candlestick Park during the second preseason game featuring the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. The heated tension between the bay area rivals reached a level it should have never seen this past Saturday, except it was the fans who brought it there. A number of the attendees took what should have been a meaningless preseason game and turned it into a hostile riot.
Beside the violent 4-man melee that's been displayed all over Sportscenter, guns were drawn and people were hospitalized. One of the victims was a 24-year-old 49ers fan, who was shot four times in the stomach in the parking lot. His father was on ESPN pleading to the fan nation for harmony at ball games again.
Soon after, San Francisco 49ers President Jed York addressed anyone who has immediate plans to be a visitor of Candlestick Park. York placed a request to Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL to nullify the annual preseason bout between his 49ers and their bay rival. In addition to that, he declared the end of tailgating after kickoff and a no tolerance policy regarding ill behavior, stating "Public safety is our top priority."
As a lifetime 49ers fan, I am embarrassed and feel the penalty given by York was warranted. Numerous fights erupted all over the venue, and even two men were wounded by gunfire at what most would consider to be a family venue on any other day. At least when San Francisco was losing games, we could say we were a classy organization.
The fact of the matter is, we've been brought down a notch after the savagery that took place at Candlestick last weekend. Police reported a rough estimate of 70 ejections from the stadium on the day; more than tripling the league average of 20. The shameful events will no doubt bring forth a campaign for stadium security upgrades.
The gang violence that spilled into the ball park that day is not going unpunished and will not be soon forgotten. All of the aggression should be left to the players on the field, to unite the crowd. Hopefully the NFL and Jed York make the appropriate adjustments to prevent an incident like this from happening again. And as individuals, we can do our part by swallowing our pride and being more passive in tense situations.
When the level of threat is death at an NFL game, changes need to be made. There could be a tremendous ripple effect in the league's policies, as they are in the midst of restructuring the technical side of the game. And because such a line was crossed, it will likely mean more security and less rights for fans attending the games. It would seem that both the league and the fans have some thinking to do after last weekends chaotic events.
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