Toronto FC fans were misbehaving yet again Saturday in Columbus. From the Columbus Dispatch:
I am not pinning this one bit on Columbus or its fans, except to say that maybe the police should’ve done a better job of ensuring TFC fans didn’t move en masse towards Crew fans. But the rest of my criticism goes towards TFC, and their escalating fan conduct problems.
When I envision the worst possible PR incidents for MLS and American soccer, I come up with these three items:
- MLS folds
- USA fails to qualify for World Cup
- MLS fans take part in hooligan-inspired violence that causes serious injuries to other fans or the police
You’d surely agree that disasters one and two are fairly far off possibilities, but TFC is pushing us closer and closer to possibility no. 3.
TFC must immediately begin putting pressure on its supporter club leadership to stop the violence and property damage. If the supporters clubs won’t show leadership here, then TFC itself needs to begin removing their privileges to force the issue. I am not sure TFC management takes this issue seriously enough. Where is the statement? Where is the plan to work with the supporters clubs to find the guilty individuals and discipline them?
I took a quick swing by the Red Patch Boys’ forum and here are some comments from there verbatim and just because my grandparents might read it, I should warn you that some of the language is quite obscene.
The fan who threw that piece of metal off the back of the bleachers should be a) charged with a crime, and b) have his season ticket stripped and face at least a season-long ban. What happens if that railing maims or kills someone? This isn’t a slippery slope argument. This is violent and potentially lethal behavior on the part of Toronto fans.
I am sorry, this simply doesn’t happen with other teams. Chicago’s fans always travel in large numbers and I don’t think they have these kinds of continuing problems. DC fans travel everywhere and I can only think of one incident that has ever caused an injury – and the guilty party in that incident was banned immediately after being identified by other DC supporters.
The onus is now on TFC management to make clear to the supporters clubs that there will be serious consequences if violent activity and property damage continues. If TFC management is ineffective at that, then the league should involve itself.
I suspect that Saturday was as close as we’ve ever seen to someone being killed or seriously maimed at an MLS match. We cannot allow for us to get that close again.
Below are some more photos and video I found on Flickr and Youtube:
<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=68975" classid="clsid27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″>
[ame=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pN2AvgFcHA”%5DYouTube – Police at Columbus Crew and Toronto FC game[/ame]
[ame=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Clt80KpHx7c”%5DYouTube – Toronto FC Fan Being Tasered in Columbus[/ame]
Editor: And here’s Bill’s take on it.