So this weekend a bunch of moronic Red Bulls fans decided it would be a good idea to throw rocks at a bus full of Unions fans as they left Red Bull Arena on their back to Pennsylvania. One close-range volley managed to crack a bus window a photo of which was subsequently published by Philly.com.
I’ll leave it to Fanhouse’s Brian Straus to explain just how stupid this kind of faux-hoolie violence is.
The problem is that this kind of “play time” plays into one of the most pernicious myths of the American soccer skeptic – that one that says that you’ll “be killed by rioting hooligans” if you go to a soccer match – whether in Harrison or Harare. What you really don’t want as a fan of American soccer is some kind of incident or injury leading to a full week of soccer violence columns and TV segments by guys like Tony Kornheiser, Mike & Mike, Jay Mariotti, Skip Bayless calling the sport and its fans a “dangerous foreign element.”
Of course, that’s both factually wrong and utterly hypocritical when combined with American sports’ long tradition of drunken violence, misbehavior, and projectile vomiting. But while the American sports media at large are happy to overlook that part of American sports (primarily football), they will never hesitate to jump on the easy column inches and easy sanctimony that comes with a “SOCCER CAN KILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY” column.
That’s why it’s so important for fans and clubs to make it so totally clear that the kind of misbehavior we’ve seen last weekend in NY and also in Toronto must be stamped out firmly and quickly. Fans need to understand just how dangerous even a little bit of violence is to this league and the sport in this country. If fans want to see soccer succeed in the United States, they need to take responsibility and take a stake in the fact even a little bit of violence causes enormous harm to the sport’s cause here. In fact, MLS can consider itself hugely lucky that the worst, most-ill behaved set of fans is located in Toronto, rather than in the US. Imagine if a group of boozed up Revs fans had torn apart a T trolley* much in the same manner that TFC fans tore apart a Go Train a few years back? It would’ve ended in a significant black eye for the league and the sport in the US.
That’s why its so important that clubs and supporters clubs police their own. According to Straus, one of the Red Bulls’ rock throwers has outed himself (behind a handle) on Bigsoccer. The ESC and/or other RB fans need to step up here, identify the guy publicly and move to ban him from Red Bull games and from those in any other stadium. This is not a “don’t snitch” situation. If you’re a fan of the Red Bulls and are serious about this sport becoming successful in America, it’s your responsibility to turn the rock throwers in.
Red Bulls fans, you need to get these idiots out of your ranks and you need to do it right now.
*Revs fans, please allow me the rhetorical conceit of imagining a world where one could get anywhere near Foxboro on the T. Sorry.