An ugly scene in Columbus (and it’s time for the streamers to go)

As you may have heard by now, things got a tad messy at the Columbus Crew-New England Revolution match. Some overzealous Crew fans, and some folks attending the game who don’t deserve the label of fans, decided it was a good idea to through foreign objects ranging from water bottles to a lit flare, at Revs players.

As much as I wish that was the extent of the ugliness, it wasn’t. One game attendee crossed the line of all human decency by dropping a racial slur at Revs forward Kheli Dube after he scored the eventual game-winning goal. here is the video (be warned, there is some adult language):

Needless to say, the "fan" who can be heard on this video clip is an idiot, but this moron’s ignorance should not be used to paint Columbus fans with a broad brush, or signal that there is now some larger problem at hand (though I’m sure the anti-soccer crowd is lining up to use this scene to portray everthing wrong with soccer).

What is definitely a problem is the league’s policy toward allowing fans to throw streamers on the field during the game. I was originally indifferent about it, and after spending time in the South End standing alongside Toronto FC fans as they threw streamers, I thought it was all pretty harmless and felt like it added a nice element to the game.

The problem is the line from harmless to harmful can easily be crossed once you allow it and once some out of control fans make the stupid decision to throw anything from coins to batteries to bottles. It is nearly impossible for stadium security to find those guilty of throwing the dangerous stuff when a showering of streamers is coming from the stands.

Watching Steve Ralston pick up a lit flare and toss it aside was interesting enough, but the shower of objects that weren’t streamers was definitely out of control and I can’t see how MLS isn’t going to revisit its policy.

I’m sure the one racial epithet dropped by one Crew fan will gain the attention, as it should because racism cannot be tolerated anywhere, but it is time for the league to re-think the streamers. As someone who was once pro-streamer, I don’t mind admitting I was wrong. It’s time for MLS officials to admit the same thing.

What do you think about the incidents at the Crew-Revs match? How do you feel about streamers? Is it time for them to be banned? Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- New England Revolution. Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to An ugly scene in Columbus (and it’s time for the streamers to go)

  1. Matt says:

    re: streamers. Told you so. I don’t understand how anyone can say that this does not constitute interfering with the match and is against the spirit of fair play. Garber should be criticized for encouraging this nonsense. If people want throw streamers, let them do it when the players march out or after a goal, not on corner kicks and the like. A clear warning at the beginning of the match about what is acceptable and what is not should do the trick.

    As for the racist stuff, the league needs to find this idiot and come down hard on him.

  2. Christopher says:

    Well over on Goff’s board the discussion about this has gotten completely out of hand. Once the streamers are being thrown at a player, I think they are bad news, they have a place as part of a celebration but deeming it okay to use a player as a target leads those participating down the path of throwing other things at the players.

    The troubled man who felt the need to hurl racist remarks at an African player can not be defended even though there have been some on Goff’s blog attempting to do just that. The MLS needs to take action and set a precedent. I don’t know what that act should be but it needs to be substantial.

    I think it was someone flaming on Goff’s board but he was saying he forwarded the story to Jim Rome. If that’s true, we’re screwed, he’s going to take that story and run with it.

  3. HomeyBoehme says:

    Someone is always going to up the ante and the MLS needs to step in now. The fans got the ok from the league to throw streamers, but now we get bottles (empty or full), flares etc. It will only continue to escalate unless the league steps in. And are the supporters groups really going to care that they cannot throw streamers at opposing players? I don’t think so.

    Re: the racist comment made by that one fan – you got caught on tape and you should get your a lifetime-ban from your club.

  4. MetroFlip73 says:

    Ives-

    Pls remember that when RBNY played TFC, some TFC fans threw objects onto the field at both JPA and Jozy during two different games. And then there was the whole seat-cusion thing.

    The racial thing is beyond infuriating. We, as fans of MLS, should bear in mind that slurs are also hurled at players of Spanish descent (mostly Mexican). That should be looked at seriously as well.

  5. Drew says:

    i agree ives. streamers add to the atmosphere, but this world is littered with too many idiots that take things like this too far. mls should change their policy, which will be a tough thing to do after garber’s recent blog rant.

    anyone caught spewing racist slurs should be immediately tossed from any game and banned from the stadium. period.

  6. Dante says:

    Columbus fans have had issues in the past. Didn’t they used to have a guy on a megaphone that shouted obsenities?

  7. Christopher says:

    Well Garber has at least noted the situation:

    link to web.mlsnet.com

  8. Ed Ho says:

    I love to see the passion, but WTF? When did these idiots think it was acceptable to throw anything on the field, much less the ignorant racial slur that is is completely intolerable.

    I think Columbus needs to take action as well as the League. These MLS clubs have been treating these supporters clubs with kid gloves. They need to quickly address this issue and punish people guilty. Somehow, I am not that hopeful that any of these clubs will do anything until something much worse happens. I hope not, but that’s what i think will happen.

  9. HomeyBoehme says:

    Ives, I read your interview about how you got into reporting on soccer. You stated that “there is no such thing as bad press” for the MLS. I was wondering if this counts as bad press?

  10. Ted says:

    Beyond the racist stuff (which is completely ignorant, sad, and unacceptable), the image of Ralston picking up the lit flair is messed up. I hope Garber sees that video.

  11. Chewy Unikronik says:

    Funny… I thought Crew fans used to make fun of TFC fans and put them down… And yet, here they are copying those same fans by throwing streamers? Right!

    I think that alone goes a long way into showing their level or reasoning…

  12. bangersandmash says:

    Yves, I see where you’re coming from but the problem isn’t the streamers. Its batteries, bottles and objects that are thrown with the intent of causing bodily harm. Most jurisdictions have laws against this sort of malicious behaviour. Usually filed under “intent to cause bodily harm.” Acts of racial abuse are likewise considered to be civil offences in many parts of North America.

    A streamer doesn’t fit into this group. Both the battery and bottle throwers and the racist chants should have been snuffed out by the crowd, security or the cops. Now I’d hope these fine specimens of humanity are investigated by the police.

    The streamer issue is boring, and we all know what non TFC supporters are going to say about it. Streamers are, at worst, a distraction. As bad as thundersticks at a basketball or NFL game. But they’re not the same as as batteries, bottles, hand grenades and throwing stars. You might try to argue that streamers are a “gateway drug” to harder more nefarious things but there’s been more than a year of streamers at BMO field without incident. Streamers weren’t the problem.

    Should the MLS investigate this and lay down policy on it? No. Should the regular supporters who sit near the field take more responsibility for those around them? Yes. Self-policing is common in BMOs south end.

    Oh, and while we’re at it, what kind of stadium sells bottled beer? Plastic cups, geniuses. And while I’m at it, does Kheli Dube deserve an apology from Crew supporters? Yes. Most certainly.

    Oddly, it is the actions of a few Crew “fans,” — nah… attendees who probably had little to do with the Crew or its fans — that is going to cost TFC fans their harmless, colourful calling card.

  13. Rashid says:

    You know a few weeks ago I was watching PTI on ESPN and the guys were talking about ho bush league it was for fans to throw streamers down at the field and how confetti littering the field after a home game was a joke. I remember wanting to tell them to shut their yappers because it’s all in good fun, the streamers the confetti, we in the US need something that catches the attention of Average Joe i.e. basketball, baseball, and football fans. Now I feel as if I’ve been made to tuck my tail between my legs and admit defeat.

    Unfortunately racism, as ugly as it is, still exists in the world. I think that the MLS has to take an extremely firm stance against this and punish the Crew for the actions of their fans. At the very least he should be banned for th rest of the season.

  14. Josh says:

    Thanks, Ives, for not only reminding us that there’s no excuse for hurling racist epithets, but for also cautioning everybody against painting ALL Crew fans with a broad brush based on one #$%^&’s actions.

    Let’s hope the Crew is dealing with the matter appropriately, and that steps are being taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

  15. kpugs says:

    What boggles my mind is that the you tuber posted this because he was PROUD of their actions.

    He didn’t care that they lost, he was proud of how they treated the Revs players. I hate the Revs…but come on now. I’d rather cheer for a team I hate than act like this. I thought I was shamed by the Fire this weekend, this makes me feel even worse as a fan of the game and this league.

  16. kpugs says:

    P.S. Bangers…I haven’t been to Columbus so I can’t speak for the stadium there, but our stadium sells plastic bottles, basically to prevent injury from anyone who might get hit with one, as well as cups depending on which brew you’re buying. But I digress…you have some good points in there.

  17. Scott says:

    One thing we have always had on the Euro leagues here in the MLS is our lack of voiced racism and lack of violence. Hopefully this type of thing doesn’t become a trend. Soccer, while more important than most things, is no excuse for violence nor racism.

  18. kpugs says:

    Oh…and with this caught on video, MLS should make Columbus play their next home game in an empty stadium,and fine them. It’s caught on video…no reason for them not to be heavily punished for their fans actions. It happens in Europe (albeit pathetically so in some countries, yes Spain I’m talking to you).

  19. Brant says:

    I think the throwing of streamers (or heck, TFC seat cushions for those who saw that game) should be restricted to times when it does not interfere with the run of play – introductions, goals, halftime, red cards – when the ball is stopped, and there’s no reasonable opportunity for a quick-kick play (like there is on most corner kicks).

    Now, to be fair, no one is throwing bags of urine at people either, and streamers aren’t all that harmful in the long run, but it doesn’t take much to go from streamers to something stupid.

    I was sitting in the corner across from the Nordecke at the Crew-Revs game, and as soon as the goal was scored, and the bottles started flying, we looked at each other and said “what a bunch of idiots” and shook our heads in disgust.

  20. bangersandmash says:

    Kpugs… thanks. Oh, I just reread the article and noticed that Yves said “water bottles.” I retract my point about beer bottles. (and apologize to Crew stadium?)

    Anyways, one thought that occurred to me is that all of the corners at BMO field are held by either supporters groups or seasons ticket holders (one of the nice parts about your stadium being 75% seasons ticket holders). I wonder if Toronto fans don’t get involved with this because the stadium knows exactly who is sitting in those seats? Anonymity can be poisonous in a crowd.

  21. Kyle says:

    First off racism should not be tolerated. MLS should hammer the fan and Columbus for that (not sweep it under the rug like they usually do). I am curious to see what MLS does about the Revs celebrating in front of the Crew’s fan section. That seems unsportsman-like and apparently un-safe as well.

  22. kpugs says:

    No idea…even with the throwing of items at Giants stadium–something that was quickly stopped by Toronto fans and players–I look at BMO as the near-perfect MLS environment. I have to be honest, the streamers get to me, but only as a fan. It’s more jealousy than the fact that I think they are harmful.

    This Columbus B.S. needs to be nipped in the bud, but I really hope it doesn’t effect the situation in Toronto. As a fan of the league, that is exactly what we need.

  23. MJ says:

    Here’s another question: How will the league handle the discipline or sanction of Shalerie Joseph’s middle-finger-salute to the Crew suppporter section, his reaction to just having had the N-bomb hurled at him?

    The league will make a serious mistake if the only material consequences fall upon Joseph.

  24. suckerpunch says:

    Well seeing how this all came from the supporters section, simply close the whole section for a game.

    Don’t sell tickets to that section for the next home game, and those already having tickets in that section lose ‘em.

    The next time this crap happens, close the section for 2 games.

    Oh, and its not streamers that are the problem, its people throwing other objects. Self policing, especially if you start costing the “good” fans the chance to see games will solve that problem in a hurry.

  25. suckerpunch says:

    Well seeing how this all came from the supporters section, simply close the whole section for a game.

    Don’t sell tickets to that section for the next home game, and those already having tickets in that section lose ‘em.

    The next time this crap happens, close the section for 2 games.

    Oh, and its not streamers that are the problem, its people throwing other objects. Self policing, especially if you start costing the “good” fans the chance to see games will solve that problem in a hurry.

  26. Rob C says:

    I have always been against the streamers. It makes MLS look minor league and unorganized, not only compared to the rest of the American sports leagues, but compared to soccer leagues around the world also. I just love how classy the European stadia around the world look. There is nothing on the playing surface…confetti, streamers, etc. but those places still have great atmosphere. You don’t need to throw stuff onto the field in order to create atmosphere. How about singing and chanting loud! I hate the streamers and wish they were outlawed long before it got out of hand, which of course, it predictably did.

    re: Racism…just despicable.

    It’s kind of interesting that the MLS is basically becoming the NHL. It gets no attention unless the news is extremely outlandish and negative. We’ll definitely be hearing about this stuff on ESPN now if it hasn’t already been reported.

  27. Eric Anderson says:

    Personally, I love the streamers. I think they make for a great environment and should definitely stay. However, throwing other objects (bottles, batteries, etc.) is obviously unacceptable. Like in Europe, I think Columbus should be fined and forced to play behind closed doors if the actions continue.

    As for the racism, it’s obviously unacceptable in any setting. I love fans who get passionate about the game and yell at opposing players, but clearly a line was crossed. If the fan can be identified, he should be banned from attending MLS matches. Hopefully the other fans in attendance let him know that his actions were unacceptable. Racism has long been a problem in European leagues, and they still have yet to find a solution. I don’t know how to stamp it out other than for the rest of the fans to take a stand and not allow for anyone to use racial slurs in the stadium.

  28. suckerpunch says:

    Columbus once again proves to have the worst fans in MLS.

  29. SF says:

    “MLS should make Columbus play their next home game in an empty stadium”

    That’s not proper punishment since they do that most of the time anyway

  30. kpugs says:

    Ha, nice one SF.

    From MLS Idiot/Commissioner Don Garber:

    “We are investigating reports of incidents from the May 24 match between the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution and will take appropriate action based on our findings.”

    Someone send him the youtube link, that’s all you need.

  31. A.S. says:

    I was against the streamers when we discussed it after Ives’ trip to Toronto, and I’m even more against it now. There should not be anything thrown on the field during play – even if not harmful, it will affect the play. (I certainly do think, for example, that the streamers affect the opposition’s corner kicks in Toronto.)

    As for the racism, I’m not sure what to do, other than find the fan and ban him. This type of thing happens in Europe, and they generally don’t empty the stadium from the rest of the fans simply because one fan is an ass.

  32. A.S. says:

    I was against the streamers when we discussed it after Ives’ trip to Toronto, and I’m even more against it now. There should not be anything thrown on the field during play – even if not harmful, it will affect the play. (I certainly do think, for example, that the streamers affect the opposition’s corner kicks in Toronto.)

    As for the racism, I’m not sure what to do, other than find the fan and ban him. This type of thing happens in Europe, and they generally don’t empty the stadium from the rest of the fans simply because one fan is an ass.

  33. HomeyBoehme says:

    I think it should be noted that the atmosphere at BMO-Field wasn’t created by throwing streamers, but by the stadium being packed by passionate chanting fans for every home game. Toronto has the same great atmosphere with or without streamers.

  34. Eric K says:

    I don’t mind streamers or something else that won’t cause injury if it makes contact, as long as it’s not during play. If it’s during a goal celebration or after the final whistle, that’s fine. What bothers me is anything that interferes with the actual game play. I think everyone here could see that this would get out of hand sooner or later.

  35. Landis says:

    Hi Ives- good thoughts on Columbus. As a Crew fan, you generally piss me off about your Crew comments, but I pretty much agree with on this one. I like the streamer thing, I think it adds a good element to the game. However, what happened late in the second half at the match was uncalled for. I was sitting a section over from the fans throwing non-streamers at Ralston and was appauled. And while the racist comments, too, were uncalled for, I believe they happened after Shalrie Joseph game the crowd the finger.

  36. PASOCCER says:

    I agree about both subjects, but everyone is acting like this is a “first”. This happens all over the world. While I DONT agree with it at all…I’m not sure many of us would be able to handle a match in England or Spain.

  37. Geoff says:

    crew fans are now the scousers of the mls

  38. Steve T. says:

    PASOCCER,

    I went to 6 EPL matches just this past March/April, and I didnt encounter any objects being thrown on the field or racial slurs. Plenty of fowl language mind you, but no batteries, streamer, or “N” words.

    These guys are just a bunch of thugs, wannabe die-hards.

  39. jgildea says:

    The fans around the bigot should of shut him up…

    We should not need MLS to come in and analyse Youtube footage. Did none of the other Crew fans around him think that what he said deserved to be checked?

  40. gerald says:

    Personally I couldn’t care less about the streamers but all of this other stuff needs to stop. If that means no streamers as well then so be it

  41. Igor says:

    Well, we finally got our “European atmosphere.”

  42. LJ says:

    Streamers are stupid. I thought it was stupid from the beginning.

    Fans should not be allowed to enter the sphere of the field during the game. Throwing anything on the field shouldn’t happen. That is where the game is played, it wasn’t designed to be played with obstacles and crap on the field.

    Fans should not be allowed to throw things are players. I don’t care if it is cotton balls.

  43. matt says:

    Landis – watch the video….it’s pretty clear the guy screams the slur at joseph, who then turns around and gives the finger to the fan, who then starts screaming for a red card – in that order. Nice try.

  44. Bill says:

    The comments are horrifying in any event and must be stopped. As a parent, I would not want to bring kids to a game where they are going to hear comments like that.

  45. William the Terror says:

    Racism has no part in the sport (or any other sport). On the field, a player is not African, Mexican or Caucasian; he is a Rev, a Red Bull a Wizard, or whatever. You should look at the jersey only.

    Likewise, throwing anything with the intent to strike or injure a player is wrong. The Players are the REASON FOR THE GAME. Injure the players and you ruin the game.

    That being said, a healthy does of fan-on-fan hooliganism, in the European tradition, is good for the game. It stokes the rivalries that we need if the game is ever to grow in this country. So, I can overlook a little name calling and fighting if it helps in that regard. For instance, just last week I was walking out of TGI Fridays when I saw someone wearing an Arsenal jersey in the lobby. Being a die-hard ManU loyalist, I yelled “If you’re not a Manc, you’re a wank,” and proceeded to administer a savage beating of the Arsenal fan. I bet she won’t wear that jersey in public again.

  46. EDB says:

    I’ve always been against streamers. I don’t think people should ever be allowed to throw anything at the playing surface.

  47. Alex says:

    This “stupid” incident at Columbus has nothing to do with streamers! I think you specifically refer to the Racial slur uttered by the village idiot in Columbus, and i also heard they were throwing objects of somekind at the players! Firstly the culprits that did that were just plain bigots and racists! We don’t have ANY problems even remotely close to what went down in Columbus!!! So this is NOT a streamer issue!!!

  48. Geoff says:

    Hey Ives,

    I was looking at the guy who posted this youtube video, and he was on the boards defending himself saying it was the guy behind him who was shouting the racism. So I decided to look in his “favourite videos” on youtube and came across one called “up yours N****r”

    So my conclusion from this is either there was more than one racist in the crowd, or the guy who posted the video (gman8908 on youtube) is the punk who yelled these things.

  49. Brant says:

    “As a parent, I would not want to bring kids to a game where they are going to hear comments like that.”

    The Nordecke does warn you that the language won’t be the cleanest before you get into that section. And aside from the big “you suck a$$**le” yell they give on free kicks, you don’t hear any specifics anywhere else on the field. Again, I was in the NW corner, they were in the NE corner, and while we could see the crap being thrown on the field, we couldn’t hear anything specific being yelled.

  50. Scott A says:

    Shows some integrity to admit if you think you were wrong Ives. I’m kind of torn..clearly the streamers interfere with the play but I also want MLS games to have more of an edge

  51. brett says:

    the streamers were always stupid in my opinion…. espeically with teams of past histories as TFC and Columbus, you shouldnt be wasting any time… b/c quite frankly it’ll cost you points…

  52. John says:

    1. It may only be one racist, uncouth, obnoxious idiot Crew fan, but the team needs to be punished. Dock ‘em 3 points, maybe force them to play with an empty stadium. You see, what this does is it forces the rest of the stadium to police themselves. It’s no longer acceptable to say “well, I didn’t say anything.” Instead, this guy was next to the field yelling at the top of his voice and no-one even got in his face. Very damning of the people seated around him. When the team is hurt on the field (by taking points away–which could be critical come playoff time), it forces every serious fan to start to take the attitude of “I can’t just do my own thing and turn a blind eye to someone going over the line–because that is going to hurt my team.”

    2. You know, I personally think the streamers are colorful. But here’s the deal–the line between streamers and other trash is a very thin line. What if someone attaches metal washers to the end of the stream so it sails farther? That’s exactly what blinded that NFL lineman (a washer tied to a referee’s flag). If streamers are okay, than what about a streamer soaked in a liquid so it can sail further (first, beer than maybe later urine)? It gets to be a very fuzzy line here. The best rule is just to say that you can throw stuff on the field. And yeah, confetti is hard to enforce and probably gets ignored. And the vast majority of streamers are colorful. But in the end to allow streamers is to create to fragile or fuzzy of a line between what is okay and what is not.

    3. I noticed the Goff thread first. Whomever characterized it as “some people are trying to defend using the N-word” got it wrong. There are apparently some Columbus supporters trying to argue stuff like: if you penalize the team than visiting fans could show up and say bad things to cost the home team or you’re stereotyping the city and a range if distracting things.

    I bet 99% of the fans in Columbus wouldn’t use the N-word or throw a bottle at a player. Doesn’t matter though–you must take action.

  53. green says:

    Unfortunately, this type of thing is happening with some frequency in various outlets throughout our nation.

    All one has to do is watch the news for crying out loud to find racist rooted remarks. Ask Liz Trotta, the FOX News contributer.

    She recently joked:

    “And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could.”

    And then had a laugh as if it was funny. WTF!

    What was she thinking. . .? Look it up on Youtube if you really need to see it. I’m sorry I did.

    This country is full of bigots and narrow minded folks. It is rooted much deeper than some realize. From the workplace to the media and everything in between. It stems from paranoia in my estimation.

    Out here on the west coast it’s no different. I hear comments all the time degrading folks of different backgrounds. And then there’s the haha it’s funny to joke about it folks. Which doesn’t do anything but perpetuate the situation.

  54. TheUltra says:

    The one idiot who yelled the racial slur is a moron and no one here in the Columbus Supporters groups approves or condones that behavior.

    Hell that same game we chanted “we want ekpo” (a player from africa) we have a latin group that sits in Nordecke along with the rest of diverse and dedicated group. Trust Us no one is more upset by the actions of these idiots that us Crew supporters. It just goes to Show that the actions of a few can ruin it for everyone else. Columbus is a diverse and accepting city and this one fool does in no way represent us.

    Also I believe the idea of not throwing steamers of any kind for the SJ game as a token of good will to the league and FO has already begun circulating amongst the supporters groups. Internal policing has been stepped up, groups are now even threatening to revoke membership for any member found to have thrown anything besides a streamer at this or any other game.

  55. tsingletonvt says:

    The idea of making the Crew play a home game without any fans in attendance or without a supporters section sounds like a good start.

    If MLS goes down that road the ideal game would be the 9/6/08 game against the Revs. If MLS wants to punish the Crew/its fans in this way immediately, perhaps they could play their next home game AND their next home game against the Revs without fans in attendance (or a supporters section). That way, when September rolls around they will once again be reminded of the consequences of some people’s behavior.

  56. Dynamo_Fan says:

    Being a Dynamo season ticket holder, I’ve often thought that something like this was bound to occur. The supporters groups here have been limited to throwing streamers (I think). This event, however, I could see netting/barriers set-up between the supporter’s section and the field. That’s the absolute last thing I thought I would see at an American sporting event.

  57. Mike says:

    To suggest a team play in front of an empty stadium or dock points is absurd.

    One idiot who just happen to get caught on youtube doesn’t warrant punishing an entire team. Like or not that is free speech and while we all hate what he said (and from I can tell Crew fans seem the most upset) the team should not be punished for his actions.

  58. green says:

    If the club can not control it’s fans, who takes responsibility?

    The Crew need to take action now, and send the message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. If they don’t, then the league needs to punish the club. Plain and simple.

    Hold people/clubs accountable for this and it will diminish. If you don’t it will continue. If this guy(s) are allowed to keep their tickets and continue to attend games, your looking at more instances down the road.

  59. Will says:

    Same people who voted for Clinton….sadly there are more of them than you’d like to admit.

  60. Joamiq says:

    There’s no free speech at a sporting event. Once you buy a ticket to enter a stadium, you enter into a contract with the stadium operators that includes abiding by their speech regulations. And regulate they should. There’s no room for racism in MLS.

    I cannot fathom how people can say that streamers aren’t a problem after watching that second video. Columbus fans acted like they didn’t want any soccer to be played. That’s what throwing piles of streamers at a player taking a corner will accomplish.

  61. Mike says:

    The Crew Union is working with the Crew Front Office and the League to find the person who shouted the offending slur and ban him from the stadium. As for the trash and other items, we are working on that as well. If this becomes a trend rather than an isolated incident, we will consider banning the streamers along with everything else. Until then, we will continue to support our team with all the fervor that we can muster, including throwing streamers during corner kicks, as our players have repeatedly encouraged us to do so in person and in various media outlets.

    Mike “HardHatMike” Blankley

    Vice President

    The Columbus Crew Supporters Union

  62. HomeyBoehme says:

    @John re: point 3.) – I agree visiting fans could show up and say bad things to cost the home team. Unfortunately there is no way to “prove” anyone is a “fan” of a particular team, unless they are part of an official supporters group. The best thing the MLS can do is find the one person who said it and ban them from the MLS (not just the home club) for life.

    I think that punishment against a club as a whole should only come AFTER it has been proven that the club is NOT taking measures to prevent or control unwanted behavior, racist or otherwise.

  63. I have to say that I am a little disappointed.

    There was a great article about Kanu and his starting a foundation to help African kids manage their professional contracts in Europe. I thought, we should get more African kids over here. Chances are, it would be better for them than Europe.

    I guess not.

    There is one consolation. In many countries in Europe, racist chants are conducted by the ultras of their clubs.

    This was one individual. Short term, Columbus need to post that racist slurs will result in arrest and subject to prosecution by the laws of Ohio…bla…bla.

    I agree with TheUltra, it is one person making it bad for everyone. Deal with the one person.

    Call CSI…they can find who it was.

  64. mikeK says:

    The potential here is too dangerous to do nothing about. Throwing things other than streamers are bad enough. Racism? Totally, 100% unacceptable. The fact that the fan made it out of the stadium on his own two feet is an insult to Crew fans everywhere, and an indictment against american soccer fans.

    Crew fans nail a rev player and hurt him. Now when the Crew visit foxboro someone hurts Scheloto. What then? We’re just going to have our own personal war of attrition? No. Crew fans have to go. If they can’t police themselves, throw out the lot of them.

  65. Tom Long says:

    The language is over the line…..it is classes and just over the line.

    As for the streamers and smoke bomb, I LOVE THEM!!! Soccer is a different sport and the only reason people are ripping on that stuff is because they dont understand. The Argentine League is my favorite league and I really think if we could develop a fan base similar to that of Independiente, Boca, or River Plate that would be amazing.

  66. Gord says:

    Why is it that the racial slur thrown is not to be blamed on all Crew fans, but just one moron, and yet all streamer throwers are now accused of throwing batteries bottles and kitchen sinks?

    The supporters at BMO do not throw other objects, and if someone did, they would be quickly censured by the supporters groups. And the seat cushions? They were foam rubber frisbees with which you couldn’t hit anyone if you tried.

    And for those that claim streamers shouldn’t be allowed because they interfere with the game, what about NFL crowds cheering so loud that a visiting team can’t call an audible at the line of scrimmage and have to use a timeout?

  67. sublicon says:

    It was dumb when TFC did it, it’s dumb when Columbus does it. Everyone is wrong. At least when we do it in NY, we do it when they score or something and it’s not a constant barrage and doesn’t delay the game.

  68. nico says:

    I think we live in a society of overreactions to security concerns. If racial slurs are used, should we ban all shouting/yelling/talking at games? No. Same with streamers, yes there is a risk of other objects being thrown. However, this risk exists regardless of streamers being allowed. We all have to live with risk, we simply have to find an acceptable level of risk. Disallowing streamers will not prevent other objects from being thrown. It may reduce the number of objects being thrown (to varying degrees), but think of what may be lost by disallowing them. The streamer policy is not the problem, educating the fans is a problem. Not everything should be resolved by law/rules, that is short-term thinking. imo

  69. HomeyBoehme says:

    @Gord,

    I cannot believe you are comparing fans yelling to objects being thrown onto the field of play and onto the players directly.

    The quaterback is not trying to get streamers out of his facemask or cleats. You don’t see NBA players taking a free throw covered in streamers. You don’t see hockey players getting pelted with streamers in the penalty box or on the ice. You don’t see MLB players pelted with streamers standing in the outfield or warming up in the dugout. Name one sport where the home fans are allowed to throw things onto the pitch during the run of play to influence the game? One sport? Anyone?

    It doesn’t happen because fans have the right to cheer for their team, not throw things all over the opposition.

  70. nico says:

    “Same people who voted for Clinton….sadly there are more of them than you’d like to admit.” – posted by Will

    So all democrats who don’t prefer Obama are racist? Interesting assessment…you are in the wrong forum by the way.

  71. EDB says:

    serisouly gord.. trying to make the NFL analogy is just plain dumb.. its one thing to yell .. its another to throw things that end up on the playing surface that can affect the game.. what if they want to do a quick short corner..its hard to do with streamers coming at you and the ball.. and as “soft” as the streamers are they still affect the movement of the people and the ball..

  72. mikeK says:

    So what if it affects the game? That’s home field advantage.

    The line should be drawn at stuff that can hurt someone. That’s where it should end.

  73. Wow, that kid is an idiot. Racism is bad, but putting the video on Youtube?! What a moron…

    They are going to find that dude and I hope they do b/c we don’t need that type of behavior in our stands. N-bombs are no good.

  74. HomeyBoehme says:

    @mikeK – Beach balls do not injure anyone, neither do nerf balls. So we can throw those at opponents during the game? That is your logical reasoning?

  75. Mike O says:

    Not quite sure why you called it “adult” language, Ives. Nothing really adult about how that guy was acting or speaking. Foul language is more accurate.

    Wow, this incident will leave some egg on MLS’s face. I guess it’s time to start policing some of the worst excesses of the supporters’ sections. I know the MLS is trying desperately to ratchet up interest and publicity but you have to balance enthusiasm with safety and security. Streamers are not the problem in and of themselves but other foreign objects can be less readily identified while streamers are being thrown. As this video shows, after a point it also can quickly become a disruption and take away from the game experience. Watching a player spend a minute or more picking through streamers to take a corner kick does not look interesting on TV and doesn’t build tension in the game either.

  76. Sean says:

    This is not only a call to action for MLS, but more importantly, the Soccer Supporter’s Groups’ Leaders as well.

    There is nothing wrong with streamers except when the fans go overboard. I love streamers but I, too, was bored and irritable about them by the twenty second mark of the footage. There is no reason that boundaries cannot be set for Soccer Supporter’s Groups by Soccer Supporter’s Groups.

    MLS should work with the groups to somehow allow them to self-discipline and dismiss, even if it means you lose your season ticket purchase. Inclusion and seating acquired by the groups should be an honor and be subject to termination by review.

    There is no reason to push the eject button. Panic button? Yes. Eject button? No.

    The greater issue is the N-Word. If anything, I think people are using this racial slur as part of their fire against streamers. Now, I guess I don’t care because racism should have no place in this world and we should have no tolerance for it, whether said because of misplaced rivalry or true hate. Racism is too delicate and unfair a topic.

    In fact, discrimination is too important a topic, whether it be discrimination based on race, gender, eye color, hair color, height, weight, hairy or smooth, flat-chested or large-chested, large member or small member, college education, social class, wealth, etc. The truth is, there is all kinds of discrimination occurring all the time that we ignore.

    But, I support Garber. For you idiots that keep ragging on him, he did the right thing. He didn’t condone this behavior. He said he supported the use of streamers and enthusiastic support, exclaiming that its uniqueness is part of what makes soccer great. But, for you morons that keep talking about him and what he said, he also called for fans to act reasonably by protecting the players, the flow and enjoyment of the game, and much more.

    Find out who the person is who is swearing and lock him up. But, don’t ban streamers with it.

  77. Racial epithets is just plain wrong but whats so bad about throwing D sized batteries at players heads?

    .

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    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Just kidding of course!!! Calm down. Lets all focus our minds on other D sized things :) Like VS model Miranda Kerr.

  78. donovan says:

    First of all, anyone who thinks the streamers is just good fun is crazy. Of course people aren’t getting hurt from streamers, but when you raise your arm to take the kick, you’re telling me you wouldn’t be a little worried that someone might throw a streamer at you. People are aiming them at the players. It’s ruining the game when it affects taking set plays. I always thought it looked juvenile in south and central america as well when it’s still there during the game. Even in Europe, you see balloons on the field. I don’t watch games to see what kind of ridiculous things the fans can do. I’m watching the game.

  79. Eugene says:

    Wow. That was very bad. Look, I agree with the idea that nothing should come out of the stands onto the field during the game — there is no way that someone can argue that it doesn’t affect play in some way! This game can be decided in seconds (or even less) off of one good play — so if players are distracted by objects coming onto the field, the whole game can be decided by those incidents.

    The streamers have to go, they’re lowering the quality of the game. Racial epithets as well as vulgar names for female body parts also don’t belong and the guy calling them out looked pretty close to the guy waving the checkered gold and black flag — so maybe this guy was sitting in a supporter’s section or was one of the Crew’s die-hard supporters? Hardly your average or casual fan…

    But on top of that, the league itself has to stop firing confetti or other pieces of paper onto the field before matches or when goals are scored. Too often in LA there is confetti everywhere and its not coming from the fans but is “part of the show” — it takes away from the game and makes the field look ugly on TV! MLS has to regulate itself on that.

    If the league wants to raise the quality of production, fans and officials should respect the game the way they do in England (in the EPL) and not throw anything onto the field. I don’t believe I’ve seen anything thrown onto the field during an EPL game.

    At the end of the day, I’d rather we didn’t pick up bad habits from South America — where riots and fan violence plus fans throwing things onto the field is commonplace. We as fans, even the most die-hard ones, have to regulate ourselves so that we’re not damaging the game. I know ESC in NY self-regulates, everyone else should do the same.

  80. dabull says:

    I have no problem with streamers being thrown before/after the game, or after a goal. Throwing ANYTHING at players that physically interferes with playing the game should be banned. (Yes, streamers can physically interfere with the game, which is why the corner had to be delayed so the grounds crew could clean up the mess.) Any policy that encourages fans to throw things at players is just asking for trouble.

  81. Dannyc58 says:

    Bangersandmash this comment:

    “Streamers are, at worst, a distraction. As bad as thundersticks at a basketball or NFL game”

    >>>>>>I agree with your larger point, however I disagree with the point above. Thundersticks do not get into the players eyes or touch them in anyway. Personally, i think streamers at an MLB game would be hitting a batter before the pitch came, or in the NFL as a player is going for a field goal.

    I won’t argue how distracting it is, its clear we differ, but I think comparing it thundersticks is a bit shortsighted.

  82. Eugene says:

    And for those who call hate speech free speech — when we’re calling someone a racist, we’re talking about you. Condoning it is almost as bad as perpetrating it.

  83. fieldsy says:

    as someone who regularly watches soccer games in south america, they have the craziest fans possibly in the world and they almost never throw streamers when someone is kicking a corner. often times, they even have police around the player to prevent anything from being thrown at him. in fact, it’s more common (when it does happen) when a goalie kicks a goal kick or a player lays on the field when his is injured (or faking an injury). tfc and crew fans should be more creative than throwing streamers on the field. the games in south america are louder, crazier, full of banners and chants and they don’t need to throw anything on the field to distract the other team.

  84. brant says:

    A priceless comment from GBS:

    ***

    “The fans are getting into it,” Schelotto said, “but we need better referees.”

    To control the crowd?

    “No,” he said with a smile, “we just need better referees.”

    ***

    link to dispatch.com

  85. wally says:

    The use of streamers in MLS is an inauthentic bush league attempt to simulate the passionate fan environment in central/south american. Streamers occassionally cover up the fact that attendance is so poor, magnifying the appearance of a passionate fan base. Ultimately, though, streamers take away from the product on the field. In trying to get our fans riled up, I think we disrespect the players and the game.

    When Beckham takes a corner kick, i don’t want fans throwing things at him and potentially affecting his kick. I want to see his pure and best effort.

    Frankly, I think streamers draw away from the game on the field in South America as well. I’ve been to games in Buenos Aires (River) and Rio (Flamenco) and don’t recall any streamers, and the stadium experience was awesome.

  86. Streamers should be for kick-offs, goals, and the end whistle.

  87. Bravo says:

    The streamers have to stop! It’s just ridiculous and frustrating. It delays the game and interferes with the players. The crew fans who yelled personal verbal attacks and threw crap on the field should be ashamed of themselves.

  88. PASOCCER says:

    Steve T. –

    That’d be nice to be able to get to 6 EPL matches in 2 months, next time you need a “tag along” let me know!!

    But what I was getting at is this: talking about what happened at the Crew match, not everyone there knew about that happening at the time, right?? Unless you were sitting right near them, you arent going to know whats going on. The same is said in England or Spain, if you were near a “Firm” or a “strong supporters group”, I guarantee you’d hear much, much more than what was said at the Crew game. I’m sure there were plenty of “incidents” at the games you were at, but may be you just werent right near them or didnt hear of them. But check into some of the “firms”, name calling and racism is petty to most of them. Football as many of you know, is a religion to many ppl around the world, and name calling and racism isnt much to many of them. AGAIN, I dont agree with what was said or happened or thrown, just stating a different point of view. Hope not to offend anyone.

  89. Henry says:

    Leave it to Columbus to ruin the streamer experience. why waste them during a corner, id rather use them when the teams walks out or when we score.

  90. czf says:

    Ives. You’re right about the ignorance and disappointing nature of this fan’s behavior. But I have to ask, what point is being served by promoting the video like this?

  91. Patriot says:

    And people wonder why we have such “stupid laws” in America. It’s because “stupid idiots” do “stupid things” that cause the “stupid laws” to be put in place. It’s the price of freedom, so to speak.

  92. Keith G. says:

    I have always hated the streamers, and thought it hurt the game, and should be band. I have never been able to watch South American soccer becuase of things like this and it just bugged me.

    I think after that will all that was thrown and said, the Crew should have to play a game with no fans. I hope if this happens that Americans will be smarter then the Italians and just not do it anymore, but we will have to wait and see.

  93. casey cannon says:

    “1. It may only be one racist, uncouth, obnoxious idiot Crew fan, but the team needs to be punished. Dock ‘em 3 points, maybe force them to play with an empty stadium.”

    Are you high? Or maybe a Fire fan? Dock three points for one fan being a retard? How many points docked for each streaker? Can I go to Chicago, put on some fire garb, and hurl obcenities to dock them points?

    I wasn’t there to stand up to that idiot. But I will reject other really dumb ideas.

  94. irishapple21 says:

    I like confetti and streamers for goal celebrations, not for throwing at players and attempting to obstruct their path/view when they are taking corner kicks (a la TFC.) Racism has no place in MLS. Period. We need to find who said that remark and give him a good kick in the head for it. Meanwhile, we need to keep in mind that racism isn’t limited to soccer. It has been pervasive throughout sports and the rest of American society for a very long time. We all need to do our part to stamp it out.

  95. Scott A says:

    The idea of playing in front of an empty stadium or taking away points for that is utterly ridiculous. That is all….

  96. Modibo says:

    casey cannon – a streaker running half-naked (’cause our most recent US nats streaker didn’t go bare) does not invoke over 400 years of subjugation, violence, and degradation based on skin color. Totally different situation.

    And if fans start confronting one another over racist insults or chants you’ll get susssed out pretty quick if you try to do it to punish another team.

    What’s your solution then, besides insulting the mentally diabled (there are a lot of people who find “retard” as insulting as the “n” word in case no one in your fourth grade class has told you yet)?

  97. brant says:

    Longish web article on the Crew & the responses to the video in Columbus, from the Crew beat writer at the Columbus Dispatch.

    link to blog.dispatch.com

  98. eric says:

    NO THE STEAMERS SHOULD NOT GO. THEY SHOULD PUT THE GROUPS HIGHER IN THE STANDS, THATS THE PROBLEM. THE GROUP CHEERING FOR THE CREW WERE PRETTY MUCH ON THE FIELD. THATS THE ONLY PROBLEM I SEE.

  99. Ceez says:

    As messed up as this whole incident is, I’m still in favor of flares and streamers. It adds to the atmosphere. BUT, there needs to be a disclaimer of sorts. I remember back during the first season of MLS, the Metrostars’ Nicola Caricola got a red card. Everyone in the crowd started throwing stuff onto the field at Giants Stadium. The following match, there was a disclaimer put out that anyone caught throwing stuff would be thrown out, banned, etc etc etc…

    Well needless to say, I never again saw anyone thrown anything onto the field.

    Granted, I’m SURE there will always be one idiot who will throw streamers and flares (and maybe even batteries and coins) AT a player. So I’m thinking we could have officials with shields on standby (?); a-la South America. It’s just sad to think that something so aesthetically pleasing should be banned because of some idiots.

    As for the racial slurs, everyone has already reflected what I feel about that. Sad.

  100. K. Bowen says:

    Here’s a crazy idea … why don’t they start by posting signs saying what is permissible to throw on the field (i.e. streamers and confetti, etc.) and what will get you thrown out, and have the front offices work with the supporters groups to police their area, establish a procedure to find and remove violators, etc. If they have to progress to a ban, so be it. If this corrects the problem, even better.

  101. Evan says:

    I believe that the Columbus supporters’ groups, Columbus Crew, and Major League Soccer(MLS)are taking the right approach to deal with the situation: attempt to identify the person responsible for using the racial epithet and take action if so, a lifetime ban from Crew Stadium seemingly a good fit.

    In addition, I think it would be good for the Crew to implement a zero tolerance policy in the supporters’ section when it comes to throwing objects other than streamers. In short, if you throw a bottle, cup of beer, cup of water, coins, batteries, etc., you get kicked out of the match immediately, and to start, for the rest of the season.

    This is a case of a few bad apples who really shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the bunch, and it would be in everyone’s best interests to take an intelligent and considered approach to the situation.

  102. HomeyBoehme says:

    I don’t think the issue has anything to do with streamers and confetti being completely banned from the stands, it has to do with “When is it appropriate to throw streamers and confetti?” Goal celebrations, at the end of the game, as the teams walk out onto the field…I have no problem with that. The issue people have is that pelting a player with objects while they are trying to take a corner directly influences the game.

    Having to deal with people yelling and screaming is a “mental” and not a “physical” problem for the players to deal with. Pelting players with streamers during corner kicks, is physically influencing the game and I think that goes beyond the scope of what fans are allowed to do at sporting events.

  103. Dave says:

    This is another case of American SOCCER fans thinking they need to act like European football fans to legitimize their support for a club. NEWSFLASH – You don’t have to act like a hooligan to be a “real fan”

    We are Americans. Racial violence, taunting, and assault have not been a part of our sport’s landscape for many years.

    Why can’t we support the game without the violence?

    I think some people feel like it’s the fanaticism that makes soccer elsewhere great. They are wrong! The game is what we should love and to hell with all the other crap!

  104. Sandro says:

    There are always some stupid people who call themselves fans and just do stupid things. They should be thrown from the game and be banned from ever entering an MLS game. I love soccer but I hate the hooligasm, that is not passion it is just plain stupidity.

  105. HE from NJ says:

    i still don’t think the streamers were that bad, i mean he got the corner-kick off, didn’t he?

    i think this is all part of the game. this is what home-field advantage should be!

    now i don’t like the lit flares on the field, never have, never will. i don’t like the profanity & racial slurs. but like Ives said, that particular fan is an idiot. and let’s face it, soccer games are wild. profanity exists in every ball game, but racism shouldn’t exist anywhere !!!

    the scene didn’t look so bad to me, try watching a game in europe or s. america. even (american) football games get pretty rowdy. MLS should take care of the DANGEROUS objects being thrown on the field & the racism, everything seems OK to me.

  106. iain says:

    this guy is a d1ck – and should have been identified by the stewards and tossed out/arrested…

    he’d be a d1ck at anything he was attending/ doing, the location is irrelevant

    as for epl or european atmosphere people rarely throw things in my experience, but cursing/swearing is nothing if it isnt a kids/family section then what is the problem? I’ve been to other sports and the language and behaviour is equally as bad

  107. Nordy says:

    I’m a Revs fan. The Crew fan is an idiot, but I think it’s important to remember that we have racist a-hole Revs fans, as well.

    After MLS Cup last fall, my girlfriend (all 125 lbs. of her) had to confront some Revs fan who was yelling racial epithets in the councourse of RFK (while I was in the bathroom).

  108. Mel says:

    C-R-E-W…sorry excuse for a fcukin crew!