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.