During and after the Raiders vs. 49ers preseason game on Saturday violence was widely reported in the cross bay rivalry that brought the Raider Nation and 49er Faithful to Candlestick Park. Among the violence was two separate shootings, a fan beaten unconscious in a stadium bathroom and numerous fights in the stands. There was extra security for the game as is the normal practice when Oakland and San Francisco meet in the preseason. However violence had not escalated as it did during Saturday’s game. In response 49ers team president Jed York discontinued any future games with the Raiders during the preseason.
“The degenerate behavior that happened on Saturday is not going to be tolerated,” said Jed York. “If that means we need to make a business decision to not sell a ticket to somebody, … then that’s something we’re going to do.”
In addition to no longer playing against the Raiders in the preseason the 49ers said they would tighten tailgating rules and punish season ticket holders who sell their seats to people who get in trouble.
Going to a football game is like going to a drunk fest. I am one of those 49er fans who enjoy tailgating and watching the game with a drink in hand, and while there might be some heckling from me to the opposing teams fans, I am not one of those fans who taunt to start a fight. Bringing together any team’s rivals combined with drinking can lead to violence but a majority of games played in sports never see anything like what happened on Saturday. True, this was a small group of fans from both teams that lead to the violence but all it takes is a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch.
Now the 49ers will not play the Raiders in the preseason which was a tradition. I think the decision by the 49ers to discontinue games with the Raiders was an overreaction. Instead in the future the 49ers could have just doubled security for Raiders vs. 49ers games, stopped selling beer earlier like at the end of the first half and even started the games earlier in the day to avoid people getting drunk in the parking lot all day. The game started at 5pm on Saturday. Another thing the 49ers could do is ban any fans from attending 49er games in the future if they get in a fight and issue heavy fines to any perpetrators.
On Opening Day this year San Francisco Giants fan Brian Stow was severely beaten outside Dodgers Stadium and is still in the hospital in critical condition. The reaction by San Francisco Giants management was not to discontinue all of the games with the Dodgers in Los Angeles or to tell fans not to attend games or wear Giants gear. The reaction from both clubs was to beef up security at games in both San Francisco and Los Angeles and the Dodgers stopped a half-off beer promotion for the season. Jed York should have taken note of the Giants/Dodgers incident and not overreacted by halting future 49ers vs. Raiders. Now because of a few bad people we all suffer.