The problem with the Philly fans
A 22-year-old man lost his life. Three men now face charges in connection with the brawl.
All of this apparently started over a spilled beer in McFadden’s Restaurant, which is attached to Citizens Bank Park. Gives a whole new – darker, sadder – meaning to the term “beer muscles.”
The victim was with a group that was celebrating a bachelor’s party. He was the brother of the bride. They got into an altercation with another group of fans, who likewise had arrived at Saturday night’s game early on a bus from a Fishtown tavern.
There is no doubt that both groups were partying. They both were inside Citizens Bank Park. They both wound up in McFadden’s. They both got tossed out after fighting inside. And they both wound up in a parking lot. With deadly results.
Much is being said about this incident. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is calling for a law requiring bars and taverns to report fights to 911, instead of simply tossing the combatants out on their ear. Too often the problem does not go away simply because those involved do.
That was the case here, with deadly results.
But what I am more interested in is this whole idea of the image of a Philly fan, both locally and nationally.
Many are lamenting this latest black eye for a group many of us consider the best, most knowledgeable, most passionate sports fans in the country.
Coupled with the anonymous knucklehead who managed to use a laser pointer to distract several Cardinals’ batters during Saturday’s national TV game, this can now take its rightful place beside the booing of Santa Claus, cheering an injured Michael Irvin, pelting Jimmy Johnson with snowballs, throwing batteries at J.D. Drew, and booing the drafting of Donovan McNabb.
Our reputation is well-earned. The question remains, is it fair? Are the majority of us unfairly tarnished by a few neanderthals?
There are a few things that I no longer question. There is an element – not the majority, but certainly a sizeable one – who do not go for the thrill of the game. They go for another darker reason. They are looking for trouble, and they too often find it.
I used to see it all the time in the 700 level of the Vet during Eagles game.
They tore that place down. They haven’t vanquished some of that sentiment.
And, of course, it would be foolish to ignore the common theme that runs through almost all of these incidents. Alcohol.
Should there be tighter controls on beer sales at games? Maybe. But that wouldn’t prevent fans from tanking up before they enter the gates.
I believe the black eye Philly fans get from the national media is unfair. I’m not sure there are not the same problems in every other town.
But I don’t think there is any sense in trying to deny that there is a problem here. The question is merely how big is it? And what can be done about it?
If you have another view on this issue, I'd love to hear it. Post a comment below.
Preferably before another life is lost.