In the two-plus years of writing here I’ve learned two things: That there are plenty of stupid sports fans, and things move incredibly fast online. This post involves both of those things.
There are literally dozens of stupid things like this that go viral every year, but what I found most interesting about this incident is this: The Bruins actually acknowledged that this happened. In fact, they made a video about it.
I suppose it’s not groundbreaking work, but it’s not often a franchise will make light of a negative incident involving fans, especially inside a venue. How many videos of brawling fans go without comment, or how many times does a fan running on the field get brushed aside?
What the Bruins did was admit something bad happened, and it actually worked in their favor. The video was funny, it was an implied reprimand, and it actually turns out to be good publicity for the team. When most bad things happen the formula is to avoid talking about it until it blows over, until the next thing gets someone in trouble and we forget all about it.
Maybe that’s for the best, but I admire what the Bruins did in this situation. It’s a very little, stupid thing that happened and no one will ever talk about in a few months. But instead of pretending not to see it, they put a guy in a bear suit and made a few people laugh.
What I never understand about these incidents is that they clearly aren’t isolated to a single group of fans, so why pretend they are a certain team’s problem? Every team has irresponsible fans that cross the line in a number of ways, and the logo or colors they wear don’t stop them from being stupid.
For example, I went to the Bills game on Sunday and sat around a number of very drunk people. That was to be expected, but at the end of the game the guy behind me somehow slices his thumb open and gets blood everywhere. Suddenly there’s blood on my chair and he’s drunkenly telling everyone it’s okay.
When security comes by to see if he is actually okay, he becomes belligerent and threatens a pair of sherrifs who just want him to stop bleeding. They want what we all want, blood to start clotting, but he decided he wanted to fight a stranger wearing bright yellow. Eventually another, more sober season ticket holder calms him down and convinces him to get some medical attention.
This was a minor distraction and I couldn’t sit for the rest of the game, but I didn’t exactly walk away from that incident with ill will towards Bills fans. I mean, how could I? Not only have I seen worse things at football games, but I’m well aware of similar things happening throughout the league. People drink, they make bad decisions and think irrationally.
Of course, it takes a bit of logical thinking to come to that conclusion. Some people go to Sabres games in Tampa Bay or Florida or Arizona and come away thinking all Sabres fans are rude morons, and maybe a few Lions fans near me won’t have a good story to tell. We all have these notions backed by a story or two, but does anyone really think every single fan of a team acts a certain way?
I’d like to think that by now, when we see so much so fast in the blogosphere, that we can move past the idea that a single fan base is responsible for stupid things. If there is a group to blame it is not defined by a logo or city, but a personality type and blood alcohol limit.
(Or maybe Four Loko. I hear that’s what is really killing America these days.)
In any event, it was interesting to see the Bruins approach a bad bit of press the way they did. Too bad all Bruins fans are drunken brunettes who hate the structural integrity of TD Garden.
They’re going to need a whole bunch of plaster.