Are too many Seahawk fans becoming alcohol-fueled bullies?
Two NFL fans witnessed troubling behavior from Seahawks fans at last Sunday’s Seahawks-49ers game at CenturyLink Field that led to unsolicited emails sent this week to The Seattle Times. Sarah Brown of Vancouver, Wash., and Rick Turner of Snoqualmie offer two very different perspectives – one a newcomer’s viewpoint and the other that of a longtime Seahawk fan – before Sunday’s final regular-season home game against the St. Louis Rams.
By Sarah Brown
My friends and family purchased 36 tickets to the Seahawks-49ers game Dec. 23 game, a trip we had planned since September. Our group, which was almost evenly split between Seahawk and 49er fans, headed up to Seattle to have a great time and enjoy the game.
Unfortunately, neither of those things happened.
Before the game, as we walked down First Avenue to CenturyLink Field, both my 14-year-old son and his friend, were verbally assaulted by Seahawks fans because they were wearing 49ers items. My son’s friend was wearing an Oregon Ducks rain jacket. One Seahawks fan walking behind us screamed at him, “Do you know what I (bleeping) hate more than the (bleeping) Niners? The (bleeping) Oregon Ducks!”
I told him, “He is 14 years old! He is just a kid, and you need to shut up!” The fan apologized.
About three minutes later, a Seahawks fan screamed in my son’s face: “The Niners (bleeping) suck! Go the (bleep) home!”
When I yelled at the fan to shut up, he told me, “Shut the (bleep) up!” and disappeared into the crowd.
At this point, I was fuming. It looked like a long night. It was just the beginning.
Inside the stadium, we walked up the ramps that led up to our seats. Three Seahawks fans walked by, and one stuck his face inches from my husband’s face and screamed profanity about the Niners, then ran away.
Throughout the game, every 49er fan in our group was screamed at, cussed at, even pushed and threatened that they were “going to get their ass kicked.” If any 49er fan left his or her seat, they had to take a Seahawk “bodyguard” with us.
We couldn’t enjoy the game because our primary concern was our safety.
Finally, we decided to leave the game midway through the third quarter. On my way to the restroom, a Seahawks fan screamed in my face: “Go the (bleep) home, you (bleeping) bunch of losers!”
I’d had enough and screamed back at him, “I guess it’s true what they say about Seahawk fans.” I used a choice word of my own.
He turned around to confront me: “What the (bleep) did you just say to me?” My husband guided me into the restroom, and another Seahawk fan kept the angry fan away from my husband, diffusing the situation.
We did meet some very nice Seahawks fans, but they were sorely outnumbered by the ones who weren’t. Every Niner fan we talked to endured the same treatment.
Security and event staff were too busy taking care of intoxicated fans and escorting them out to help us. We couldn’t get any of them to help us. We witnessed several people being escorted out before the game even started.
I was warned before we went to the game that Seahawks fans can be rough toward the visiting team, but I never imagined that we would be subjected to anything like that.
This was my son’s first professional football game, and it will probably be his last. He told me that he never wants to go to another pro football game.
I have been told that confrontations and violence are not limited to Seahawks games and are common throughout the NFL. If that’s true, I am appalled that teams and venues accept such behavior and don’t do more to provide for the safety of fans.
We are Washington natives, but a trip to Seattle will likely not happen again, even for non-sports events. We will not support a town whose fans behave that way.
Being a fan means that you are an extension of the team, and in a sense, a representative of the team you support. The Seahawks were not represented well by their rude, childish, violent and classless fans Sunday.
Sarah Brown is an executive assistant and a native of the Pacific Northwest who lives in Vancouver, Wash., with her husband, two children and dog.
By Rick Turner
Dr. Turner has made his diagnosis: The 12th Man is experiencing a manic episode. I’m not talking about any of you – or us – individually. I’m talking about Seahawks fans in general.
Right now, we are like the 7-year-old who just pounded 27 Pixie sticks and is running around the house, bouncing off walls, singing songs and terrorizing the family dog. That is until the next Seahawks loss brings on the sugar crash and our inevitable meltdown.
There is no in between with us. It is freakout time all the time.
Between the epic and consecutive beat downs of Arizona, Buffalo and San Francisco, the appeal and win of Richard Sherman’s case, the recently released Pro Bowl voting, the Russell Wilson-for-Rookie of the Year-debate, playoff talk and the Seattle-is-getting-snubbed-by-the-national-media hysteria, the 12th Man has worked up a fine lather.
Only a few weeks ago, after losing to the lowly Dolphins, the sky was falling on Number 12.
I have just one word for my fellow Seahawk fans:
I get it. We deserve this. We’ve been down for a long time, but let’s slow down and stop worrying about whether New England or Denver will be a better matchup in New Orleans in February.
I’m excited about the Seahawks. We should all be excited. But can we just take it down a notch before we slip into a sugar coma?
Seahawks home games are amazing to go to but they have turned into oversized frat parties without the red Solo cups and sorority girls. I went to a bar fight and a football game broke out. It’s a booze-infused, chest-puffing contest with all the stability of nitroglycerin, ready to explode at any moment.
Like it did last week, when I witnessed a Niners fan get jumped by two Seahawks “fans” who randomly cold-cocked him, blind-siding him and knocking him out in the middle of the CenturyLink concourse for nothing more than wearing another team’s jersey. Other people looked on and cheered.
You can’t sit in your seat without your senses being bombarded by more vulgarities than a Quentin Tarantino movie marathon. I’m a big boy. I can handle that sort of thing, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to bring their son or daughter into that environment. I certainly wouldn’t. In fact, the Seahawk game experience is so kid unfriendly that they should consider posting Mr. Yuk stickers on the doors of the building.
None of that stuff is the fault of the Seahawks. It’s our fault. We’re the ones acting like idiots.
Maybe it has always been this way, but it seems to be getting worse. Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren was the type of guy you didn’t want to disappoint, even as a fan. There seemed to be a certain decorum that you didn’t want to breach. Pete Carroll is the type of guy who makes you want to do a keg stand, get naked and streak through the Quad. That’s not a knock on Coach Carroll.
Rise above the hyperbole heard in other NFL cities. Don’t turn Seahawk games into an Oakland Raider-type circus. Don’t beat a guy into a coma because he’s wearing the wrong jersey, like they do in L.A. And don’t live and die with every Seahawk win and loss.
Let’s enjoy the moment, but relax and take a deep breath.
After the embarrassment of riches over the past three weeks for Seahawk fans, I am hoping for three things:
First, that our expectations can be tempered a bit with a little realism.
Second, that our current manic state doesn’t end up crashing and burning in disastrous despair.
And, finally, that we win Sunday against St. Louis and all the other pieces fall into place so we earn the NFC’s No. 2 seed and beat Green Bay in a home rematch of the controversial “Monday Night Football” game. Then we keep winning, all the way to getting a shot at Peyton Manning and Denver on Feb. 3 in New Orleans. I can break out my 1983 Bronco Buster T-shirt – or a handful of lithium.
Rick Turner of Snoqualmie is a former Sonics executive who is now an unemployed pro/college basketball coach. He wrote a book, “If My Name was Phil Jackson … Would You Read This?” and is a first-generation Seahawks fan who has followed the team since 1976.
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