Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Is Up With All This Sports Violence By Fans?

I have been a sports pig since the 1960's when as a teenager I was very much into the Los Angeles Dodgers. As I got older, and lived for a few years in San Diego, I also became a Charger football fan, and my secondary baseball team became the Padres (thanks to the work of Dick Williams as the manager, who took the Padres to their only World Series). Then, after I bought season tickets to the Kings hockey team, my girlfriends and I used to travel all across the States and Canada to go to games. Sometimes we'd wear our home jerseys, sometimes we'd wear a different team jersey. We did not always go to see the Kings play. For example, every October we would go to New York and see the Rangers, the Devils and the Islanders. It did not matter who they were playing. And it never really mattered what jersey we would wear to the games.

After the beatdown on the Giants fan at the opening season of last year's Dodger game, I thought perhaps this type of thing would lessen given all the attention to the poor guy that was thugged. But now, there's this:

It turns out that the Rangers fan who was pummeled by Flyers fans after Monday's NHL Winter Classic game in Philadelphia was an off-duty police officer and a decorated veteran of the Iraq War.

NBC New York reports that Neal Auricchio, 30, was beaten so badly he was hospitalized with a concussion. He is a former Marine who earned a Purple Heart in Iraq, and then returned for a second tour of duty. Auricchio currently is a police officer in New Jersey with the Woodbridge Police Department.

In 20 years of being a hockey fan, I have never ever witnessed a real "fight" between fans. Yeah, a lot of heckling, yelling and taunting, but nothing close to a beatdown of a fan of the other team.

More reminders of the state of decay this country is in.

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