The recent incidents of fan violence in the Bay Area, concluding in assaults and shootings tied to last Saturday's preseason contest between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, has led to the cancellation of the annual exhibition series. Both teams were prompted to make statements on the matter.
For Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask, the most disturbing blowback of the violence is that the team's fans, stereotyped as a large group of freaky biker rejects and Darth Vader-dressed dudes bent on full-time destruction, get more heat than ever when things like this happen.
"Let me tell you on a personal level, it couldn't be more troubling," Trask told San Francisco radio station 97.5 The Game. "Let's be a little bit direct about this. It's not just a stereotype of fans and the citizens in the community. The media engage in this stereotyping as well. We all know better than to stereotype. ... Yet in situations like these, people make an immediate rush to judgment and to stereotype. I will tell you, and I could be more passionate about this ... the overwhelming majority of the Raiders fans, and fans of the 49ers, and fans of all NFL teams, are terrific, terrific people. We have to resist the urge to let the behavior of a handful of people color our view of the fanbase as a whole."
Trask also sounded open to more exhibitions between the 49ers and Raiders before the kibosh was eventually put on the whole idea. "Well, we have a terrific working relationship with the 49ers and we will continue to discuss our game and our business relations in the manner we always do, which is a cooperative, collaborative, congenial manner. I have every confidence that the 49er organization, led by Jed York, and the Raider organization will have conversations on all our ongoing business practices as time goes forward."
Of course, that's moot now.
San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York has a rather unique take on the recent violence — in a statement that undoubtedly made commissioner Roger Goodell as happy as can be, York said that the proposed 18-game regular season would have prevented a lot of these messes.
No, really. He said that.
"I think when you have a preseason game, when you don't have your regular-season ticket holders coming to a game, I think that plays a big factor into it," York told Bay Area station KNBR on Monday. "I think that's another reason why the NFL is looking at, you know, trying to revamp the preseason schedule."
Uh, what? The worst part of this statement is that Goodell will undoubtedly start using it as more ammo for the 18-game idea, which will gain traction among the owners over the next few years even with a newly ratified collective bargaining agreement. Goodell's arguments have never been especially solid in that regard — he once told a group of season-ticket holders via conference call that the 18-game schedule would somehow decrease the amount of money it costs fans to go to games, without actually providing any proof or planning.
We're on board with Trask's take — it's cool that she's sticking up for her team's fans (at least the ones who deserve the defense). We have no specific opinion on York's statement, because we're at a complete loss as to what two fewer preseason weeks per season have to do with decreasing fan violence.