Visiting fans get abused in home arenas on a nightly basis in the NHL. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed that are frequently obliterated by idiots at the games, their behavior abetted by apathetic arena workers who don’t feel it’s their need to protect fans where the “other” colors.
Thing is, in 2015, there’s finally a palpable pushback against the misogynistic, homophobic and racist taunts that make the arena a hostile environment., thanks to advent of social media. The latest example comes from the Nassau Coliseum.
Nate “Igor” Smith is a member of NYC Caps Fans, a group that went en masse to watch Game 3 of the Washington Capitals’ series at the New York Islanders. The abuse the group suffered was chronicled on his Tumblr, Driven By Boredom:
Unfortunately once the game started things went decidedly downhill. We were told to shut up and yelled all manor of things at us. The fans directly around us were pretty friendly but the people a few rows in front and a few rows behind were not. When the Islanders scored their first goal one of the guys behind me poured beer all over me. Homophobic [B.S.]was shouted at us all game and my friend Fatou had a number of racist comments directed at her.
Our group had bought seats in two different sections so during the second intermission we all met up at one of the out door smoking areas. We walked in together and were booed by everyone. It seemed good natured at first but then we were surrounded and things took a much darker turn. We were surrounded by several dozens of Islanders fans, some of whom blew smoke into the girls in our group’s faces. Several of them were actually pushing us but we clearly weren’t about to start a fight with that many people. I just held my Caps “Unleash The Fury” towel above my head (as seen in the above photos) and just took all the boos and chants of A-hole and fun stuff like “f--k you [homophobic slur]”.
At some point a drunk Islanders fan grabbed the rally towel out of my hands and as I tried to get it back Islanders fans swarmed me and it looked like it was going to turn into a brawl but security was quick to break it up. Of course the security guard blamed it on me for “instigating a fight” when all I was doing was silently holding a rally towel and smiling. When someone threw a bottle at our group I told the same security guard about it and he said “no one is throwing anything at you” despite the bottle landing at his feet.
Then, in the parking lot, a Capitals fan claimed his car was keyed and his back licensed plate was stolen after the game.
“We are disappointed by the reported actions of a select group of fans that attended Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. The alleged racist or homophobic remarks directed at several Washington Capitals fans are by no means associated with or supported by New York Islanders organization. Islanders fans, who are made up of THE best of the world’s melting pot, are some of the most respectful, passionate and knowledgeable in the NHL. The inappropriate actions of a few individuals does not represent Islanders fans as a whole. We expect our fans to continue to be the loudest and most respectful fans in the NHL.”
So … not an apology, and nothing about arena staff.
At least when the Canadiens paid lip service to the Ottawa Senators fans that were abused at Bell Centre, the thought of investigating the issue with regard to arena staff’s failures to protect them was mentioned. The Islanders seem content with #NotAllFans and pushing it all aside.
Hey, maybe they know it’s Brooklyn’s problem now …