49ers To Curtail Tailgating; Preseason Game vs. Raiders May Be Dropped
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco 49ers are banning tailgating in the parking lot of Candlestick Park after games start, and any season ticket holders caught misbehaving on video will have their tickets revoked.
The moves announced Monday are in reaction to the violence that marred a weekend preseason NFL football game.
In addition, 49ers CEO Jed York said he will recommend to the NFL that the annual preseason game between the archrival 49ers and Oakland Raiders be put off next year.
“This is a game where you have a rivalry situation and, unfortunately you have the worst segment from a very small segment of both fan bases that come and brings about this type of event,” York said. “It’s our belief that we should recommend to the NFL that this game is at least postponed for some period of time.”
York later said, “I think that’s an easier solution. It’s unfortunate.”
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
NFL teams typically play four preseason games each year. Each team chooses one opponent and the NFL assigns the other three.
The 49ers have continually chosen the San Diego Chargers and are recommending that the NFL not schedule the Raiders.
“The degenerate behavior that happened on Saturday is not going to be tolerated,” York said. “We are not going to allow that type of behavior at our football games.”
Team officials said that they will crack down on tailgating as well in an effort to curb unruly behavior.
Tailgating will be permitted before games but not during or after the game, Vice President of Stadium Operations and Security Jim Mercurio said.
Anyone still in the parking lot once a game has started will be asked to either enter the stadium or leave the parking lot.
Ticket holders who show a pattern of unacceptable behavior could have their tickets revoked, Mercurio said.
Season ticket holders were encouraged to be careful if they sell their tickets.
“They need to pay attention to how their tickets are being exchanged,” Lee said.
San Francisco police, Mayor Ed Lee and 49ers officials also said police will set up DUI checkpoints near the stadium after all 49ers games and strictly forbid alcohol consumption then.
Three men were injured in the violence – two of them seriously – which occured both during and after the pre-season game on Saturday night. Two victims were shot in the stadium parking lot, while another man was beaten unconscious in a stadium restroom.
The conditions of the two most seriously hurt were improving Monday, according to hospital officials.
Both the San Francisco and Oakland police departments have also recommended that the annual 49ers-Raiders preseason game be eliminated, officials with the 49ers told CBS San Francisco on Monday.
The San Jose Mercury News and Oakland Tribune newspapers reported Monday that the NFL had decided to stop scheduling the rivalry game, but both 49ers officials and Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask told CBS San Francisco that no decision had yet been made on the Battle of the Bay’s long-term future.
SFPD Chief Greg Suhr told KCBS Radio that “we added substantial numbers (of officers) for Saturday’s game” and added, “obviously we were right (to do so.)”
Motives for the violence including whether they were influenced by passions surrounding the game weren’t immediately clear. Police did indicate that one of the shooting victims wore a t-shirt that read “F*ck the 49ers.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, both teams and the NFL were all quick to condemn Saturday’s violence and pledged to work with law enforcement for a solution.
“Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy an afternoon of football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence,” the mayors said in a joint statement. “The incidents are completely unacceptable.”
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
Lee, who was at the game, indicated Monday that he also personally observed numerous brawls among fans in the stands and was horrified at some of the conduct.
“We definitely have to curtail the violence,” he told KCBS Radio. “What we have to do is make everyone who comes into the stadium more responsible.”
Saturday’s attendance was a third less than a typical season game and Suhr said that there were 40 percent more officers at Saturday’s game than would be seen at a regular season game.
Despite that, he said, the amount of calls for unruly conduct rose dramatically.
“It appeared very early on that the people weren’t here to see the game,” Suhr said. “They were more inclined to engage with other people in the crowd.”
Police booked 12 people Saturday, while the average is one or two per game.
There are normally seven to 10 calls made for an ambulance but Saturday saw 50 such calls and the number of public intoxications more than doubled, Suhr said.
Former Raiders head coach and NFL broadcaster John Madden told KCBS Radio during an interview Monday that the violence at Candlestick was symptomatic of the declining fan experience at NFL stadiums across the country.
“This isn’t something that just showed up Saturday night in San Francisco,” Madden said. “Over the years, I don’t think that the clubs, the NFL have really taken care of the fans… That’s what they have to watch out for, that the parking lots in our stadiums don’t become hangouts for hooligans, and that our stadiums don’t.”
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said he “feels bad for the people who got injured and for those who had to witness it,” while Raiders head coach Hue Jackson hoped for a safer stadium environment “where we wish that people come out and enjoy a game and hopefully that those things don’t happen.”
The Candlestick Park attacks came nearly five months after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two men in Los Angeles Dodgers gear outside Dodger Stadium after the archrivals’ season baseball opener there.
That case drew widespread attention and focused a national spotlight on fan violence at sporting events.
There will be no scheduling changes to the 49ers’ upcoming Saturday game against the Houston Texans.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)