In 2011, the Bay Area’s two NFL teams – the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders – clashed in a preseason game at Candlestick Park. Sadly, the clash extended off the field to the parking lot. After the game, two men were shot outside Candlestick. A third man was found beaten in a stadium bathroom.
“Football is the most popular sport in our country. And the 49ers franchise is one of the most storied in the NFL. To have the game my family and I love so much tarnished in this way is disheartening,” 49ers President and CEO Jed York said in response to the violence.
The outburst of violence prompted the 49ers to ban post-kickoff tailgating and the NFL to halt the regular preseason matchup between the 49ers and Raiders. Following that episode, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a joint statement declaring that violence wouldn’t be tolerated at Candlestick or the Raiders’ O.co Coliseum.
“Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy … football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence. These games are family events and the types of images we witnessed … have no place in our arenas,” the mayors said. “Public safety remains our top priority and we are doing everything we can to ensure that when fans come to our cities and our sports arenas, they have a positive, safe and enjoyable experience.”
In the spirit of creating a “positive, safe and enjoyable experience,” here are some suggestions on how to keep out of harm’s way while tailgating at Candlestick:
- Don’t drink too much beer or other alcohol. Keep in mind that the San Francisco Police Department has ramped up efforts to nab drunk drivers who are going to or leaving 49ers games. “The officers assigned to this patrol on motorcycle and police cruisers are skilled in detection of drivers we suspect may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” police Sgt. William Murray said. “Motorcycles, in particular, allow the officer an advantage to get closer to the vehicle to see if a driver is exhibiting signs of impairment.”
- Don’t be vulgar, violent or abusive. On the team website, the 49ers say they expect “all fans visiting Candlestick Park to behave appropriately and to respect all rules and regulations of the stadium.”
- Don’t fight or taunt. Tailgaters can anonymously report out-of-order activity via text. Send a text to “69050,” type the word “BADFAN” and a <space>, and then describe the problem and location.
- Don’t make threatening remarks or gestures.
- Don’t carry any weapons.
- Don’t get involved if you witness a potentially violent situation. “We would never want anyone to put themselves or their family in danger,” the nonprofit group Fans Against Violence says.
- Don’t be hateful toward tailgaters wearing gear from rival teams. “At the end of the day, we are all fans of the sport,” Fans Against Violence says. “The smallest gesture of saying ‘hi’ or ‘welcome to our stadium’ to an opposing fan can make the largest impact!”
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on Examiner.com.