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Go Broncos! Denver is on its way to the Super Bowl, and Mile High fans will be cheering them on. But does another huge sporting event mean more violence among the fans? A discussion of the disturbing trend of fan violence and how to deal with it

by  on  News & Resources

It has been almost two years since San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. But the violence surrounding sports–all types and all venues–has only escalated. In 2012, a fan was shot after a San Francisco 49ers game at Candlestick Park. In just the last month alone, three men were stabbed in the parking lot after a Chargers v. Broncos game, and a Broncos fan was attacked by two Chargers fans in a subsequent game a few weeks later. 

Fan violence is not an American phenomenon. In fact, many people point to the riots at soccer games in Europe and South America that have been going on for years. Just last month at a soccer match in Sau Paulo, Brazil, three fans remained hospitalized a day after an eruption of violence in the stands that lasted over an hour. A police helicopter had to land on the pitch in order to end the mayhem and allow medical help access to the injured.

Why is fan violence increasing? Too much drinking before and during the games? An overall lack of civility in today’s culture? The increase in bullying in society in general combined with an adrenaline-charged, alcohol-filled environment? Your Denver personal injury attorney summarizes below the conclusions of studies done on sports fan violence in North America. The following factors may contribute to fan violence:

1. Over-identification by fans with their team of choice can lead to them reacting to a bad referee call or a loss as something suffered personally.

2. As mentioned above, alcohol plays a significant role in fan violence. Some fans spend all morning and afternoon before a game tailgating and drinking with friends, and maybe drunk before even entering the game venue. Intoxication combined with the highly charged atmosphere of sports and the deep loyalty many fans have to their teams can lead to violent results.

3. Sports can be a platform for the hyper-masculine culture, and for people who identify with that culture. The sports environment contains many triggers for such people–alcohol, fans with opposing views and team loyalties, any real or perceived unfairness to their team, with which they over-identify. 

So what can be done to make going to sporting events safer? Your Denver personal injury attorney knows that this is of special concern to Denver-area sports fans since their teams–take the Broncos as a good example right now–engender a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of loyalty, and unfortunately, an increasing amount of fan-on-fan violence. After the Bryan Stow attack at Dodger Stadium, California passed the “Improving Personal Safety at Stadiums Act” on September 7, 2012. While good intentioned, unfortunately, the violence at the Chargers and 49ers stadiums has continued.

There is an idea already being implemented at college sports stadiums: video surveillance. In a nutshell, fans can text the press box if they see what appears to be an incident about to begin or one already started. The press box tunes into the surveillance camera nearest the location of the text, and if there is indeed a problem, it notifies security and/or police. This same system could be implemented in parking lots, where a lot of fan violence occurs.

If you encounter violence at a sports venue or would like more information on fan violence, contact your Denver personal injury attorney at Levine Law today.