Monday, April 18, 2011

6 comments John Steigerwald Thinks If You Were Shot To Death By a Gang It's Your Fault For Wearing a Red Shirt

There's not much introduction needed for this article. John Steigerwald wrote an article about the Giants fan, Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten by Dodgers fans. No matter what Steiegerwald tries to say in his non-apology post on his website, (which is now down) it sounds like he is blaming the fan for wearing a Giants uniform. So here's the article he originally wrote. I hope it got enough pageviews for him and those who allowed this to be posted. I can't help but think this article was written simply to increase pageviews and be "controversial." Of course Steigerwald would probably deny this. He's all about "no punches being pulled," so I guess that prevents him from understanding how this article was offense and stupid.

Maybe it's time for sports fans to grow up.

Says the guy who is a sports anchor and makes his money off sports fans who purchase his books and listen to his opinion. Sports fans growing up may be bad for the burgeoning Steigerwald Empire.

As I'm writing this, Bryan Stow, a 42-year-old paramedic with two kids from Santa Cruz, is in a medically induced coma in a Los Angeles hospital with a fractured skull and serious brain injuries.

Stow went to the Los Angeles Dodgers' home opener on April 1 wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey. That was obviously too much for two 20-something men wearing Dodger blue to handle. Witnesses say that after the game, they came up on Stow from behind in the parking lot, knocked him down and kicked him as they spewed expletives about the San Francisco Giants.

There's the background for those that don't know. This is the highlight of this article. It gets worse from here.

It's probably safe to say that the two "Dodgers" were high on something or things,

Those kids and their drugs!

These guys were probably drunk, maybe that is "high" in Steigerwald's world. I'm pretty sure T.J. Simers would blame this entire incident on Marcus Thames. If he didn't suck so bad defensively in left field then Dodgers fans wouldn't be so angry. Look what you've done now Marcus Thames!

but somewhere in their sick, juvenile minds, they probably also thought they were doing their duty as Dodger fans.

They were protecting Dodger turf.

The key words here are "sick, juvenile minds" because most sports fans aren't like this and won't beat the crap out of someone for wearing an opposing team's jersey. God knows if Atlanta Braves fans beat the crap out of fans wearing the opposing team's jersey at Turner Field then attendance without the opposing team's fans around would decline by at least 65%.

Just before he was beaten to within an inch of his life, Stow texted some friends and said that he was "scared inside the stadium."

Was it the most intelligent thing that Stow did that day by wearing a Giants jersey into Dodgers stadium? No, it wasn't because he was drawing attention to himself and probably would get heckled. So if getting heckled and gaining attention for it bothered him then wearing a Giants jersey wasn't smart. That's as far as we could expect this to go though. So while it wasn't smart for reasons of being heckled, he is in no way to blame for the actions of his assailants. There is no reason to think wearing a Giants jersey would result in almost being murdered. That's not reasonable to believe would have happened as Stow put the jersey on in the morning.

Maybe someone can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants' gear to a Dodgers' home opener

Maybe the person can ask Stow this question, then get kicked in the face by a horse. Stow didn't think it was a good idea, he just wanted to support his team. Again, there is no way anyone could have expected the end result of him wearing the Giants jersey. It is not like he was wearing Crips colors while cruising through the Bloods territory. It was a baseball game. The worst thing that would happen is Stow got heckled. Apparently he could handle that.

Steigerwald will say in his non-apology, which I will get to in a minute, that he wasn't intending this as a snide comment and I believe him. He meant it as a comment to put some of the blame for the beating on Stow himself. As if a group of sports fans can't reasonably be expected to see a Giants uniform in the stands and not immediately attempt to murder the person wearing the jersey.

when there was a history of out-of-control drunkenness and arrests at that event going back several years.

There was a history of out-of-control drunkenness and arrests. Not beatings and a history of anyone wearing a Giants jersey immediately getting nearly murdered.

Remember when it was the kids who were wearing the team jerseys to games?

No, I do remember when everyone who went to a baseball game was dressed up in a shirt and tie. Should we go back to those days as well? You know, as long as a gentleman isn't wearing a Giants tie to the game of course. That shit will get you rightfully beaten.

It was a common sight to see an adult male coming through the turnstile dressed as a regular human being with a kid dressed in a "real" jersey holding his hand.

So we are to believe the same assholes that would beat an adult to within an inch of his life, would completely lay off a kid who was at a Dodgers game wearing a Giants jersey? They are morons who beat a man for wearing a jersey, why would the fact a kid is wearing the jersey stop them from heckling the kid or beating the kid's father for allowing his son to wear the Giants jersey? We aren't dealing with logical individuals here.

Why should kids even get to wear replica jerseys? They aren't a part of the team? They are only deluding themselves if they believe they are a part of the team.

(This is the argument that follows against replica jerseys which Steigerwald uses)

So the problem isn't who is wearing the jersey, but the fact the guys who did the beating were assholes and should be in jail. If they weren't assholes, nothing would have happened out of the ordinary.

Are the 42-year-olds who find it necessary to wear their replica jerseys to a road game, those kids who are now fathers who haven't grown up?

No. These 42 year olds are people who choose to wear a jersey to a game in support of their team. The jersey is no different than a hat or any other apparel worn to a game in support of a game. It isn't a juvenile thing to wear a replica jersey, it is a way of supporting your team and enjoying the game. Even having this discussion seems to put some of the blame for the beating on Stow himself.

Are there really 40-something men who think that wearing the jersey makes them part of the team?

That is not why they wear the jersey. The replica jerseys are worn by adults mostly to just support the team and show specific support for a certain player. If there is a large group of people in a section wearing replica football jerseys it looks pretty neat at a football game. So replica jerseys are just a way to support a player or team.

Here's tip for you if you actually think that wearing your team's jersey makes you a part of the team:

It doesn't.

Here's a tip right back at you if you actually think a person wearing a team's jersey thinks he is a part of the team:

No one thinks it does.

It sounds like John Steigerwald has a long-held grudge against replica team jerseys and has picked a terrible time for this grudge to come to the surface.

If you're an adult, and you approach them in a replica game jersey with their name on it and your face is painted, you scare them.

Well, there is a line. I don't think going to a baseball game with a replica game jersey on means a person is going to have the player sign his jersey and paint his face in anticipation of the game. I'm not sure these two actions go hand-in-hand. Adults can wear a replica jersey to a game, it doesn't mean he will act like a crazed fan-boy at the game.

If you don't put that jersey on in the locker room with them and have your own name on your jersey, you're not one of them.

So Bryan Stow, you may have gotten the shit beaten out of you, but you deserved it because you wore a jersey to the game and think you are a part of the Giants team. It's karma, you know. You act like a child and wear a replica team jersey, you will get rightfully beaten.

Obviously, not every fan who wears his team's jersey to a game is looking for someone from "the enemy" to beat up.

I would say 0% are looking for this result.

But maybe somebody should do a psychological study to find out if all those game jerseys have contributed to the new mob mentality that seems to exist in the stands these days.

There is just something about game jerseys that cause fans to go all crazy. I bet this isn't a problem when it comes to hats with the opposing team's logo on it, which have been worn to baseball games for as long as I can remember. Weird how that would work isn't it?

There's an outside chance that alcohol plays a role but apparently, the teams have ruled that out and continue to sell $9 beers.

Let's see...what causes poor judgment and violence...excessive amounts of beer or replica game jerseys?

I know Steigerwald is attempting sarcasm here, but I don't care. Clearly, it is replica game jerseys. I know for a fact every fight I have seen occur has been a result of two sober people fighting because they don't like each other's replica team jersey. That's why bars are such peaceful places, while athletic events routinely involve the brutal beating of fans, which ends only in the death of the person who wears the least offensive replica team jersey.

If you're one of two or three guys wearing Steelers jerseys sitting in the middle of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland, guess what? The Steelers players can't see you

Actually, the Steelers players probably could see the Steelers jerseys if they looked hard enough. Not to mention Steelers fans travel well and tend to be very loud in their support for the Steelers at games, but you don't hear many instances of Steelers fans being beaten to death. They probably avoid wearing replica team jerseys and just wave their towels, which as anyone with a brain knows, doesn't irritate the home team's fans at all to have yellow towels waved everywhere in their home stadium.

If you're set upon by a bunch of drunken adults wearing dog costumes, you probably shouldn't expect any help from the guys on the field who are wearing the jerseys that look just like yours.

Yeah Bryan Stow, you are in this on your own. If you are a crazy person and think the Giants had your back then you were dead wrong. You most likely got what you deserved because you were wearing a jersey only kids should be wearing, thought you were part of the Giants team and expected the Giants players to have your back. The joke's on you.

Why not just go to the Browns game in Cleveland dressed as a regular human being? When did it become necessary to wear a uniform to the game?

Bryan Stow was dressed as a regular human being. He just had a Giants uniform on. It isn't necessary to wear a uniform to a game, it is just a fun way to show support for your team. When did it become necessary to blame a beating victim for the crime that was committed against him?

So on his blog, which I linked in the introduction, John Steigerwald defends his point of view. Of course, by the time I had written this far the blog had gotten taken down. Thank God for Google Cache.

The part Steigerwald quotes from his article is in black bold parenthesis and his "explanation" is in bold black.

Maybe somevbody can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants gear to a Dodgers’ home opener when there was a history of out of control drunkeness and arrests at that event going back several years.

For that sentence, I am being accused of “blaming” Stow and saying that he had it coming. Two of the more popular analogies are the one about a woman who’s wearing a short skirt “asking” to be raped and the the one about the provocatively dressed rape victim who ”had it coming.”

That's exactly how it sounds. If I wrote a post about a homosexual man who had gotten the shit beaten out of him at a bar for dressing in bright colors and wearing guy-liner, then in the post that followed wrote in confused anger as to why people insist on going out to bars drawing attention to themselves by wearing outrageous outfits...wouldn't it sound a bit like I was blaming the homosexual man for baiting the attack? Just a little bit?

That's what Steigerwald did. He wrote an account of the event and then asked why someone would dress that way at an away baseball game.

To say that Stow’s decision to wear the Giants jersey resulted in his beating is not the same as blaming him or saying that he had it coming. It is, however questioning the wisdom of ANYBODY wearing Giants gear to Dodgers Stadium on opening day, when fans have been drinking and tailgating all day.

Oh ok. So Steigerwald wasn't BLAMING Stow, he just didn't know why Stow baited the Dodgers fans by wearing a Giants jersey to the game. So he isn't saying Stow had it coming, he is just saying by dressing in a Giants jersey at a Dodgers home game should have known he would gotten beaten to within an inch of his life. So it is not his fault for getting beat up for wearing a Giants jersey, but it is his fault for wearing a Giants jersey.

A day or two earlier, I had interviewed a reporter for the Los Angeles Times on my internet radio show and he spent several minutes talking about how the crowds had changed –for the worse– at Dodger Stadium over the years.

Bryan Stow can't say you didn't warn him then!

Nowhere did I imply that Stow deserved what happened to him. I thought that the difference between DESERVING a consequence and unwittingly contributing to one was implicit.

Yes, WE are all the stupid ones. I guess I just got confused about the entire article that followed the account of Stow's beating that was railing fans for wearing a team's replica jersey to a game.

I still have a problem with Steigerwald saying Stow unwittingly contributed to his beating. Why shouldn't he be allowed to wear a Giants jersey to a Dodgers game? Shouldn't people be rational and non-violent enough to just heckle the guy? Where is the logic behind knowing a person is wearing a Giants jersey to Dodger stadium, while also knowing this could contribute to him nearly be beaten to death? Yes, Stow may have unwittingly contributed to his beating, but this wasn't foreseeable. So an entire article railing against team replica jerseys is insensitive at best.

I was simply asking if, after the fact, and knowing the recent problems at Dodgers Stadium, Stow will be regretting or second guessing his decision to wear the jersey.

Obviously he regrets the decision. Do I unwittingly contribute to my death in a car accident merely by choosing to get in a vehicle that gets hit by a driver running a red light? Is this a directly foreseeable occurrence merely from choosing to get in my car?

I know it makes for a better story if there’s a guy out there telling a comatose father of two that he deserves to be in a coma, but it wasn’t written in this column,

No, it wasn't written, but it was implied from the entire content of the article that followed the account of Stow's beating.

Are the 42 year -olds, (Some took this as a shot at Stow specifically –it was not meant to be.) who find it necessary to wear their replica jerseys to a road game, those kids who are now fathers who haven’t grown up? (It might not have been seen as insensitive if I had written 40-something instead of 42–Stow’s age.)

( Here is where I comment on the adult jersey phenomenon because I think the fans’ lack of perspective has contributed to the escalating violence at games –especially NFL games.)

Of course, the main reason for this lack of perspective is, you guessed it, replica team jerseys.

Here’s a tip for you if you actually think that wearing your team’s jersey makes you a part of the team:

It doesn’t.”

(My point here is that this feeling of being part of the team –reinforced by sitting in a crowd of people all wearing the same jersey –is a possible contributor to over the top behavior and/or violence.)

How the hell does wearing the same jersey reinforce the feeling of being part of a team any more than fans wearing regular team's shirts, hats, shoes or any other apparel? Is it something about the jersey that causes violence? Clearly if I go to a Carolina Panthers game I know I am a part of a large crowd that is cheering for them, I don't need a bunch of replica jerseys to reinforce this thinking.

I don’t, for one second, blame Brian Stow for the beating he took. I do blame the ever increasing out of control, out of perspective behavior by fans,

Yet, nowhere in his article, outside of giving the account of the incident, did John Steigerwald take the fans who beat other team's fans to task for being excessively violent. No, he focused on guys like Bryan Stow, who were replica team jerseys to games. So by focusing COMPLETELY on what Stow is wearing and mentioning almost nothing about the perpetrators of the crime, John Steigerwald puts the focus of the problem on Bryan Stow's behavior of wearing a replica Giants jersey.

I know Steigerwald tries to talk himself out of the corner on this one, but it is hard to believe he isn't blaming Stow when the entire column Steigerwald wrote is focused on mocking the attire Stow wore to the game. He can talk his way around it, but the column as it stands essentially blames Stow partially for the attack without coming out and saying it directly.


Martin F. said...

The writer also assumes that people going to games should do some long investigation into recent safety and criminal incidents at the stadium. Guy bought a ticket, was going to the game. He's probably gone to Dodger v Giant games in Frisco and didn't see anything like this, so sure wasn't thinking he'd be running for his life after the game.

Sadly, I think that the point that Steigerwald thinks he was making, could be made in a non-offensive fashion by a decent writer. Covering the broader overall concepts of tribalism, violence, uniforms, booze. It would make an interesting social sciences article I think.

Steigerwald also makes claims that have no basis in fact. There is no tailgating at Dodger Stadium, it isn't allowed and the security actually patrols around to stop that. It might actually be better if it did allow it, because instead you get young men standing around drinking out of "water" bottles and such, getting hammered, while everybody else goes inside.

Lastly. I've been to Dodger Stadium about 120 times in my life. Since the McCourts bought the team, safety has gone to hell in comparison to the old times. Under the O'Malley's and Fox, there was a constant security presence. Ushers in every aisle who would patrol and make reports ALL the time to security, who routinely came down and talked to people or removed them from the stadium for being obnoxious, much less violent. Always lots of patrol cars in the parking lots maintaining flow of traffic and safety. Under the McCourts they were reduced to 4 cars in the outer circle. 4 cars to police 40k people. An absolute joke because McCourt is a cheap ass. This lead to a rise in problems in the parking areas, and also the bleachers in the outfields.

I haven't been to a game in 3 years because of all these problems. It's a beautiful stadium, and the teams been decent, but the safety and hassels of dealing with it all just isn't worth it now. It's easier to make the drive to see the Angels play in a stadium that under Arte Moreno HAS increased it's security awareness, and is a nice place to take a family to the game....Rally Monkey not withstanding.

Martin F. said...

Opps, missed putting in that security patrols around to stop the tailgating because it costs McCourt concession money. This security only seems present for pre-game parking lot patrols though.

rich said...

Here's the problem that I have with stupid ass arguments like this: they're logically inconsistent.

Snow is berated for being 42 and wearing a replica jersey, while the people who were protecting Dodger turf are defended. How is it more juvenile to wear a jersey at 40 than it is to beat someone within an inch of their life under the name of "protecting the turf"?

I'm sorry, but "protecting the turf" is something that is more childish than wearing a fucking jersey.

Here's tip for you if you actually think that wearing your team's jersey makes you a part of the team:

It doesn't.

Here's a fucking tip for those of you who think beating someone half to death is "defending the turf":

It isn't.

If you're one of two or three guys wearing Steelers jerseys sitting in the middle of the Dawg Pound in Cleveland, guess what? The Steelers players can't see you

He's missing the entire point of why people wear a fucking jersey. I wear my Jeff Carter jersey when I'm watching games at home watching on tv and I'm almost positive that the players can't see me then.

When did it become necessary to wear a uniform to the game?

When did it become okay to attack people who root for a different team than you? Why is it so wrong to wear a damn jersey, but completely acceptable to act like a complete jackass because someone likes a different team than you.

It is, however questioning the wisdom of ANYBODY wearing Giants gear to Dodgers Stadium on opening day, when fans have been drinking and tailgating all day.

He wore a jersey. From all indications that was the only thing he did wrong. He didn't insult or antagonize anyone, he wore a god damn motherfucking jersey and some morons thought acceptable action was to nearly kill him.

I went to a Mets - Phils game last year at the new Shea, didn't wear any Phillies' clothing, didn't cheer too loudly and generally kept my mouth shut the entire game because I knew one asshole fan out of the thousand that were around me would take offense.

It was by far the most boring, unexciting and joyless experience I have ever had at a sporting event.

If you can't go to a game and cheer for the team you're rooting for what's the point in going? The joy and happiness we get from sports is entirely from the fact that you follow a team for so long that their ups become your ups; their downs your downs. You aren't a part of the team, but you share many of the same emotions. To blame anyone for going to a game and trying to take part in that is so stupid I cannot fathom it.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin F, I don't think the guy did any research into the stadium and really why should he? You wouldn't think you could get beaten to death at a game.

The point that is being reached for here could easily be made by a better writer or a better point of view. Using those four themes you talked about it would work...but not this article. No way. It was in bad taste.

I am glad you told me a/b being at Dodgers stadium and the security. That puts a whole new spin on it and where the blame should go. It should go on the park if they have cut down on security and mostly the guys who beat Stow...but not on Stow for wearing a fucking jersey of the opposing team.

I complain about Braves game and the fans not being rowdy enough, but you can take your family to the game and wear whatever jersey you want.

So based on what you said, I can see the blame being:

1. The guys who did the beating.
2. The McCourts for not having sufficient security.

Not with Stow. I can't believe this article was written like it was. I can honestly say he may have had a point if he had changed the article completely. He could have a point, but the fact he didn't get how insensitive he was disturbs me.

Rich, what is funny is the entire reason Steigerwald is railing against Stow is because he thinks he is part of the team and is immature for wearing a jersey. He doesn't seem to turn this same anger on the actual perpetrators of the crime who were MORE immature and trying to defend their team. So the guy in the jersey was the victim, but it is claimed the jersey is what creates a gang mentality. I just don't get it.

I like this quote:

"When did it become okay to attack people who root for a different team than you? Why is it so wrong to wear a damn jersey, but completely acceptable to act like a complete jackass because someone likes a different team than you."

It is so true. I wear a jersey just to support the team. It's the same as a shirt or a hat. It doesn't make me want to kick someone's ass. I have to say, if Steigerwald couldn't see how talking about the incident and then talking about jerseys are immature can be seen as partly blaming Stow for his own beating...then he is blind.

It is dumb to blame a person, even in the opposing team's stadium, for cheering for their team. There may be shit being talked or heckling, but no one could foresee a beating. That's part of the fun of sports, going to a game and cheering for your team. I don't see how a jersey can incite a beating with no other inciting incident.

Martin F. said...


Two articles by Duff that I was telling Ben about. Not great writing, but better then Steigerwalds....

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, that's not extremely deep writing or anything, but coming from a non-writer it is easy to read and makes sense. I would enjoy reading what he writes from time-to-time.

Considering the source and the fact he probably has no journalistic training Duff isn't a bad writer. See, I think Steigerwald could have taken what Duff wrote in the second column and expounded on it as a professional writer and made a good column. He chose not to do that.