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An ugly scene in Columbus (and it’s time for the streamers to go)

As you may have heard by now, things got a tad messy at the Columbus Crew-New England Revolution match. Some overzealous Crew fans, and some folks attending the game who don’t deserve the label of fans, decided it was a good idea to through foreign objects ranging from water bottles to a lit flare, at Revs players.

As much as I wish that was the extent of the ugliness, it wasn’t. One game attendee crossed the line of all human decency by dropping a racial slur at Revs forward Kheli Dube after he scored the eventual game-winning goal. here is the video (be warned, there is some adult language):


Needless to say, the "fan" who can be heard on this video clip is an idiot, but this moron’s ignorance should not be used to paint Columbus fans with a broad brush, or signal that there is now some larger problem at hand (though I’m sure the anti-soccer crowd is lining up to use this scene to portray everthing wrong with soccer).

What is definitely a problem is the league’s policy toward allowing fans to throw streamers on the field during the game. I was originally indifferent about it, and after spending time in the South End standing alongside Toronto FC fans as they threw streamers, I thought it was all pretty harmless and felt like it added a nice element to the game.

The problem is the line from harmless to harmful can easily be crossed once you allow it and once some out of control fans make the stupid decision to throw anything from coins to batteries to bottles. It is nearly impossible for stadium security to find those guilty of throwing the dangerous stuff when a showering of streamers is coming from the stands.


Watching Steve Ralston pick up a lit flare and toss it aside was interesting enough, but the shower of objects that weren’t streamers was definitely out of control and I can’t see how MLS isn’t going to revisit its policy.

I’m sure the one racial epithet dropped by one Crew fan will gain the attention, as it should because racism cannot be tolerated anywhere, but it is time for the league to re-think the streamers. As someone who was once pro-streamer, I don’t mind admitting I was wrong. It’s time for MLS officials to admit the same thing.

What do you think about the incidents at the Crew-Revs match? How do you feel about streamers? Is it time for them to be banned? Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m a Revs fan. The Crew fan is an idiot, but I think it’s important to remember that we have racist a-hole Revs fans, as well.

    After MLS Cup last fall, my girlfriend (all 125 lbs. of her) had to confront some Revs fan who was yelling racial epithets in the councourse of RFK (while I was in the bathroom).

  2. this guy is a d1ck – and should have been identified by the stewards and tossed out/arrested…

    he’d be a d1ck at anything he was attending/ doing, the location is irrelevant

    as for epl or european atmosphere people rarely throw things in my experience, but cursing/swearing is nothing if it isnt a kids/family section then what is the problem? I’ve been to other sports and the language and behaviour is equally as bad

  3. i still don’t think the streamers were that bad, i mean he got the corner-kick off, didn’t he?

    i think this is all part of the game. this is what home-field advantage should be!

    now i don’t like the lit flares on the field, never have, never will. i don’t like the profanity & racial slurs. but like Ives said, that particular fan is an idiot. and let’s face it, soccer games are wild. profanity exists in every ball game, but racism shouldn’t exist anywhere !!!

    the scene didn’t look so bad to me, try watching a game in europe or s. america. even (american) football games get pretty rowdy. MLS should take care of the DANGEROUS objects being thrown on the field & the racism, everything seems OK to me.

  4. There are always some stupid people who call themselves fans and just do stupid things. They should be thrown from the game and be banned from ever entering an MLS game. I love soccer but I hate the hooligasm, that is not passion it is just plain stupidity.

  5. This is another case of American SOCCER fans thinking they need to act like European football fans to legitimize their support for a club. NEWSFLASH – You don’t have to act like a hooligan to be a “real fan”

    We are Americans. Racial violence, taunting, and assault have not been a part of our sport’s landscape for many years.

    Why can’t we support the game without the violence?

    I think some people feel like it’s the fanaticism that makes soccer elsewhere great. They are wrong! The game is what we should love and to hell with all the other crap!

  6. I don’t think the issue has anything to do with streamers and confetti being completely banned from the stands, it has to do with “When is it appropriate to throw streamers and confetti?” Goal celebrations, at the end of the game, as the teams walk out onto the field…I have no problem with that. The issue people have is that pelting a player with objects while they are trying to take a corner directly influences the game.

    Having to deal with people yelling and screaming is a “mental” and not a “physical” problem for the players to deal with. Pelting players with streamers during corner kicks, is physically influencing the game and I think that goes beyond the scope of what fans are allowed to do at sporting events.

  7. I believe that the Columbus supporters’ groups, Columbus Crew, and Major League Soccer(MLS)are taking the right approach to deal with the situation: attempt to identify the person responsible for using the racial epithet and take action if so, a lifetime ban from Crew Stadium seemingly a good fit.

    In addition, I think it would be good for the Crew to implement a zero tolerance policy in the supporters’ section when it comes to throwing objects other than streamers. In short, if you throw a bottle, cup of beer, cup of water, coins, batteries, etc., you get kicked out of the match immediately, and to start, for the rest of the season.

    This is a case of a few bad apples who really shouldn’t be allowed to spoil the bunch, and it would be in everyone’s best interests to take an intelligent and considered approach to the situation.


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