I recently returned from San Francisco, a city I consider my home away from home. I was there with friends and family to watch the 49ers vs. Giants NFC Championship game on January 22nd,2012 . We arrived at the game early and got ready for the game. The game was quickly soured by an incident in our section. Usher 137 (whose voice is featured in the video I am about to show you) created a mini police state in our section 36/38. She was constantly yelling at people that were in her opinion “excessively standing”. This highly subjective component of the fan code of conduct, was in my opinion not only being abused by the Usher, but was creating a experience that ruined the feel of an amazing playoff game. Having just come from the game a week previous the Patriots vs. Broncos where people were constantly standing, it felt totally out of place and inconsistent with a playoff game.
I will state honestly that I did not know what provoked this incident, but having been to over 10 NFL games previously (in cities across the country – Oakland, Buffalo, Foxboro and even Toronto) I have never seen a police response like this, which is part of the reason that I am writing this post. I can say in all of my dealings seeing the SFPD they have accorded themselves with professionalism and compassion. This, however, really shocked me.
The police, after not being able to get the person in question to leave their seat, proceeded to club the subject repeatedly. Everyone in our section was aghast at this. I grabbed my video camera to capture the tail end of it. What I captured was an office taking multiple swings at a seemingly unarmed with a blunt weapon in an apparent attempt to remove the man from his seat. I have seen drunk fools removed from their seats before at NFL games, but I have never seen anything like this. I was then accosted by the Usher 137, who yelled at me for recording this on video at the end of the video, seemingly knowing that she had precipitated this incident to spiral out of control with her attitude.
For the rest of the game, Usher 137 continued to harass and intimidate paying fans who were there to cheer their team to a Superbowl. She seemed to relish her position of power and was using it to lord over people there just looking to have a good time. Now those saying that I am just doing this to get attention, I first attempted to go through the official channels to notify the right authorities about this. I sincerely hope this issue is appropriately addressed.
Here was another video showing more of the incident and the usher yelling at me when I shot video of the incident.
I then took to Twitter to notify the official 49ers #Hashtag about the incident and got no response. (PS meant to say Usher not User)
I took this action because I don’t think any fan should be beaten with a club unless they used significant violence against an officer or another fan. I can appreciate what has occurred this year and the sensitivity about creating a safe environment. That said, I think when a playoff game where people are paying hundreds of dollars to cheer on their team, it should not be turned into police state. I hope that a balance can be struck between fan responsibility and maintaining appropriate security. I write this to hopefully stop future fan abuse, and demonstrate what happens when power gets out of control.
I encourage you to share this in the hope that action can be taken to prevent this in the future.