Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Commentary

From the Editor’s Chair:
First of all, we’d like to state that we were not at Sunday’s game between the Packers and Vikings, but we have attended eight contests between these two rivals over the years. Therefore, we feel that we are qualified to comment further.

After Sunday’s game, a fight occurred at a sports bar near Lambeau Field, in which a Packers’ fan was knocked unconscious by a Vikings’ fan. The victim was actually trying to break up the fight. What we know of the incident comes solely from articles in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, so we conclude that the facts are correct. We should state also that the people involved in the fight have not been identified (yet) as having been to the game itself.

In Press-Gazette articles, it is stated that more arrests and ejections occur at Vikings’ and Bears’ games than at games with any other opponents. What we’d like to comment on is the practice by Green Bay Packers season ticket holders selling their tickets to brokers, which then allows hordes of opposing fans into the stadium. At Packers-Vikings games, there are an inordinate number of Minnesota fans. As in, when the Vikings score, there is a roar of cheering. Now, no one can legally stop ticket holders from unloading tickets for more cash, but something can and should be done to crack down on the behavior of the people who use the tickets. And, we’d like to also point out that fans of opposing teams are not the only problem. We have seen way too many drunk Packers’ “fans” causing everyone around them to have a less than enjoyable experience. Imagine getting to go to one Packers’ game in your lifetime, and the person next to you is drunk and screaming obscenities and spilling beer on you the whole time.

Here is what needs to be done: the Green Bay Packers need to go to a “one-strike” policy on fan behavior. While there probably are jerks who are season ticket holders, we believe most ticket holders are conscious of the consequences of losing their seats. As it is now, a ticket holder is warned several times before the act of revoking their ticket privilege comes into play. In other words, if you are in the habit of doling out tickets to third parties that you don’t know at all, and these people get ejected or arrested at Lambeau, you’ll be warned a few times that if this continues, you might lose you tickets.

With the collapse of decency and common sense in our society, it is time to crack down severely on disruptive fan behavior. We propose the aforementioned “one strike” policy that should be implemented in 2013. This means that if a person at a Packers’ game is ejected from the stadium, or arrested, or both, the ticket holder loses season ticket privileges — no excuses or second chances. What this will do is to cause the season ticket holder to be very serious about who uses the tickets. People will be less inclined to let four people they’ve never met use the seats, and thusly, less drunken idiots will attend games, making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

The other major factor in this whole scenario is the over-consumption of alcohol. People have the right to drink, and the Packers have their alcoholic beverage sponsors. But this could all be tied into a heightened “Drink Responsibly” campaign, with an “or Else!” emphasis. Drunk and abusive = Losing tickets.

There are many options for those times when a season ticket holder cannot attend a game. The Packers themselves offer services where tickets can be donated for charity, and you are not responsible if something happens. We ourselves have “eaten” tickets when they couldn’t be given to responsible friends. The stakes are too high to have someone we don’t know in our seats doing who knows what.

We don’t know if anyone in the Packers organization reads our blog, but if they do, this is not just one cranky fan spouting off. It is something to consider if they want to make Lambeau Field a fan-friendly — and family-friendly — place in the years to come.

2 comments:

Rusty Rayner said...

I went to my first game at Lambeau last year - the loss to the Giants in the playoffs (ugh). In the row in front of me were a bunch of Giants fans and I was surprised as to how many Giants fans there were compared to Packers fans. I knew there would be a few but there was at least three times more Giants fans there then I had anticipated. While I did not witness any unruly behavior (beyond the obnoxious low-drone of "let's go Giants" echoing as we exited the stadium) I found it sad that so many season ticket holders had sold there tickets to fans of the other team.

The NFL has become big business and in a economic situation of the day it becomes difficult for people not to sell to highest bidder. The highest bidder regardless of team affiliation or character. I suppose I should not complain too much - that philosophy allowed me to get my tickets online (weeks before the playoff opponent was determined).

Like I said; that was my first game ever at Lambeau so I do not know if the large number of opposing fans was unique to that game, something that has been getting steadily worse for years, or something that has been going on for decades. I do know that I read some criticisms after the game about how season ticket holders had "sold out" allowing the giants fans to form a thick blue ring around Lambeau in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter as the game became out of reach of the Packers.

Of course the Packers do that for just about every away game so it might not be as bad at Lambeau as it is at other stadiums.

As for your idea it does have merit, but think it unlikely that it will be adopted. There are too many people making too much money to sit by quietly to allow that to happen. Season ticket holders, brokers, restaurants, hotels, rental cars, and the community as a whole get a lot of money from people coming into Green Bay to watch a game at historic Lambeau. Increased police presence is the quickest and easiest solution.

In a perfect world the Packer season ticket holders would only sell to Packer fans with good character and a good head on their shoulders. People would not drink more then they could handle, be respectful to other fans and the Packers would win every Super Bowl.

Interesting comments and a great blog! Go Pack GO!

Ian Ross said...

I agree with the one strike rule. In the 90s, my dad would get prime tickets as a client to Wisconsin Central Railway.
It was a once a year thing and I coveted the opportunity to go. After the Packers won the 1996 Super Bowl, the flavor of the crowd changed. More of these hangers-on, non-football types who thought it was cool to be seen at Lambeau. I can remember one drunk sitting on the lap of a women behind us and being totally obnoxious. What was worse was his knees were into my mom's back. Security eventually hauled him away, but what I love about Lambeau -- compared to places like Buffalo, Chicago or Detroit -- is the level of decorum and civility that stadium management imposes on the fans through a code of conduct. This has to be upheld and even strengthened. Let the idiots know that if you not there to cheer on your team and you can't act with respect for yourself and those around you, you'll quickly find yourself in the parking lot. And I hope that message is reinforced with those lucky 'few' season ticket holders. If you can't vouch for someone's character, you are in danger of losing your tickets. It's like a driver's licence, holding one is a privilege, not a right.