Major League Soccer, the United States football league, is gaining popularity. When something gains popularity it also gains attention, by fans, by the media. Where there are sport events, there will be hooligans. The media will be quick to declare that the barbarism of European hooliganism has found its way to America, but is that true?
For example there is basketball, a game where physical contact is discouraged for the most part. A game between Wake Forest and Clemson proved that not only football is prone for hooliganism as a player from Wake Forest who lost his footing, was body slammed by a hooligan from the crowd. There are also a lot more incidents than that, as not all of them are documented and on film. American sports are filled with hooligans and hooligan behavior throughout all sports and all levels. Be it professional or amateur, there will be hooligans. For example in January 2008 the father of a very good basketball player was shot by a disgruntled fan of the opponent’s team when the father went out for a smoke. How about baseball hooliganism?
Whenever the baseball season starts the Yankee and Red Sox fans tend to show their affection towards each other oddly. It even went as far as murder in one case as a Yankee fan drove over a Red Sox fan yelling “Yankees suck”. Naturally, these kinds of incidents are also prominent in soccer, but not limited to soccer. In July 2008 a Columbus Crew fans visited West Ham leading to an all-out brawl.
In September 2008 a NFA game between the Utica Yard Dogs and Troy was postponed due to a massive brawl expanding from the stands and going to the pitch. And even high school games are not safe when shots were fired amongst the crowd in Portland, Oregon. Allegations that it was “gang related” show how the media are incapable of comprehending the fact that hooliganism is quite prominent within America.
The list goes on and on with incidents through all sports, be it baseball, football, ice-hockey or American football. The media play it down as if the problem were not a common thing in America and that “European style” brawls are a rarity at American sport events. The hypocrisy of these statements is apparent when one takes into account the growing amount of violence that is prominent in the American media. The inability of the American media to take this issue into account is obvious as they play down the events as “rowdy behavior” or “thuggery” from drunkards. Thankfully for many European sport events, gun laws are a lot stricter and due to the experience with incidents at sport events the security measures are better than in American stadiums. Security concerns in American stadiums is growing, as well as the number of incidents does not decline and it will be a positive development if the security measures are increased for all sport events, because, contrary to popular belief, hooliganism does exist in the United States.