Well you might have seen these signs around Rio Tinto Stadium and wondered what was going on? RSL fans (and Leo) showed their support for a Colorado Rapids fan who was recently banned for life from his own team. (Photo by Me)
So to be honest I generally avoid any and all things dealing with the Colorado Rapids, but I have to admit that the whole situation around the Rapids banning Teddy Montoya for life for a "verbal assault" is interesting for a couple of reasons to me. To get some background, check out this great post on prostamerikca.com
First, a team and their stadium staff are fully within their rights to ban any person from their events and property, and I am not sure that they need to offer you a reason for it. A lot of it comes down to who owns the venue, and a number of other legal issues, but the reality is that if you think a team would ban one of their fans for a single incident, well that simply isn't the case and even in this case it was stated that the ban was the result of several offense.
The fact that some people think this is some type of top secret file system that all MLS teams have on their supporters is kinda funny, here is the reality. If you are a season ticket holder of course the team has your information on their computers, duh. If you are involved in incidents with security, stadium staff, or police, of course they are going to keep a record of that, it is called liability. Now if you as a fan have those types of incidents, you should expect that someone is keeping track of those, if you are a fan who doesn't have regular conflicts with security, stadium staff or the police, then you can expect that your front office is probably not paying a lot of attention to you other than for sales and marketing.
After the jump, a couple reasons why I find the reaction to this situation to be entertaining:
So two things jump out at me, first this seems to be a social media story and not much more. I didn't hear of any great fan demonstration at their match on Wednesday protesting the banning of Teddy, heck if you read most of the Rapids blogs and newspaper coverage you wouldn't even know anything happened. Yet Big Soccer, Facebook and even twitter have a bunch of people outside of Rapids fans offering opinions and thoughts on what happened, and like me none of them know the facts. They know what they have been told, by those with vested opinions and viewpoints on the issue, nothing more or less. This is one of those things that has taken a bit of a life of its own, and while many who I have talked to that know Teddy ensure me he is a nice guy, I don't know him and I just doubt that a team would risk a public backlash banning a "nice guy".
Still we do know that between the Rapids ownership and front office, along with the staff at Dick's Sporting Goods Park that calling them anything but a "hot mess" would be a lie. They have created a fairly hostile place for opposing fans to travel to, and even within their own fans their have been issues since the team moved to their new stadium. I refuse to travel to Denver to watch RSL play the Rapids there, because each time a group of fans go, they come back with stories of being treated as criminals from the moment they arrive. Now clearly the staff there knows of the many incidents between these two sets of fans, going back to the early days of RSL's joining the league. I mean you know how dangerous confetti can be, or how intimidating a father with his daughter in his arms can be. So I am rather surprised that anyone who has had any exposure to the Rapids organization is shocked by this action, it rather seems right up their alley.
How messed up is the Rapids organization? Well consider my second point, how funny is it that your most heated rival in the league is actually supporting an opposing teams fan that has been banned? Yet at last night's RSL vs Seattle Sounders match there were a number of fans who showed their support for Teddy, by displaying signs around the stadium
Of course this also leads the question of how messed up are the Rapids fans? When there is more of a demonstration of support for one of their supporters from their fiercest rival in the league than there is from their own fans? Or could it be that the Rapids fans know more about this situation than do the fans of Real Salt Lake and the other soccer fans around the internet who have rushed to Teddy's support?
Whatever the case may be, clearly there is more drama in Colorado than meets the eye in this case. I know some will see this as being a bit of an antagonist but I thought enough people asked about the signs that it was worth posting an update.
Would love to hear from you, what do you think of banning fans for language? Should RSL fans be supporting a Rapids fan?
OFF MY SOAPBOX