(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Fans in The Black Hole section watch an exhibition NFL game between the Raiders and Lions in Oakland last Saturday.
Search the Oakland Raiders’ website for a link to their “Fan Code of Conduct,” and try not to laugh when you read the first line: “Thank you for helping the Raiders create the most fan-friendly environment in the NFL.”
Al Davis still knows how to tell a good joke from beyond the black hole of his grave.
Without that in mind, a collection of like-minded, seriously important sports people who probably had better things to do with their valuable time on a Monday morning were called together instead to attend a press conference orchestrated by the Los Angeles Sports Council.
They might not have said it aloud, but they were all there trying to cover their collective assets. The L.A. City Chamber of Commerce was the perfect venue to host it.
Before posing for an unprecedented photo-op that included AEG’s Tim Leiweke, the Dodgers’ Stan Kasten, USC’s Pat Haden, UCLA’s Dan Guerrero and the Kings’ Luc Robitaille, another bunch of fellows who run stadia in the area, and guarded by L.A. police chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, these power suits practically linked arms as representatives of the Sports Council’s Task Force on Fan Behavior and produced something called the Southern California Fan Code of Conduct.
They printed it out and put it up on easels near the podium. If only they could have had Charlton Heston there to proclaim it the Ten Commandments for L.A. Fandom, and carry it in on stone tablets.
Although, with today’s technology, it’ll have to be available for those who have any sort of iPad, iPhone or “I did nothing wrong” excuse.
(David Crane/Staff Photographer)
Tim Leiweke, president of AEG, ribs Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck at the announcement of a new Southern California Fan Code of Conduct for sports facilities in Southern California.
Really, it’s all pretty much common-sense stuff.
Insultingly so, when it’s all spelled out for you.
Thou shall not curse, smoke, drink excessively, run on the field, fight, lose your ticket, resell your ticket, smuggle in beach balls or violate any other rules that happen to be on the books.
Somehow, they left out the part about coveting their neighbor’s hot dog.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
And all this needed to be crafted with the help of public relations firm Burson-Marsteller because . . .
It smells more along the lines of the legalese on the back of a ticket that absolves the team from liability and puts it on the “holder” to assume “all risk and danger incidental to the game.”
It feels more of a reaction to some higher-profile incidents in the past, something a Bryan Stow could attest to when he’s on the witness stand someday testifying in his personal injury case against the Dodgers and Frank McCourt.
It tastes like chicken.
Not so, group spokesman David Simon, the L.A. Sports Council boss in charge of paving the way for world-class sporting events to come to the city and generate revenue.
Simply, Simon said it all grew organically from talks that the Rose Bowl people had with UCLA and Pasadena police a few years ago, trying to combat the many crazy confrontations brewing between Bruins and USC Trojan fans.
They sought ways to share information with other venues in how they worked security, prevented mayhem and calmed everyone down.
There isn’t already something in place for all these folks to check and cross-check repeat offenders? Not really, said Simon, but they’re looking into the legality of having such a data base.
But we know you’re out there. Jerry Powers, the L.A. County Department of Probation chief, said one in 130 people who are at a Southern California sporting event have a court-assigned probation. If their probation officer is at the event – and that could be part of the enforcement plan – they do something stupid, and they’re gone. For a long time.
But you kind of knew that already, right? How often can Lindsay Lohan sneak in without being noticed?
There are more reasons why this task force wants you to feel safe and sound in our sports venues, but the most important may be too obvious to overlook.
If you have even the slightest doubt about something nasty happening when you’re at attendance in the Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Staples Center, the Home Depot Center, Santa Anita, Auto Club Speedway, Angel Stadium or the Honda Center, you’re more apt to stay home and watch from the comfort of a large flat-screen TV.
Which means you’re not swiping your credit card to pay for the $300 in tickets, $100 for food, $20 for parking and who-knows-what for souvenirs.
That’s not acceptable to this group.
“That’s un-American,” proclaimed Zev Yaroslavsky.
The veteran L.A. County supervisor, who recently decided it wasn’t worth running for the opening spot of city mayor, used that phrase in finishing a story he told about a time, maybe 20 years ago, when he took his 8 year old son to an NFL game at the Coliseum to see an L.A. Raiders game.
“A fight broke out,” Yaroslavsky said. “One of many.”
The next time dad suggested going to a Raiders game, the kid declined.
Eventually, the Raiders moved back to their comfort zone. And we breathed easier.
Now, with this Code of Fan Conduct, Version L.A. in place, everyone’s on notice.
Unless you feel safer now going up to Oakland to watch the Raiders, what with that “most fan-friendly environment” guarantee already locked and loaded.
More on the Fan Code of Conduct from the Daily News’ news section (linked here).