When sports fan GB3 Pops learned in Cleveland.com that a Cleveland Browns supporter in Southern California was traveling from Los Angeles to Oakland to attend Sunday's game with his son, who wanted to wear a Joe Haden jersey, he wrote an urgent comment to warn him that the annual pre season game between the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers last summer had to be canceled because of the “violence of the Oakland fans toward the 49er fans”.
Hate to disappoint you, GB3 Pops, but either you've got a very vivid imagination or a very poor memory.
First of all, the game was held in San Francisco, not Oakland. Secondly it was not canceled. Thirdly, if I remember correctly, it was a Raiders fan – not a 49ers fan – that got shot, and it was in the parking lot after the game ended.
Mum's the Word!
“Quietly root for the Browns, but do not show your support openly,” GB3 Pops advised.
“It's a shame to have to do that, but that's the sad state of sports in some cities such as Oakland.”
Godspeed echoed this view.
“You have obviously never been to a Browns [vs] Raiders game in Oakland,” he wrote.
“Not a good scene. I'd suggest body armour. Thug town, man.”
Raiders Fan Sets the Record Straight
Leave it to Brian, a Raiders fan living in Cleveland, to set the record straight.
“I know this much, you are an idiot!” Brian wrote.
“First of all, it was a Raiders fan who got assaulted by a 49'ers fan. I've been to games in Oakland and Cleveland, and Cleveland by far has worse fans than the fans of Oakland. Hate to disappoint you, but many classy fans go to Raiders games. I'm sure there are many classy fans at Cleveland games, too. I just haven't met any.”
Is It Safe to Wear Brown in the Black Hole?
But Cfineart, another Cleveland.com reader, is having none of it.
“My advice is to not wear any Browns gear to the Oakland game,” he wrote.
“Not a wise thing to do. These 'fans' are truly dangerous.”
“Do not wear any Browns stuff in Oakland!” he echoes.
“Repeat. Do not wear any Browns stuff in Oakland!”
Fear Not, Browns Fans!
Undaunted, Browns88 is going to the game – despite what all those Brown and Orange wearing naysayers have to say.
“Thanks all for the warnings,” he wrote.
“However, we have been to three Browns games [in the Black Hole]. We always get very good seats in low rows behind the Browns bench and have never had a major problem (even when Phil Dawson kicked a controversial game winning field goal).
Most fans in Oakland are cool. They razz the players, but leave visiting fans alone.
"The fans taunt the players terribly," Browns88 said.
"However, they usually don't say much other than good natured jabs to the fans. There are lots of comments when you go in and out, so the trick is to park or get dropped off close (once a driver dropped us off right in the middle of the tailgate section, and that was hairy)."
Safety in Numbers
Cleveland Browns fans living in California can always be counted on for a big turnout at the Black Hole – as well as at the wind swept stadium across the bay. They are hoping to fill at least two sections.
"The Bay Area Browns Backers also usually have a really big contingent there, as well," Browns88 says.
"I am sure it is really bad in the upper sections, but down near the field, it has always been fine. Sunday may be more of an event because the Raiders gave two free tickets to each season ticket holder to assure a sell out. I am sure that means everybody's loser cousin gets to go on Sunday. However, we are still going to show for the team."
Let Your Colours Fly!
Dawggonnvit gets the last word.
“Browns88, please go to the game, wear your jerseys, and represent Cleveland Nation proudly,” he wrote.
“We are not the 49ers, and we should not fear the actions of a few morally challenged football fans. I have seen the Browns more often in opposing stadiums than Cleveland Browns Stadium, and I know first hand how brutal taunting can be… but let's be real. Fans are not going to become criminals just because you root for the opposition.”
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Fans should be able to attend away games without fearing verbal abuse and physical intimidation – let alone physical violence.
Vent your spleen all you want against the visiting team, but leave the visiting fans alone. In the final analysis, we are all football fans. We just root for different teams.
Pictured: fans at Oakland's notorious Black Hole Photo Credit: Anita Mitchell via Wikimedia Commons