So you know the reputation of Philadelphia sports fans, right? You know the routine: booing Santa, throwing batteries at JD Drew, booing star players (see: Schmidt, McNabb, et al), vomiting on children, killing people outside of bars, yada yada. It's the tried and true way to fill a column for an out of town writer or fill air time for some talking head on ESPN. And we know they are largely mistake. Philadelphians are a lot like other fans. For the most part. I agree that Philadelphia fans are generally more crude. More aggressive. (More passionate???) They are a little more likely to demonstrate uncouth behavior than some joker from Tampa. But I read a story recently and it got me to thinking about my favorite sports town and their fans.
Recently, during an English Premier League, a man was pictured (see inserted photo) making a 'monkey-like gesture' toward a player. [note: race relations in Europe are not so good...]
How would you describe this behavior? Stupid? Insensitive? Misinformed? Bigoted? Those were my initial thoughts. But Her Majesty's lawmen called this criminal. That's right. The guy was arrested.
According to section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986 - " A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he: (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting
Now, raise your hand if you've ever used "insulting words" with "intent to cause a person distress" while attending a sporting event or some public place. Ever think you'd get arrested for it? Just think of the size of the jail the jail in Veterans Stadium if that were the case. We should all thank God we're not British. Unless, of you are British, and in that case...