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Maryland Takes A (Baby) Step

After we posted our updates early Sunday, the Post posted an article saying
that Gary
Williams would address the students
on their use of obscenities in chants
and T-shirts. It's a start, a bit late, but a start nonetheless.

However, as we have said before, it's only a small part of the issue. Sunday
we said this:

"We've made it a point to keep the issue of Maryland fan behavior alive, not because we have a great desire to do it, but because their local media (not to mention the University itself) has been absolutely derelict. Apparently, though, while violence wasn't enough to really get people motivated, chanting F--- you JJ is.

So while the University apparently finds the F word on T-shirts and in taunts
unacceptable, they have tolerated the use of the word so long as it didn't
embarrass the University (read: before T-shirts got air time and the JJ taunt
was clearly audible to the rest of the nation). The t-shirts are hardly

However, the atmosphere of intimidation and latent violence has still not
been sufficiently addressed. The assault on Mrs. Boozer is well
known. What is not as well known is that some rival ACC coaches, including
Krzyzewski, no longer feel comfortable bringing their families to
Maryland. And as we relayed before, we heard from Wake Forest fans, after
Wake almost upset Maryland (this was the game where the Deacons got a technical
for calling a timeout they didn't have) who told us that the security in Comcast
advised them to hide under their seats if Wake Forest won. Duke fans told
us that after defeating Maryland, most of the Maryland security detail just
faded away, leaving them to fend for themselves in a dangerous situation.

That and the videotaped assault on Duke fans, including Mrs. Boozer,
following the remarkable comeback in that game should pretty much illustrate the
problem, but there was also a riot which caused a half-million dollars in
damage, the incident with the father and uncle of Nate James (they said they
were struck by numerous objects thrown by Maryland fans sitting behind them and
finally had enough and defended themselves against the assault),

Even now, Gary Williams, while presumable trying to correct the situation,
makes excuses, saying that "because we're in Washington, D.C. (check your
atlas, big guy), we seem to get more attention than other places."

First of all, the standard complaint up until this point has been how far
Maryland is from the rest of the ACC and how unfairly attention (including from
officials) is or is not apportioned. Persecuted or ignored: make up your

He points to State and Tech as places where obscenities rain down on

Well, you could add any place which chants "bullshit," or
"asshole," or "you suck," including Cameron, where all three
crop up from time to time. "Suck" has become a pretty standard
term, freely used on TV, but the origin of the term is of course a pejorative
sexual insult rooted in contempt for homosexuals and fellatio (The same concept
with a cruder word is good for an instant technical. You don't say that
word to an official unless you really want a T).

However, you could go to State and sit next to State fans and cheer for your
team and not worry about being attacked, and if it happens at Tech, it's
certainly not a pattern of behavior. Duke fans curse and insult, but for
the most part, opposing fans are welcome and secure. As one example,
several years ago, a UNC fan came in late (imagine that) decked out in his
finest. The fans jumped on him, and he basked in the attention, pointing
to his team logos and holding up his index finger. Pretty clearly, he was
not intimidated, nor worried for his physical safety.

Try wearing that into Comcast. What Maryland is still unwilling to face
up to is the nature of the problem. It's not cursing, though we don't doubt that
the school is truly embarrassed by what happened, and if F--- Maryland, Rape
Maryland, or F--- Maryland and Saddam T-shirts sprang up at Duke, we'd hope Duke
would take strong action. It's the very real potential for serious
violence and injury. Comcast is unique in the ACC in that respect. Maryland is
dealing with the T-shirts and the taunts as a P.R. problem. To a large
extent, they made the mistake of dealing with the Len Bias situation from a P.R.
point of view, and you'd think they would have learned.

They should be dealing with the overall problem as potential criminal
and liability issues. Given the track record Maryland fans have in recent
years, someone will be able to present a compelling case that Maryland was aware
of the problem, knew the potential, and didn't do enough to prevent it, and they
will clean the University's clock in court. Almost everyone reading this
has some idea what we're talking about, and it's not just one bottle to one
players mother's head. There is a clear pattern of intimidation, violence,
and hooliganism at Maryland games, and Gary's equivocations about cursing in
other gym's again does nothing to deal with the real problem. It's good
that he addressed the obvious issues, but now it's time to move on to the more
fundamental question: do you let a part of your fan base do whatever it wants?