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Fan Incidents Update

Our Editorial about increasing hatred and fan violence certainly spawned a number of letters. Basically, our gist is this:

  • Start calling techical fouls when debris is thrown on the court
  • Greater security on entry, no longer allow people to bring in bottles, cans, or items that can be thrown. (Corollary: Don't sell bottles of drinks, either.)
  • Call technicals for obscene language.

Yes, we would apply these rules to Cameron, as we would to any other ACC School.

Anyway, here are some more links on the fan violence issues:

  • Letter to the Diamondback
  • Letter tothe Washington Post

Here are some exerpts from letters we've received on our editorial

Jim, Princeton
I hope this is not another in a deluge of e-mail to you guys . . . if it is, I apologize. I am a member of Princeton's Class of 1991 but have been an avid Duke fan my entire life since the entire rest of my family went there (i.e. Orange and Black sheep of the family). In 1999 I followed my squad to Reynolds Arena to watch them take on State. This was going to be the last game in Reynolds so I thought I would go where my father had gone some 35 years ago with Jack Marin & Co.

We played an amazing game and held off a late State run to win and become an answer to a trivia question (Who won that last game at Reynolds!). I had been chatting with a couple of rabid State fans around me during the game, and a good time was had by all. With about two minutes to go, the couple of State fans in the Princeton section offered their congratulations and said they would watch the rest of the game from the aisle. "I don't want to get caught in the beer shower that is probably coming your way," he reported matter of factly. "You might get lucky though . . . that you're not a Tarheel fan works in your favor." I looked up to the second tier which now loomed above us ominously. I figured it would make a good story and did not worry too much about the possible hail of Bud.

We were vociferous in our support of the Tigers all game long but were never negative toward State or in any way taunting State fans. I say this not to applaud our sportsmanship -- we were SORELY outnumbered . . . we ain't stupid! So in the closing seconds after a miraculous Princeton lay-up in traffic made it a two-shot game, my friend stood on his seat to high-five our friend who was up a row and off to the side. The seating at Reynolds is six-seat rows of individual plastic seats connected together like a bench. Seizing the opportunity, one of State's finest pushed over the seat/bench that we were all standing in front of except of course my friend. He went flying forward onto the people in the row in front of us. I almost went down from the impact on the back of my knees. I turned to see the little *&^%^*& escaping. My friend was fortunate that he flew onto the back of a decent-sized guy and suffered only one of those painful shin bruises when he hit the seat in front of him.

To conclude, we were Princeton fans enjoying their pathetic, little moment in the NIT sun. I can only imagine what a Devil or Tarheel fan might get.

Brian, Duke
Responding to the Our Call from today...a confirmation of bad fan
behavior...

I was at the Tech game on Saturday, and the fan behavior was rather
disappointing. We noticed it walking in the door - a feeling of
hostility from the crowd, and it manifested itself as early as the
player introductions. It wasn't the good natured sort of stuff you get
in Cameron - the heckling and what not - it seemed like seething anger.
I think the biggest problem was a student section that had been drinking
way too much (while waiting in line since the night before). There were
a lot of obscenities, both from the whole student section chanting, and
from individuals who would scream something out whenever the building
got quiet. I would also agree that they should have called technicals
for the objects on the court - it happened twice during the game, and
the rule should be the rule. The most disgusting behavior came at the
end, with the water bottles thrown at the player's families. I was
looking the other way at first, until a friend who was with me noticed
it and called attention to it.

I should point out, though, that none of my group felt in danger at any
point. It wasn't as bad as at Maryland...and there were no riots
destroying sections of Atlanta...

It's great that you guys are pushing the fan behavior issue. This stuff
needs to stop - at Maryland, at Tech, and anywhere else in the ACC. We
all expect more class out of ACC schools.

No Name Provided (Duke)
I love Duke just about as much as one can. I graduated in 1995, my father in 1965, and my brother in 2001. My favorite moment is David Henderson wearing a cowboy hat in Dallas. I don't think of early American settlers when one mentions John Smith. And I'm pretty sure that Clemson fan deserved to be spit on by Alaa's dad.

And I've grown to disdain Maryland fans. They are certainly at the forefront of the Billy Packer/AJC driven foul inequity charges (did you notice that those claims seem to have subsided a bit). Their behavior is boorish. And unlike my trips to UNC or UVa, the Twerps, Jackets, and even the Noles seem to pull against Duke more than they pull for their own teams. This being said, I think you guys should spend a little more time focusing on the violence and intimidation. (I can hardly believe I'm writing this.)

"Lebo likes boys!" (poor Jeff Lebo)

"Carolina go to hell! Eat sh%t!" ("Fight, fight Blue Devils...")

"State sucks...Carolina swallows" (popular t-shirts in my day)

"You suck Dick!" (to former ref Dick Papparo)

And where do I start with Dante Calabria?

Point being, we are hardly innocent when it comes to language.

While we use to sling pizza boxes or engage in "cup wars" during football games, we never did it out of anger or towards the opposing fans.

Batteries and bottles are one thing. And entering or leaving a stadium in fear for your safety is another. But I think we'll have a hard time making a case on the T-shirts and JJ chants. So we're better fans because our coach and administrators made us stop? Sure your points regarding institutional lack of control are well deserved. Personally, I think Gary is scared to get on the center court microphone. He's too worried it'll all evaporate (or that all that sweat will give him an electric shock). But to somehow claim moral superiority over student t-shirts and chants is a bit weak. In fact, it only goes to reinforce those claims of our air of superiority.

Go Duke!