Fan safety is a huge issue at sporting events these days. The safety of the fan is commonly stressed at every event I have ever attended, but in spite of the warnings and apparent security all over these gigantic venues, fans are still being injured in terrible accidents every year. Last night, during the Yankees game at Atlanta, a man fell 50 feet from the upper decks while leaning over the railing to shout insults at players. Thankfully the man did not fall on anyone below, but sadly, he later passed away from his injuries. A tragic event like the fall of this man could have been prevented by an increased presence of security in his section, but events like this happen all of the time with less catastrophic results. I can’t blame every tragic event on security, since they have no control over the alcohol intake of fans, and all sports related fan injuries are not easily preventable, but I do think sporting venues can do more to keep fans safe. To be completely honest, I think the biggest risk to a fan at a sporting event is alcohol abuse. Most tragic events that take place in or around sporting events, have been alcohol related, and that is not just a coincidence. It is not really the team or the venue’s job to stop fans from drinking, but they have fruitlessly tried for years to curb fan alcohol abuse. It seems that the notices to “drink responsibly” are going largely unfollowed, and fans are getting more reckless with each passing season. I love going to sporting events, and I don’t think much needs to change in order to make a ballgame a safer place. I just think all fans need to understand that everyone at the venue wants to enjoy the game as they do, and that getting home safely is more important than getting overly drunk or “shaming” the visiting team and their fans.
The holiday weekend is a time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little time with the family. This July fourth weekend, several NFL players decided to head out and enjoy their hard earned money. The amount of notoriety these gentlemen hold would lead many to believe that it would be reasonable for them to keep their plans “low key,” but when it comes to free time, NFL players seem to always find ways to get into the most damaging situation. I don’t want to single out the NFL as the only sport in which athletes make poor decisions, but it seems as though professional football players just make mistakes at a much higher rate than any other group of American pro athletes. Over this weekend, several players received suspensions for drug use and a couple of players made career threatening behavioral mistakes. As for the drug use, the rule book is clear, and considering these player contracts are not guaranteed, it is extremely foolish to lose 1/4th of your year’s salary due to recreational drug use. The NFL does not allow players to use marijuana, and while many players use it secretly, it doesn’t seem as though it will ever be allowed openly, so players need to be smart about their decisions and stay away from things that will cost them money and playing time. The two more serious events of this holiday weekend were the shooting incident involving the Packers’ Andrew Quarless, and the fireworks injury of the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul. Andrew Quarless faces a definite suspension and possible prosecution for shooting a gun into the air during an altercation in Miami. Quarless most likely won’t face jail time since Florida laws are less stringent on guns than other states, but he has definitely hurt his team and could have possibly hurt his career, all in the name of having a good time and staying out late. The fireworks incident regarding Jason Pierre-Paul is especially upsetting to me, because I am a Giants fan and I know how important he is to the team. Medical reports are showing that JPP may just have minor injuries and burns to his hands, but his hands are important to his job, and he has no reason to be playing with fireworks as a professional athlete. Time off is a great thing, and everyone deserves a vacation, but NFL players need to be smarter with their actions and use their time off wisely, their jobs could and often do depend on it.