At a time when the NFL hopes to provide a safer environment inside its stadiums, a pair of fans claims that the league hasn’t done enough to provide a safer environment outside its stadiums.
According to Matthias Gafni of the Contra Costa Times, two men injured during a fight in the Candlestick Park parking lot last August quietly filed suit in November 2011 for their injuries. One of the men was beaten unconscious and the other was shot during a parking-lot altercation at the preseason game between the Raiders and 49ers.
Daniel Long and Gabriel Navarrette claim that the 49ers, the NFL, and the company that provides security at the Candlestick Park parking lot failed to “proactively create an environment that was free from fighting, taunting or threatening remarks and/or gestures and gang activity.”
The lawsuit cites among other things comments from Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, who once admitted that the team advised players to keep their families home for games against the Raiders due to safety concerns.
“‘Tell your families to sit this one out and watch it on TV,'” Montana said former coach Bill Walsh told the players. “It just wasn’t that safe to be around.”
“The San Francisco 49ers are committed to providing a safe game day environment for all fans. That commitment has led to the highest security level rating given by the NFL. We cannot comment on the specifics of this case as litigation is ongoing,” the 49ers said in a statement provided to the Times.
After a game that featured multiple incidents inside and outside Candlestick Park, Navarrette was beaten and Long was shot four times while trying to rescue Navarrette in the stadium parking lot.
Trial is set for August 19, 2013.
Complaints regarding harassment of Saints fans at January’s playoff game in San Francisco prompted the 49ers to use undercover cops dressed as Giants fans for the NFC title game against New York. It looks like every team should use a similar strategy before, during, and after games — anywhere and everywhere on the property.