After his team’s preseason game with the Raiders was marred by fan violence, 49ers owner Jed York suggested that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s proposal to shorten the preseason and expand the regular season would make fans safer.
York said today on KNBR (via the Sacramento Bee) that the fan violence that marred Saturday’s game at Candlestick Park is one reason to support reducing the preseason to two games and expanding the regular season to 18 games.
“I think when you have a preseason game, when you don’t have your regular-season ticket holders coming to a game, I think that plays a big factor into it,” York said. “I think that’s another reason why the NFL is looking at, you know, trying to revamp the preseason schedule.”
York’s suggestion is bizarre, and he offered no evidence to support his apparent belief that there’s more fan violence at preseason games than at regular-season games. Frankly, his comment came across as a crass attempt to use the violence at Saturday’s game — violence which resulted in three fans being hospitalized — to garner support for the 18-game season, which Goodell and most owners want but players have consistently opposed.
The violence at Candlestick Park on Saturday is a time to have serious conversations across the league about how to keep fans safe, not a time to make specious arguments in favor of an 18-game season.