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Fan-on-Fan Violence is Never Acceptable

Our mission is to help people who have severe physical injuries or have lost a loved one due to another's wrongful conduct. We strive to improve our clients' lives and aim to protect their rights and interests, giving them time to focus on their recovery and get back to their lives. Another intended consequence of our work is to help prevent others from being similarly injured.

HPC lawyers are sports fans who frequently attend live events or watch games in public establishments. Sporting events should be family-friendly experiences where fans can cheer for their team without worrying about being attacked. Rooting against opposing players and cheering our own is expected. As a society we have grown to accept sarcasm and biting remarks in these chants; however, it should never be acceptable to hit another person because of their chants. We've written about fan-on-fan violence in the past.

Sadly, fan-on-fan violence continues to plague sporting events, and it is not limited to hockey. The savage beating of Bryan Stow at Dodgers Stadium by Marvin Norwood and Louie Sanchez, on March 31, 2011, brought national attention to this issue, but it did not prevent the fights and post-game shootings that followed the Battle of the Bay, Raiders at 49ers, five months later.

Then there was the 2014 incident following a divisional round of the playoffs where several Chargers fans were videotaped beating up one Broncos fan. We do not know who was the aggressor, but we know at some point the altercation became physical. It crossed the line from boisterous team support into criminal assault. This should never happen.

Normally, every four years, we feel vitalized by the competitive spirit accompanying the World Cup (soccer). We have cautious enthusiasm for World Cup 2014 because of the recent wave of fan-on-fan violence in soccer. For instance:

• Club Deportivo Guadalajara said it will seek a lifetime stadium ban for unruly fans after two police were injured in an altercation, on March 22, 2014, at Estadio Jalisco during the Atlas-Chivas clasico tapatio.

• On March 30, 2014, a 44-year-old father of four in Helsingborg to support Stockholm's soccer club was murdered by a hooligan. The killing was not the only incident that weekend, which was marred by numerous clashes between the two sets of troublemaking supporters.

• On April 2, 2014, Chelsea fans went on a rampage in a tourist area of central Paris smashing up cafes and shops. These drunken fans stampeded down a pedestrian street near the celebrated Pompidou Centre and Les Halles shopping centre. Bottles were thrown at drinkers who were enjoying a mild evening on the terraces of nearby cafes and were forced to flee as the violence spread.

Hopefully, posts like this will increase public awareness and encourage a level of civility and individual accountability, preventing verbal banter from morphing into criminal assault. There is nothing wrong with a person's inherent need to fit in by standing along side fellow fans to cheer on their team, but it should never lead to violence.

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