April 19, 2016
Over the last few years, Philly sports fans have been well behaved -- for the most part -- despite the fact that certain members of the national media and opposing fans continued to bring up Santa Claus, snowballs, D-batteries, Michael Irvin, and so on.
Local fans, however, had been trying to battle that stereotype. And, although recent history was on their side, they were still losing the war. They were still associated with the few rogue agents who took it upon themselves to destroy any headway made by the city's fanbase at large.
Still, there had been some progress.
But in the third period of Monday night's Game 3 between the Flyers and Capitals, Philly sports fans devolved into the caveman caricature they had been struggling to move past -- at least in the eyes of the national media and opposing fans who have been so desperate for a reason to bring up all those incidents we'd just as soon forget.
The problem is, hot takes sound a lot better better than lukewarm takes. And painting with a broad brush is quicker and easier than using a fine, detailed brush to create some depth and meaning in the image your creating of a certain group of people.
It wasn't all fans that were throwing their bracelets -- given out as part of a really cool ceremony to honor the late Ed Snider -- onto the ice in the third period as the game began to get away from the Flyers, the referees and even public address announcer Lou Nolan.
It wasn't the majority of fans. Hell, it wasn't even one percent of them.
Chimera: "It’s just a couple fans that ruin it for a lot of people....That’s not indicative of the Philly fans, for sure."— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) April 19, 2016
And in terms of fan etiquette, it may not have been the worst thing they did all night. They also booed a woozy Brooks Orpik as he stumbled to the bench -- a la Michael Irvin -- and at least a handful of fans decided the pre-game moment of silence for Mr. Snider was a good time to begin yelling and cheering.
Still, it was not the majority of fans.
If you want to blame Flyers fans as a whole, blame them for this:
Otherwise, make sure you separate the majority from the louder, more obnoxious minority. The ones that caused the Flyers -- the team they were supposed to be cheering on -- to be assessed a delay of game penalty. Playing on your home ice is supposed be an advantage. On Monday night, it was anything but.
And now we have to start over. Try again to evolve and grow and move past another incident that will be forever linked to anyone who calls himself (or herself) a Philly sports fan.
Even if you didn't throw one; even if you weren't at the game; and even if you spent the past 18 hours trying to distance yourself from those fans who did misbehave, you may as well have been there.
And if that's the case, here is what's being said about you, both by the local and national media:
There are bad fans everywhere because there are bad people everywhere, but the bad fans tend to act out with more regularity in the 215 than elsewhere. That’s precisely what happens when the tough-guy reputation in which we take pleasure/pride touting becomes so engrained in the civic DNA that we resort to trotting out the “but they did bad things too!!! argument” every time a situation like this arises.
Decry it all you (and I) want, but it’s time to stop pretending that the manufactured Philly aura isn’t the driving force behind it all. [phillyvoice.com]
The Capitals dominated at special teams, dominated the third period, and kept their cool. The Flyers…uh, what’s the opposite of that? The Philly fans, meanwhile, did their best impression of a kindergarten cafeteria in full rebellion. [MORE]
Flyers fans in Philadelphia had a worse showing than their team on Monday night, which is saying a lot considering Philly got blown out by the Capitals 6-1.
Worse than the box score was the lack of class or human decency from the crowd at Wells Fargo Center, who embarrassed themselves all night long. [MORE]
In their first home game after the death of Ed Snider - their founder, owner, and chairman - the Flyers and their followers put on a display that manifested the worst instincts within themselves and validated the worst stereotypes about them. They embarrassed themselves, all of them, in every possible way. When spectators scream during a pregame moment of silence for a team's patriarch - as several Flyers fans did Monday - and it's not the most graceless, dishonorable episode of the night, that's telling. [philly.com]
The fans who threw bracelets were a tiny minority of the sellout crowd, and they are bad fans. But there were enough of them last night to reflect poorly on everyone else, and to give critics plenty of ammunition to smear Philly fans in the future, fairly or not. It was ugly. Uglier, somehow, than even the Flyers’ play—and that’s the harshest thing I could possibly say. [deadspin.com]
Once more, with feeling: a hockey game, in Philadelphia, against a hated rival and superior opponent, in a series that undoubtedly has flashpoints of violence, on an emotional night, given the tribute to late owner Ed Snider at the top of the program.
And you hand out plastic projectiles to every fan in every seat?
Did anyone not see this coming? [yahoo.com]
Let me see if I can fit this all in one run-on sentence: Flyers fans pelted the ice with light-up bracelets on the night the team honored their late owner, Ed Snider, whose beloved squad, honoring his memory by wearing his initials on their sleeves and prominently featuring them on the ice itself, got demolished, 6-1, by a much better team, the Capitals, whose coach thinks the Flyers gave up toward the end of the game, right around the time when the PA announcer, Lou Nolan, warned fans about throwing the bracelets and then chastised them for incurring a penalty for the Flyers as a result of their boorish action that will get national play for years, and which resulted in a bracelet hitting an opposing player in the face while he was on the bench being treated for what appeared to be a concussion, this as two captains pleaded with fans to stop throwing their [redacted] trinkets, which, again, were given out on the night the team honored Mr. Snider. [crossingbroad.com]
Some in Philadelphia have argued that the combination of supposedly poor calls from the officials and the underachieving performance of the Flyers made the actions understandable. Honestly, I think that's holding the fanbase to an embarrassingly-low standard. Even if you believe that the officials did a poor job in Game 3 (and the series at large), this certainly wouldn't be the first time referees made mistakes in a playoff series. Nor would it be the first time that a home team delivered a dud of a performance in a key game. But you don't see fans pelting the field of play on a weekly basis because of it. [broadstreethockey.com]
And then there's this...
My dad would've called the wristband throwers a "disgrace" & may have spoken publicly. But he wouldn't look back, only forward. @NHLFlyers— Sarena Snider (@SarenaSnider) April 19, 2016