You may have seen the story posted on Sunday about an innocent fan who was thrown out of Raymond James Stadium for doing absolutely nothing wrong—besides rooting for the visiting team.
As soon as this man—whom we'll call Al Davis Jr.—got home on Sunday night, he fired off a strongly worded email to the NFL, the Buccaneers, the Tampa Sports Authority, and our sister site Consumerist, who posted the full email on their site. The gist—a Raiders fan from New Jersey was non-belligerently enjoying the final regular season game in Tampa, when he was rudely and unfairly ejected simply for applauding Oakland's first touchdown.
I feel like I was personally singled out due to my team affiliation, and this was totally unwarranted. I was not intoxicated or found to be in possession of any illegal substances. I was not being verbally or physically abusive to any other fans or players. There were no requests to adjust my behavior prior to this either, which was not causing an issue as multiple witnesses can attest to.
Sounds pretty bad. Well, Al Jr. got a response from the Tampa Sports Authority and he sent it to us, along with his response to their response.
We are sorry that you did not have the experience that you expected to have here at Raymond James Stadium during the Raiders game. We seek to offer each fan a positive experience.
Your inquiry, however, cannot be addressed by our staff due to your ejection by the Tampa Police Department. The TPD records indicate that you were intoxicated and caused a disturbance by cussing and instigating fights, thus your questions must be directed to them, now. Please call *** at ********* and he will respond to your concerns".
So now it's he said, he said. (And cussing! In front of children, no doubt.) So what did he say ... ?
So lets assume that I was in fact intoxicated and causing a disturbance by cursing and instigating fights. I feel like the worst decision would have been to release me outside of the stadium. I would hope that individuals acting in the manner described above were either arrested or detained until they were settled down. Tossing a drunk person trying to start fights back out into the public doesn't sound like a great idea to me.
Like i said before though, I wasn't drunk. I did have a couple beers outside of the stadium, but I wasn't drinking inside the stadium. I was not breathalyzed or given a field sobriety test by the officers, so I'm not sure how they made that determination.
I'll admit I probably cursed at some point in the first quarter and a half of the game. I wasn't directing it at any fans, but I'm sure a "F*uck yeah!" as the Raiders forced another punt popped out at some point. I would have felt it was totally reasonable for someone from the Tampa Bay staff to pull me out my seat, and ask me to adjust my language. [Emphasis added]
Ahhhh ... so now the story is changing a bit. Maybe he did have a couple of beers and maybe a "fuck yeah" or ten?
It would make no sense for me to instigate fights. I was a stand-alone Raider fan with two Buccaneer friends and a neutral friend with me in what I think may have been a Tampa Bay season ticket holder section. I cannot imagine anything dumber than trying to pick a fight when I was completely surrounded by Bucs fans. After the first 3 minutes of the game, I didn't speak to a single Bucs fan, but was thrown out immediately after the Raiders first scored with 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
If I may play devil's advocate: One might argue that being a Raider's fan makes no sense, but we all know that community's legendary reputation for decorum and restraint. Also, the above picture was included in the latest email, apparently as some sort of proof of this person's soundness of judgment.
I don't know if this was a joke or not either, but I was initially let out of the cell and after they typed some info into a computer, they asked if I was aware of any outstanding immigration violations. They put me back int the cell and then let me out a few minutes later and asked if I had ever gone by the names "Esteban" or "Emmanuel". Once I assured them I hadn't they took me out of the stadium, but I felt like that was just a very weird exchange.
The pic I attached is from a tailgating group who let my friends and me join them before the game. It seems like I was able to get along pretty well with a group of hardcore Bucs fans. Still haven't heard anything from the NFL or the Bucs.
So let's examine the evidence again:
• A Raider's fan
• From New Jersey
• Wearing an innertube
• Probably swearing
• Possibly using an alias
• Definitely drinking Natural Ice
I'm starting to think Al Jr. got off easy.