Less than a year after two men were shot following a Raiders preseason game against the 49ers, a 30-year-old Arizona resident was shot in the face in the northwest parking lot of the University of Phoenix Stadium where the Raiders were playing the Cardinals in their second preseason game. Though no motive has been named, Glendale Police officer Tracey Breeden said: “It appears to be a fan-based incident.”
The shooting took place one hour prior to the conclusion of Friday night’s game. Police were alerted after receiving a phone call from the shooter, who claimed to have “accidently shot” the victim. The victim is currently in stable condition.
Though no word has been released regarding the allegiance of these two fans — which will likely never come — it still reflects poorly on the Raiders. Two shooting in two years is not a tradition that the Raiders had in mind, I’m sure.
Last year, following an incident in which three fans were hospitalized after the Raiders-49ers preseason game, Raiders’ president Amy Trask was quick to defend the team’s supporters, calling them “terrific people and terrific fans.”
“I’m aware of the perception, and I don’t believe the perception is the reality,” she continued. “Stereotypes are insidious. It’s so simple to stereotype Raiders fans. It’s an easy story. If you are hearing frustration coming through in my voice it’s because there’s frustration in my voice.”
Unfortunately for Trask, Friday night’s incident suggests there is some truth to the perception. As I stated in May of this year, “Her organization has harbored coaches that assault other coaches, players that assault other players, and not to mention players that assault non-players. Worse, her organization has harbored McClain, who is now a repeat offender. In 2008, he was accused of intentionally hitting a man with his car. Twice. Oh, and he was also once shot at while driving in Decatur, Alabama.”
If this most recent incident involves Raiders’ fans, then perception will be reality, which means the biggest story out of Raiders camp will no longer the state of the team, but the state of its fans.