Candlestick Park

Deadspin accuses Damon Bruce of calling for racial profiling, then takes it back

On Monday, in the aftermath of what by all accounts was one of the ugliest days in Bay Area sports history, the talk was how to prevent a situation like what occurred at Candlestick Park. Newspaper columnists, radio hosts, bloggers, pretty much everyone besides the teams and the players themselves were throwing every possible idea against the wall.

I listened to KNBR’s Damon Bruce on Monday morning, and he was strident in his thoughts about what happened before, during and after the preseason game between the 49ers and Raiders. So was Brandon Tierney on 95.7 “The Game.” In the eyes of the Chronicle’s Scott Ostler, both guys went a little too far.

There was an outbreak of violence Monday … in Bay Area radioland.

We’re all trying to make sense of Saturday’s violence at Candlestick Park, we’re all dreaming up solutions, so …

In the morning on KNBR, co-host Damon Bruce strongly advocated profiling as a means to controlling football crowd behavior.

Never mind that profiling is unconstitutional.

Whom would Bruce profile? Based on witness accounts of one assailant, the 49ers should deny admittance to anyone who appears to be Samoan or Pacific Islander and is armed with fists? Good luck.

In the afternoon on all-sports 95.7 FM, co-host Brandon Tierney said one deterrent to fighting in the stands would be to station snipers with AK47s on the stadium rim, with permission to shoot anyone who is fighting. Seriously.

Wonder what these radio guys propose to do to Bruce Bochy if he keeps batting Aubrey Huff cleanup.

Then, Deadspin took the baton from Ostler and ran past the finish line and out of the stadium, using Ostler’s leap from “Whom would Bruce profile?” to “anyone who appears to be Samoan or Pacific Islander and is armed with fists” to suggest Bruce was in favor of racial profiling.

KNBR’s Damon Bruce supports profiling for allowing fans into games. So in the case of at least one of Saturday’s fights, no Pacific Islanders allowed. Meanwhile, 95.7 The Game’s Brandon Tierney suggests stationing snipers on the roof of the stadium, with orders to shoot anyone they see fighting. [SF Chronicle]

I have no defense for Tierney’s comments, which I also heard on Monday afternoon. As far as I could tell, Tierney did say he’d be in favor of snipers patrolling football stadiums with rifles. I don’t remember if he said they’d have permission to shoot, but to be fair I was making a quesadilla at the time. And if I don’t concentrate, I’ve been known to nick my knuckles something fierce with a cheese grater.

However, the only people I remember Bruce saying security officers should profile were those wearing “Eff the (fill in the blank team)” t-shirts, people staring at others in a threatening manner — generally people looking for a fight. Bruce never mentioned anyone of any specific race, which only makes sense because, as we know so well, doing so can be career suicide.

Here’s Bruce’s pointed response, directed at Ostler and especially to Deadspin:

It’s hardly surprising Bruce defended himself so aggressively, seeing as what happened when Tony Bruno referred to Ramon Ramirez as an “illegal alien” on Twitter. The last thing Bruce needs is to anger an entire ethnic group he didn’t even mention, just because of conclusions drawn by a columnist.

Perhaps fences are mending somewhat, as evidenced by this:

And Deadspin did rewrite the original piece:

KNBR’s Damon Bruce supports profiling for allowing fans into games. [UPDATE: Damon was very insistent that he never mentioned or intended a racial aspect to the profiling, and we’ll take him at his word. So, keeping out races, no, keeping out thugs who just come to games to start trouble, yes.]

The lone question which remains — besides who in the world would attend a football game patrolled by guys stationed on the rooftops with AK-47s — is whether what Bruce said is okay. And the answer is in cases of extreme public safety, profiling (in certain forms, such as suspicous behavior) is something that’s already done. It happens at airports and on the streets all the time.

Racial profiling is a horrible, unconstitutional law enforcement tactic that still takes place. But it’s not about weeding out people who are acting suspicious. It’s about targeting people due to what race they are, without probable cause. Pulling over a young African American guy just because he’s driving a shiny Lexus? Racial Profiling. Following a car full of people who just left a house where drug dealing is known to occur? Not racial profiling.

From the videos I saw taken at Candlestick Park over the weekend, the people fighting represented a veritable melting pot. Every race, both genders, all together being complete idiots. To suggest that in the future security personnel at Candlestick won’t be searching out people wearing t-shirts with incendiary messages, or focusing on people who are looking for a fight, is naive. And to suggest they shouldn’t, and that police, ushers and other employees should sit back and wait until punches are thrown and guns are drawn to act when people are acting aggressively — regardless of what race they are — is dangerous.

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