Saturday night was one of the biggest MLS games for FC Dallas this year to date. It was a tightly contested match that ended 2-2. The intensity of the game boiled over to the coaching staff, causing Marco Ferruzzi to be sent to the stands in the first half. The frustrated didn’t end with the Dallas coaching staff. Fans were also agitated. They were chanting and yelling at the ref and Portland players. To be fair, the atmosphere wasn’t any different than any other rivalry match. The fans were engaged and voicing their opinions of what was happening on the field.
About midway through the first half, security starting pacing around the Beer Garden. There were two types of security guards, yellow shirts and white shirts. The white shirts seemed to be the ones in charge. I’m not sure if some of the yellow shirted security guards were in the wrong place or not paying enough attention, but a gentleman in a white shirt was yelling at a couple of them in the middle of the Beer Garden. One yellow shirt security guard, an older man with bucket hat on, was getting verbally undressed in front of the whole BG.
These white shirt security guards then proceeded to start throwing people out of the BG for cussing. It didn’t matter if the cursing was during a chant or aside from the chant. The white shirts were roaming around like hawks looking up into the stands waiting for people to see a naughty word.
I followed up with Chris, one of the fans (season ticket holders) who was thrown out for cursing during the second half of the match. Chris said that he was noticed during the ‘build a bonfire song’ for singing along, including the cuss words. One of the yellow shirted security guards came up to Chris and told him to follow him. Chris followed thinking that he would be able to explain and have a conversation with the yellow shirt group. The security guards weren’t interested in what he had to say, but instead insisted he give them his drivers license, so that they could take a picture, with their personal cell phones, to send to MLS or the club. Chris, felt uneasy about this and wasn’t a fan of giving his personal information to someone he didn’t know, nor had legal authority to ask for it. He instead asked why they needed it and that he was a season ticket owner who had tickets to the match. The security guards responded by sending him to the police officers who then gave him a 30 day criminal trespassing warning (basically a restraining order).
The worst part of Chris’ situation is that on Tuesday night, there is a town hall meeting where everyone is getting together to discuss the situation, but Chris isn’t able to be there. DBG leadership is trying to get clarification on this for him, but haven’t heard anything back yet. Also, it should be noted that their are multiple accounts of this happening to different people.
Security wasn’t just targeting fans who were using foul language in the Beer Garden. They were over in El Matador too making sure they were cussing either. As for as I can tell though, no one in EM was kicked out of the match.
It appears this all stems from DBG wanting to get rid of the ‘Puto’ chant out of the stadium, or at least their section. However, it looks like security took that inch and stretched it out to a mile. There was no communication that any of this was coming. Everyone was blindsided by the change in rules and according to sources, including the front office.
Two weeks ago, they handed out flyers when entering the BG saying ‘Don’t Cross the Line’ or you will get thrown out. The issue is, people who were came in closer to kickoff didn’t receive them. On top of that, Saturday night, they didn’t hand them out at all. People who didn’t go to the previous matches had no idea any of this was going on. So, expecting them up to be up to date on these changes seems a bit unfair. Security built off of that warning and starting tossing people. Estimated numbers are as high as 20 being tossed Saturday night, including season ticket holders, first time fans and DBG members.
Big D Soccer reached out to the club for a statement and was told the following from a club’s spokesperson:
FC Dallas remains committed to providing an outstanding experience for all of our supporters and fans. We are continuing to manage and enforce a longstanding MLS policy that prohibits organized chants which feature sexist, abusive, racially insensitive or obscene language. League policy also prohibits fans from throwing objects on the field.
We have an open line of communication with our supporters and fans and look forward to discussing this at our next Supporters Forum.
The next supporters forum is tomorrow. For those curious about it, the DBG has more information online here.