Rapids Security on Trial (by Facebook)

Richard Bamber
Sep 19th 2011

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Photo: Mani Nadjmi

Lets get one thing clear, the BSG is not at war with the Rapids Front Office, we are not under siege & we are not the oppressed. We know that our contribution to Rapids games is valued however one thing that is undeniable is that we are still a minority at DSG Park in terms of numbers & should understand this. The Rapids have taken a public kicking online after each of the first two Champions League games. While some of the comments have lifted the lid on a few issues, a lot of them have been uninformed & some have been downright incredulous. When the BSG leadership meets with the Front Office, we want to talk about things which will allow the group & the supporters culture to grow. Dealing with endless & sometimes spurious complaints & other negativity detracts from this as it means that the Rapids are expending a disproportionate amount of effort in catering for the supporters.

The majority of BSG members who rode the shuttles to the Metapan & Santos games had a great time (even after the Santos result!) & were largely unaffected by anything to do with security. It is now clear that there are a small number of people who always appear to run into issues in the supporters section as we see the same names popping up every time. First they react badly to something during the game & then proceed to air all their dirty linen in public, by use of Facebook & other social media. Now these websites are now firmly part of 21st century life & I dont disagree that they can be used for a lot of good purposes. But I would like you to think what you would have done before Facebook came along & you had a genuine issue with your treatment at DSG Park. Would you have put an advert in the Denver Post with your concerns? Or would you perhaps write the Rapids a private letter in the hope of it getting a more efficient response?

As a supporters leader I put myself forward to help deal with this sort of thing. Some complaints can be resolved with a full explanation. Others can be resolved by using the BSGs good relationship with the Front Office to ensure that it lands on the desk of the correct person. We have a direct line & a working relationship with all the people involved with operations & security at DSG Park & often one simple phone call is all it takes. So I would like to remind you all that if you have a serious & genuine issue with your treatment at DSG Park there is an email address for this, info@bulldogsupporters.com. Its a far better route than a Facebook post which has to pass through many different departments to have a hope of being comprehensively responded to - and thats assuming it doesnt get lost somewhere in the process!

Having received numerous positive comments about the facilities in the south stands such as the view, proximity to the Cantina & parking lots the question of moving the main part of the BSG there for next season has now arisen. We are talking to the Rapids about this & preliminary indications are that an undertaking to eliminate cursing & other offensive behaviors will be a condition of any move. We have to ask ourselves whether this is a small or a big thing to give up in return for an area which will undoubtedly allow our group & the supporters culture to grow faster than is currently possible in the terraces. The Champions League games have been a bit of a dummy run to see how the BSG handles itself in the stands as they have featured few casual fans nearby. This will be a lot different on, say, the July 4th game next year where the stadium will be expected to sell out.

So turning to what actually happened at the first two CCL games it appears we have a simple case of the supporters & security confronting each other over violations of the DSG Park fan code of conduct in relation to offensive behavior. It may surprise you but lone people cursing out loud & using offensive gestures does attract the attention of security in traditional soccer supporting countries like England. The behavior is unacceptable the world over & the BSG will not defend your right to act like that. We fully support the stance that anybody doing this should be spoken to by security to prevent any individuals behavior from degenerating further. It is certainly not cowardly for security staff to speak to one person, this is good & competent policing of the section.

However a lot of the feedback received seems to indicate that the manner in which people were spoken to was not good. We have already raised this with the Rapids; they accept our points & that work needs to be done in this area. Plainly security staff who scowl at paying customers & in some cases go a bit over the top by talking about ejection from the stadium at the first contact as described by some people are not a good advert for an organization. We hope the Rapids start the next game with a clean slate on this.

But we as fans need to remember that the tone of any interaction with security is a joint effort. Obviously you have a right to ask what you are alleged to have done wrong & a right to have explanations heard. But this can be accomplished quietly without getting riled. Fans, who have normally been drinking rarely win if the conversation gets heated or an argument ensures. Another thing is to refrain from arguments that quite plainly the individual security guard nearby is not going to be able to resolve. But all those other fans are getting away with it will never be an excuse as two wrongs have never made a right. I should add here that it is a fact of life that away fans will sometimes have blind eye turned to their behavior for minor issues as security knows they wont be back in town for a while. Please note that I dont suggest you should try this theory out in practice!

The third & final Champions League group game will be on Wednesday night at 8pm. The BSG will be continuing its efforts to self-police the section & we want everyone to play their part in ensuring that Section 117 rolls without incident. While some may see this as doing the job of security I can assure you it is a good thing as we hope that the Rapids will be more inclined to reduce the number of staff allocated to the section if they can see we are controlling ourselves. This in turn allows them to reduce the number of security staff & not feel the need to close of adjacent sections, both of which do hurt their bottom line. And if the supporters section doesnt needlessly cost them that more money than a regular section full of casual fans, the Rapids are going to have far less difficulty in supporting our efforts in the future.

As ever, Ill see you on the Shuttles on Wednesday. All the details can be found here.

- Richard