To San Jose Fans

Monday, April 11, 2011 | View Comments
To the San Jose fans who took umbrage with what I said in today's Monday Breakdown. I'd like to clarify the meaning of my comments.

First off, I'd like you to know where I'm coming from. I know what it is to be a fan. I've traveled thousands of miles and paid thousands of dollars that I probably didn't have to watch my teams. I'm a supporter of the right of fans to express themselves without interference from the front office. Generally, the fans know what fans want better than the team officials. I will say, however, that this is not about your dispute with your front office. I will not comment on that because I'm not familiar enough with the story. My issue is with the banner you displayed.

I believe in free speech. That does not, however, mean I believe in speech free from consequence. You have the right to express yourselves, but that gives everyone else the right to criticize what you say (and, admittedly, gives you the right to criticize my posts, and so on, ad infinitum). Whatever the intent behind the tifo you made, the content of it, two women kneeling in front of a man who has his hands on their heads (that I had to be told was supposed to be Charlie Sheen) came off as sexist and in poor taste, and that is what I referred to. Whether you meant it this way or not, the tifo depicts not just San Jose in a position of power over its rivals, but a man in a position of power over women, an adversarial approach to gender roles (Ironic in this country, considering how much more success the women's program has had than the men's) that leads to dehumanization of women, and all the associated issues that raises. Now, I don't think that this is what you had in mind, but it exists nonetheless. It disappointed me that this needlessly crass display came from a club I generally like, because as you showed on that very day, you can do better.

Yes, the other banner you displayed that game, the tribute to the Seattle supporter who lost his life, was a classy tribute, but rarely does the good news get billing over the bad. People will always look for the negative, especially with soccer in this country, and we don't need to give them ammunition about soccer fans being sexist and exclusive. It's a shame that the tifo that will be remembered for longer was the controversial one.

- Keith Hickey, Managing Editor
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