SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Some fans take their games personally, but in the last few months we’ve seen passion turn to violence far too often at California sporting events. Now one lawmaker says enough is enough.
It’s three strikes you’re out at the old ballgame, but if lawmaker Mike Gatto gets his way, all it will take is one violent act to get a fan banned from professional sporting events in California
“There are so many things out there worth fighting for – your family, your country – but the color of someone’s jersey just isn’t one of them,” the Southern California assemblyman told CBS13 on Tuesday.
Gatto says his Los Angeles constituents are now afraid to take their kids to ballgames after high-profile incidents such as the vicious beating of Bryan Stow. The Giants fan was in a coma for six months after being attacked by Dodgers fans.
“Beating someone up because they’re rooting for a different team, we need to come down hard on these people,” Gatto said.
The “ban list” would target fans convicted of hurting someone at a game. Their name would be placed on an online database and circulated to sporting venues, police departments and ticketing offices around the state. It would also require all teams to contribute $10,000 to a reward fund.
The idea scores big with a number of fans we talked to.
“I’m for it,” one said. “I think a lot of the fans take it too serious. It’s just a game. It should be played as a game, enjoyed as entertainment.”
“Violent people kinda ruin it for everybody,” another said.
But some worry the law would be ineffective.
“I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t know how it would be enforced,” one said.
Gatto believes the threat of a year in jail and a $10,000 fine if caught is a good enough deterrent.
“Italy and England passed laws like this because of problems with soccer hooliganism,” he said. “The laws have been tremendously successful over there.”
If the law goes through ,a violent fan could face a five-year ban for the first violation, 10 for the second and up to 25 years for the third.