Forget his column, John Steigerwald’s opinion on jerseys is just flat out stupid

Los Angeles Dodgers fans lineup outside Dodger Stadium before their Opening Day MLB National League baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in Los Angeles, California March 31, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

John Steigerwald is the Pittsburgh-area columnist who caused a stir earlier this week for a column he wrote about Bryan Stow, the 42-year-old Giants fan who is still in a coma after being beaten by two thugs outside of Dodger Stadium on Opening Weekend. I responded to the garbage that Steigerwald wrote yesterday, but since then he has taken to his blog (as well as TV and radio) to defend his stance.

This was from an entry entitled “THANKS FOR NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY:”

I don’t apologize for the column but I do apologize to the Stow family if this nonsense has reached them and in any way added to their pain. I don’t, for one second, blame Brian Stow for the beating he took. I do blame the ever increasing out of control, out of perspective behavior by fans, too many of whom are no longer satisfied with going to their stadiums and cheering for their teams. And I sure as hell don’t think –as some hysterical posters have claimed –that Bryan “had it coming.”

If you read the entire entry, Steigerwald again comes off like an ass and almost seems to think that he’s the victim of “hysterical” readers. But he came back with another piece called “MOVING ON,” which came across much better in my eyes.

I wrote what I wrote and I stand by it, but at the same time, I understand why so many people interpreted some of what I wrote as being insensitive to Bryan Stow’s situation. I made the mistake of assuming that the tragedy of the situation spoke for itself and that I didn’t need to point out how terrible it was for Stow and his family. When I wrote ” Maybe somebody can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants gear to a Dodgers’ home opener when there was a history of out of control drunkenness and arrests at that event going back several years”, I can see by the responses that that came across as flippant and insensitive. That was not my intent. If I had it to do over again, I would write it differently. I know what I felt in my heart when I wrote it and it was anger over what had happened to this guy over a stupid jersey. That’s why I spent a good part of the column expressing my feelings about the jersey phenomenon. I don’t get it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think everybody has the right to wear what they want to a game.

Much better, John. You’re still way, way off base and your original column should still be used as toilet paper but at least you actually took the time to see what all the outrage was about.

As I wrote yesterday (although not in so many words), I think Steigerwald’s point is pretty freaking stupid. Let’s put Bryan Stow’s situation aside for a moment and focus on what Steigerwald was trying to say in his original column: that grown men shouldn’t wear jerseys to a game because a) the players can’t see you and even if they could, they don’t draw inspiration from you or your jersey, b) you’re not a kid anymore and c) the jersey may contribute to “the new mob mentality that seems to exist in the stands these days.”

I would venture a guess that most adults wear jerseys to a game not because they think they’ll have some kind of positive affect on the players or their team, but because they like to wear them. Some people don’t like wearing ties. Some people don’t like wearing collared shirts. Hell, some people don’t like wearing long pants and wear shorts year-round, even in the winter. It’s just a matter of preference, and the preference for a lot of people when they go to games is to wear jerseys. They’re not tabbing into their inner-child or hold this belief that the jersey holds mystical winning powers: THEY JUST LIKE WEARING JERSEYS TO A GAME.

And Steigerwald’s idea that the jersey was the reason that Stow fetched a beating is just as ridiculous. Like I wrote yesterday, what if Stow and his buddies were wearing Giants polo shirts instead? Would they have avoided a beating? Would the thugs who did this have said: “Ah, you know what? Dude is wearing a Giants polo shirt. I feel less inebriated, angry and violent. Now, if he were wearing a jersey, well, all bets would be off.” I’m thinking no.

I think the bottom line is that there are some cowards in this country who look to prey on the weak and unsuspecting because they’re too insecure about their manhoods. Obviously these thugs were looking for a fight the minute they woke up and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a pre-mediated plan to attack Giant fans that night – REGARDLESS OF IF THE GIANT FANS WERE WEARING JERSEYS. Simply put, these are animals that need to be caged.

Besides, this jersey notion takes away from the real issue: Fans should be able to support their favorite teams at a public venue without worrying about whether or not they’ll end up in a hospital at the end of the night. Would I wear a Giants anything in L.A.? Probably not. But I should have the right to without somebody laying their hands on me.

Steigerwald’s column was trash and his jersey opinion is just as bad. Hopefully somebody will tell him to drop the notion moving forward, because there’s nothing there.

And to the Stow family, may you be able to speak with Bryan again soon. I do not know him, but I wish him my best.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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