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July 22, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
I have long said that soccer will never completely catch on here in America, despite the talk that surfaces every 10 years or so. I enjoy the sport, even consider myself a fan, but there's no money to be made by sponsors and we already have enough other sports to keep our attention (Major League Lacrosse has an all-star game?). However, a recent "friendly" between the Columbus Crew of the MLS and West Ham United of the English Premier League may force me to rethink my opinion: Sunday's match, a 3-1 West Ham win, was overshadowed by a brawl involving over 100 people.
The fights...began when a handful of West Ham supporters, some wearing the team's claret and blue colors, entered the northeast corner of the stadium where the Crew's most boisterous supporters typically gather.
Crew supporters began directing chants toward the rival fans, and fights quickly broke out between more than 100 Crew fans and at least 30 West Ham fans. Columbus police officers and Crew Stadium security staff eventually separated the groups.
As the USA Today points out, this is the second incident involving the Columbus Crew this season. On May 24, "a fan shouted a racial slur at Revolution forward Kheli Dube, who scored in the 89th minute. Dube is black. The incident prompted a league investigation, with MLS commissioner Don Garber saying that the fan will be banned from league games for life if officials were able to identify him from a video that captured it."
Ohio, continuing to make America proud.
(H/T: Fan IQ)