I'm writing to you on behalf of a large number of fans here in Calgary who have had enough of the behaviour of Saskatchewan Roughriders fans in our city.
I've been considering writing this letter since the 2006 west semifinal, but after talking with a number of season-ticket holders, and listening to the opinions expressed on our local sports radio station, I've come to realize I am hardly alone in my feelings.
When the Riders are in Calgary, McMahon Stadium becomes a war zone, with intoxicated fans throwing insults and beer cans at anyone not wearing green.
The situation has become so bad that several season-ticket holders I know will give away their tickets when Saskatchewan comes to town rather than deal with the abuse, and it is getting worse with every game. As a fan, I feel there are things I should not have to deal with at a football game:
Face abuse when wearing Stampeder colours in my home (or any other) stadium.
A huge amount of intoxicated fans, watch for flying beer cans and keep an eye out for smashed watermelons.
Telling my kids I can't take them to the game because it is Saskatchewan in town and I don't want to subject them to the environment that is created.
Run a gauntlet of verbal and physical abuse when walking up University Drive to my car.
I will not argue that at every CFL game this year there will be one or two idiots who take things too far and get out of hand. A number of them will certainly be wearing red and white. Sadly, we aren't talking about one or two idiots but several thousand. Are all Rider fans idiots? Certainly not, but enough to make McMahon an uncomfortable place when they are here.
A lot of Rider fans would no doubt say I'm exaggerating the problem. You know, I really wish I were. The questions to ask, however, are why does it get out of hand only when the Riders are in town and why does it happen every time the Riders come to town?
Should we ban Rider fans from McMahon stadium? Not a chance. I think it is great when two groups of fans come together. That being said, some Rider fans need to be more respectful.
The Riders are back in Calgary on Thanksgiving Monday and I'm challenging Rider fans to prove they can come to Calgary and behave with class and respect so we don't have to deal with the garbage that has accompanied them the past few years.
Rider fans call themselves the best fans in the league. You don't just get to call yourself that. It has to be earned. Think you are up for it?