Official: 49ers fans steal violent stereotype from Raiders fans

49ers-raiders-fans-fight.jpg

Official: 49ers fans steal violent stereotype from Raiders fans

It wasn’t all that long ago that everyone in the world knew that Oakland Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth. That’s because Los Angeles Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth, and before that Oakland Raiders fans were the worst-behaved people on earth.

So went the stereotype. For a good long while, the Raiders enjoyed the image – you fight us, you fight us all – and since many football fans typically need only a few drinks to believe any old martial crap they’re fed, those fans actually wanted to be part of the violent, stupid fun.

The crown (well, the garbage-bag hat), though, has been usurped by 49ers fans. They are now the worst by acclimation, and apparently getting worse by the day.

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First, though, a disclaimer. Like any absolute statement, this is more wrong than right. Not all Raiders fans were violent intimidating brutes; most weren’t, in fact, but it only takes one idiot’s fist to hit you in the face for wearing the other team’s jersey while another is cheering him or her on to convince you. And if you pile enough incidents in one easy-to-sort heap, you get a stereotype.

The 49ers are now that team. If you’re wearing the jersey – the traditional red, the hard-to-find white, the tedious maroon, or the preposterous black – you’re guilty by purchase, because enough of your compatriots have precipitated or extended brawls, gang-ups and bathroom felonies to wreck all your reputations.

And no, it doesn’t matter that you’re likely just a fan who wants to get along, watch your team and get back to your normal lives. Just as you all used to be wine-and-cheese dilettantes back in the day, even though you might well have hated chardonnay and were lactose-intolerant. The latest episode, at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Los Angeles, merely adds to the unpleasant legend.

So what do you do? Well, for now, maybe you should retire the jersey – if not because you don’t want to be considered an antisocial criminal on the hoof, then because you don’t want to get punched yourself, or captured on cellphone and condemned by fashion choice. Now that the stereotype is on the other mannequin, maybe changing colors from Nike red to casual whatever is simply the way to go.

And what should the team do – other than throwing out new product line and calling it a day? Quintuple their efforts to change the jersey’s image, through better enforcement at the stadium, and through relentless indoctrination anywhere else. The Raiders did this seven years ago when their problem was, if anything, considered far worse, and since then incidents at the stadium have dropped considerably.

And if you're the city where all this fun happens? Well, Santa Clara's city council is considering several options, including more police at the stadium and halting alcohol sales after halftime. Councilwomen Lisa Gillmor and Teresa O'Neill have suggested they might be in for approval of the latter, O'Neill telling the San Francisco Chronicle, “I know they make a lot of money off of alcohol sales, but if people have an hour and a half (without alcohol) maybe they will cool down a bit.”

Of course, Santa Clara police chief Michael Sellers told the Chronicle he doesn’t foresee a second-half alcohol ban making much of a difference, so it's still on the team and its customers to undo the damage done by their fellow customers and brethren/sistren.

And of course, this will be the moment when you say, “That’s because nobody goes to Raider games” or “That’s because nobody wants to be a Raiders fan,” which will be snarky and convenient and elbow-in-the-ribs-to-your-pal lie. Fine. Say what you wish, because you think it wins you bro points with your pals. It’s still you that’s the thug by association now.

And that’s the point here ultimately. This is a cheap stereotype just like Raiders-fans-are-thugs was a cheap stereotype. It doesn’t have to be true to be a thing, it just has to be anecdotal enough, and the 49ers fan has reached that stage now. Red with three white stripes on each sleeve is now a call to rumble, whether you’re wearing Charles Haley or Joe Montana or Steve Young or Jerry Rice or Patrick Willis or Frank Gore or Ronnie Lott. And no, they’re not particularly proud of you for dragging their names into this.

If you don’t want to be that guy, be the change. Don’t wear your jersey, or if you must, go out of your way to not be an ass to a guy in another jersey. Give ‘em a brat off your grill. Buy ‘em a bevvie. Have your kid play catch with their kid. It may not make for the proper ferocious heading-out-to-battle theme, but you’re not heading out to battle. You’re eating, drinking and yelling at large men who can barely hear you. In fact, your team isn’t heading out to battle either. Soldiers head out to battles. Football players, well, play.

And if you don’t want to own that team, work a lot harder to separate your jersey from random stupid violence. Over-usher and security-guard at the stadium, and have them move about in visible groups. To be sure, call the Raiders and ask the person responsible for changing their team’s image, “How did you do it?” It took awhile, trust me, and a lot of people didn’t buy it, but the Coliseum, upholstered port-a-potty though it might be, is still a hell of a lot safer than its newer concrete cousin down the 880. Ingress and egress still stink, but it stinks in Santa Clara too, because teams haven’t yet caught on to the funneling-everyone-into-one-line-just-pisses-people-off theory of crowd management.

But a start is that, a start. Retire the jersey you bought, at least for awhile, as a way of saying, “I can start with me,” or figure out ways that the jersey can mean something other than “I’m going to kick your ass or you’re going to kick my ass but either way this is going to be bad.” Raiders fans did it. You want to keep up the rivalry? Beat them at that one.

 

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

The 49ers new draft grading system is inspired by the New England Patriots, but their draft menu consists of a lot more options.

“We’ve got just under 200 players on our draft board, that we see as draftable players on our board,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in here and it was needed this year because I had a lot of catch-up to do. I can tell you that just (Sunday) night I finally got to the point, I always knew as a player like, ‘OK. I’m ready.’ That moment was (Sunday) for me where I said, ‘OK. I’m ready. I’m ready to go on this thing.’ That’s a good feeling.”

The 49ers have 10 draft picks scheduled for the three-day draft, including the No. 2 overall selection. With 73 players under contract, the 49ers figure to add approximately 17 rookies through the draft and as free agents. The NFL's seven-round draft will result in 253 players being selected.

Lynch was hired out of the FOX broadcast booth a week before the Super Bowl. The following week, Lynch assembled all of the team’s scouts for meetings in Santa Clara.

“When we first brought scouts in right after the Super Bowl we were kind of working off the old grading system,” Lynch said. “But what helped was the grading system that they use in Denver, which kind of derived from one that was developed in New England.”

One of Lynch’s first hires was former Broncos college scouting director Adam Peters as 49ers vice president of player personnel. New coach Kyle Shanahan was also familiar with the system because, like Peters, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff worked in the Patriots’ scouting department.

“In these last three weeks of draft meetings we moved over to that grading scale,” Lynch said.

“I’ve always been someone who thinks you should listen to multiple opinions and we’ve been very collaborative. I believe in strong opinions. Someone once told me, ‘Strong opinions, weakly held.’ So are you open to different thoughts and someone makes you think? But ultimately someone’s got to make decisions.”

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio recently told Boston-area reporters that New England's draft board consists of only 50 to 75 players who fit as draft picks for their team. The Patriots have seven scheduled draft picks but none in the first two rounds.

"I would say it varies year to year, but I would say our draft board is smaller than most," Caserio said. "We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft -- not that are going to get drafted.

"It's players that we would draft, that we would actually feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity."

49ERS 2017 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: No. 2 overall
2. Second round: No. 34 overall
3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
5. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
6. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
7. Fifth round: No. 161 (pick acquired from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
8. Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Baltimore in trade with C Jeremy Zuttah for No. 186)
9. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
10. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

Lynch: There's interest in 49ers' No. 2 pick, 'it's coveted'

The 49ers have narrowed their list of potential draft picks for the No. 2 overall selection on Thursday evening but they are also keeping alive the possibility of a trade.

“I can tell you with the No. 2 (pick), there have been calls. There’s been interest, but, I think, nothing specific,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“It’s coveted. When you have a pick that high, I think that’s natural.”

Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, running back Leonard Fournette and several options at defensive back are among the options most often linked to the 49ers at the No. 2 overall pick.

“We’re going to listen right up until draft day,” Lynch said. “But otherwise we’re going to pick a player at two that we feel is a cornerstone for this franchise for years to come and we’ll be very passionate about that pick and what that player can do for us moving forward.”

The 49ers have two veteran quarterbacks – Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley – currently under contract. Lynch said the 49ers have not ruled out the possibility of selecting a quarterback with the team’s top pick.

“I think we’ve stated from the beginning that a franchise quarterback is something we believe is essential to winning in this league,” Lynch said. “We hope that Hoyer and Barkley come in, and they were both brought in for a reason, but we feel like we’ll continue, always continue, to try to improve ourselves at that position.”

The coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the current roster, beginning Tuesday. With new coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are allowed to conduct a voluntary three-day minicamp before the draft.

“We have a good understanding of where we are and what we’re looking for,” Lynch said. “In terms of just getting a look real quick, and whether that will change our mind on anything, but you would hate not to give guys an opportunity to go show what they are doing before you went out and did that.

“We’ll use it for what it’s worth. I don’t know how much value. I think more than anything our coaches are just really excited to get guys out on the field, so we’ll use it as such. We’ve got a couple players in here on a tryout basis and so we’re happy for that, to see if we can add some things. We’ll evaluate but continue to work on the draft process as well.”

Lynch said the 49ers have implemented changes to the team’s grading process for the draft, drawing on a model the New England Patriots set up. Vice president of player personnel Adam Peters worked in the Patriots’ scouting department before advancing to director of college scouting with the Denver Broncos. Shanahan is also familiar with the grading system from his time with the Atlanta Falcons under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, formerly a Patriots personnel executive.

“I think we tried to create an environment that’s collaborative, where people can be confident in sharing their opinions, and we had strong opinions,” Lynch said. “They didn’t always agree, but we’ve gotten to a point where there’s consensus. Ultimately, it will be Kyle and I together making those decisions and that’s kind of where we are this week.”