Fans React to Dynamo Supporters Groups Sanctions
The sanctions against the Dynamo Supporters Groups announced on Monday have been widely speculated about throughout the soccer community. I’d like to take a brief moment to introduce the Dynamo Supporters Groups in an effort to bring more understanding to the debate. The Dynamo have four major Supporters Groups: The Texian Army, El Batallon, La Bateria and Brickwall. Each group is unique, yet they all come together on game days and lead chants throughout the stadium. The sanctions affect all four of these groups.
Many of the chants lead by the Supporters Groups include profanity. Miguel Sada, the same Supporters Group leader that announced the sanctions on Monday, defended those chants and other unsafe practices by stating on his Twitter:
@OrtizKicks Flares, Bombs, Chants are part of Futbol culture, there’s baseball for ppl that like silence, nachos and a good nap.
— Miguel Sada (@miguelsada19) February 28, 2012
For Groups who are attempting to get their exemptions back, Sada’s words come across as unaffected, rude and careless.
While fútbol culture is an important aspect of the game day experience, particularly in the Hispanic-driven Houston market, it is important for the Groups to remember that games should be family-friendly and respectful to everyone in attendance. It is never okay to ostracize another fan for any reason. It is disappointing that these groups fail to realize that they represent the club’s entire fan base at away games and that they have a responsibility not only to the club, but also to their fellow fans to be respectful and inclusive.
Though Sada has been the main voice for the Supporters Groups thus far, there hasn’t been much coverage yet on what other fans and group members have to say about the situation. One fan I spoke with says, “It is completely fair. They broke the rules, and it sucks that the league didn’t punish other groups who also break rules … but that doesn’t mean it’s not fair. They should get their act together. Little kids come to these games.” She goes on to say that “Something like 36 of [The Houston Dynamo] games are being broadcast this season. That’s a big deal when they’re on screen because yeah, they’re the loudest and you see and hear them.”
Another fan, who has season tickets in the Supporters Section of BBVA Compass Stadium, tells me that “I get why they’re mad, I do. I know and they know that they weren’t even behind one of those smoke bombs at the Rob so they’re mad because they’re not even the only ones who broke the rules but they’re getting called out for it.” “I’m not a member of a group, but I bought my season tickets in the Supporters Section because I want to join one. Now I’m weary. It makes me worried about my safety.”
While the sanctity of the rules continues to be a hot button issue within the Dynamo fan community, one issue rings clear: Major League Soccer should have done a league wide sweep of rule-breaking groups. Each and every fan that I have spoken to has told me that they believe Major League Soccer should have taken a league wide approach to rule breakers instead of singling out Dynamo Supporters Groups. Supporters Group exemptions at BBVA Compass continue to be up in the air but as of now the groups retain their exemptions at home games.