I certainly agree with Sarah Lockwood [Close to Home, Aug. 29] that RFK Stadium officials and the D.C. United soccer team ought to make sure that violence at games does not occur again, as it did at the Aug. 8 home game against Tampa Bay [Sports, Aug. 9]. Her comments, however, need to be tempered a little by the facts.
Ms. Lockwood says that "if the players on the field behaved the way the fans did, they would have been ejected from the game," and The Post unfortunately chose to headline her piece "D.C. United Fans Are Drunk, Disorderly -- Even Dangerous." This would be fair enough if Ms. Lockwood were describing D.C. United fans -- but she wasn't.
Disorderly spectators show up whenever our home team plays whatever team former D.C. United player Raul Diaz Arce happens to play for -- he seems to get traded every season. That's because a small but obnoxious group of Mr. Diaz's countrymen, still angry that he was traded away several seasons ago to New England, show up to oppose the home team. Ms. Lockwood should have realized this when she witnessed spectators booing D.C. United star Marco Etcheverry. A D.C. United fan booing Mr. Etcheverry would be akin to an Orioles fan booing Cal Ripken. It just doesn't happen.
Should officials be better prepared for such disorderly behavior from some spectators when D.C. United plays Tampa Bay again in October? Absolutely. However, I hardly think it is fair for Ms. Lockwood to call for a boycott "by responsible fans" over such isolated problems.
Sarah Lockwood's description of fan behavior at the Aug. 8 D.C. United match was unfair. My wife, son and I have been to almost all of the D.C. United home matches over the past three years, and we have never had an experience that even remotely resembles that described by Ms. Lockwood.
We all can have bad experiences anywhere and at any time, but one experience doesn't make a pattern that justifies attacking a struggling sports franchise that provides a thrilling, affordable and family-friendly experience. We see families with small children, teenagers and folks of all racial, ethnic and age groups at the games. We have not had, nor have we ever seen anyone have, the kind of experience described by Ms. Lockwood.
J. PAUL BALSERAK
I have been going to D.C. United matches since 1996, when they first started. For these past four years, I have brought friends and children to the matches without incident. Sure, some incidents have involved drunken fans in the past, but if you go to a Redskins game, you see the same thing.
Fights and drunkenness are not D.C. United's responsibility but that of the RFK Stadium Authority. The team has no say about how the stadium is staffed with security.