Regarding the Nov. 21 front-page story "Beer, Boorishness in Stands Spoil Games for Some Fans":
At a recent Sunday night Washington Redskins game, several people seated in front of me were wearing Philadelphia Eagles shirts. The way they were treated you would have thought they were from Fallujah and supporting the Taliban.
These men had traveled south to root for their home team. When the Eagles advanced or made a good play, they cheered. When the Redskins made a good play, they turned around and congratulated us. Unfortunately, Redskins fans seated farther away shouted, harassed and taunted these men throughout the game.
I was especially mortified to hear that when one of the Philadelphia fans went to the restroom, somebody spit in his face -- just because he was wearing a shirt of the opposing team.
How unfortunate that manners and decency are left at the turnstile when people enter pro sports arenas. The visceral intensity and animosity have taken the fun out of the game, which is a shame. After all, it is just a game.
We have attended Redskins games for almost 30 years, and the experience has gone downhill dramatically in the past five years or so. We long ago quit going to night games, when the alcohol factor seems even worse than at day games. Even 4 p.m. games are worse than 1 p.m. ones -- more time to get soaked before game time, we suppose.
But the experience is marred not only by the inebriated fans and their distasteful language. I don't know the exact demographics in the stands, but many of us are, um, older. Some of us bring children. Much of the music is too loud, and frequently the lyrics are offensive. The stadium is awash in advertising -- it is almost worse than watching on TV. Even the Funky 4 aren't allowed to perform because their "act" has been turned into a commercial for FedEx.
Unless you are on the club level, the food is expensive and not good. The concessions often run out of basic items such as ketchup; recently, they ran out of hot dogs, too!
Last but not least, when did it become important for the announcers to "dis" visitors by whispering their introductions and not telling us what happened on a play if it happened to be a good one by the visitors? We don't mind the announcers being "home friendly," but they should narrate the game. We also resent being told on every play whether to cheer louder or keep quiet. We know when to root, root, root for the home team.
The games are expensive, hard to get to and get home from. The team -- win or lose, we love the Skins -- deserves better from fans and management.
Royal Oak, Md.
Staff writer Joe Holley's article said that the concessionaire at Redskins games, Centerplate, enforces a limit of four beers per purchase. I asked an employee at a concession stand how they enforce the policy of refusing to sell to anyone who appears intoxicated, and he said they had no formal system. Why not issue wristbands with numbers printed on them? Then concession workers could mark on the wristband each time a fan buys a beer or other alcoholic drink.
It also would be necessary to stop selling beer in the stands -- another good idea. Team owner Daniel Snyder needs to address this problem now before a driver who got drunk at FedEx Field kills someone.
I have been a lifelong Redskins fan and a season ticket holder for five years. I have put up with subpar teams. I have put up with the addition of the Tailgate Club, a marketing ploy for wealthy individuals to bypass the waiting list for season tickets. I have put up with the replacement of Phil Hochberg calling the games with a more jazzed-up version. I have put up with the displacement of Frank Herzog. I don't even try to take the escalators to the stands anymore; they are rarely in 100 percent working order.
Beer sellers are the only vendors I see in the stands. The wait for french fries is 10 times the wait for a beer.
EBay ticket auctions, coupled with the largest stadium in the NFL, equals a ton of visiting fans, many fueled by beer. In the past, people either ignored or joked with the few fans who showed up to root for the opposing team. Now some people seem preoccupied with looking for a fight or getting tanked.
I feel I now have two options.
* Drive to the stadium early to avoid traffic and get to the game on time. Enjoy tailgating in the parking lot while wishing the Red lot had more than one portable toilet. Ignore the guys selling fake Oakleys, obscene T-shirts and bootleg DVDs. Wait in line, get patted down by security. Sit next to a drunken guy wearing the opposing team's jersey. Win or lose, watch people cursing and fighting as I leave the stadium. Wait in traffic for 30 or more minutes to exit the stadium lot. Sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way home.
* Order a pizza and watch the game on TV with family and friends.
Guess which one I am picking next season.
Joe Holley's article missed the most obvious reason Redskins fans find it necessary to get drunk in the parking lots long before kickoff: $7 to $8 for a beer inside the stadium.
Fans drink as much as possible before going inside the stadium to avoid being gouged at the beer taps.
Additionally, Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson's reliance upon Centerplate's alcohol policy is disingenuous. The stadium and surrounding grounds are owned by the Redskins, who should take responsibility for the sale and consumption of alcohol on their property. Asking the beer vendors to institute a policy that would cut into their sales is akin to asking the fox to watch the henhouse.
I attend most of the Redskins' home games, and I agree that fan intoxication and vulgar language have increased noticeably over the past few years.
Has anyone else noticed that the swarms of aisle vendors sell only beer? To obtain food or a non-alcoholic drink requires leaving the seats and standing in a long line. But stay in the seats, hold up a hand up and a "beer man" will be by in seconds.
This surely contributes to excessive drinking.
EDWARD W. JEWELL