Last Thursday, the board sat down with representatives from the club, and we were given a strong warning from MLS about recent behavior in our sections.
The smoke bomb situation has gotten out of control, and we need to stop it cold.
At the last home game, we had two bombs set off in our section, and people who were totally uninvolved got blamed for it. In addition, somebody wearing a TR scarf walked into the middle of the City Beats post-game party and lit off a bomb. That’s completely unacceptable. It’s one thing to do it on River Avenue after a match (which is between you and the NYPD), it's totally another to intrude on somebody else’s celebration. Similarly, at the Cosmos game we saw many people throwing smoke bombs and trash onto the pitch. That's never okay.
Now, we have many legitimate concerns about Securitas overreacting. There are many things we think we should be able to bring into the supporters section. But smoke bombs aren't part of that discussion. They aren't allowed in any MLS stadium, and that's not going to change.
We are working very hard with the club and with Yankee Stadium to expand the unreasonable restrictions initially put upon us, and we’re already starting to get some traction. Incidents like these make that job exponentially harder. We will continue to push for more freedoms, but we all need to show that we’re not the irresponsible hooligans they so obviously feared we would be.
There's a lot that we are trying to achieve in Yankee Stadium. We want flagpoles in our section. We megaphones for our capos. We want to set off smoke under controlled conditions, the way they do at stadiums around the league. We know many of you share those goals, and we're asking you to help us get there. We must stop bringing the smoke bombs into Yankee Stadium. Make sure that no Third Rail member brings them in or lights one off. If you see someone from outside our group throwing one, you always have the option of telling Security or using the anonymous Yankee Stadium text hotline: (917) 746-0088.
This goes for road matches and Cup games as well – any events featuring NYCFC. MLS is watching what we do, and we have to obey the rules at other stadiums the way we do at home. We are told that they are reviewing incidents from the recent Cup match at Hofstra.
Now, it's very possible that we're not responsible for these events. Not everyone at Hofstra was a member. But the Third Rail will be blamed for anything that happens in our section, and we need to discourage members and non-members alike from doing anything that will reflect badly on us.
It doesn't just hurt the group; there may also be individual sanctions against those involved, up to and including a permanent ban from all MLS stadiums and events (which means you'll get arrested for trespassing if you even try to attend a game). Please don't make it come to that.
The bottom line is really simple - smoke bombs will mean sanctions from the league, more scrutiny from Securitas, and less freedom at Yankee Stadium. Losing the bombs means getting more of the other things we want, and more fun for everyone. Every single incident, home or away, will count against us and make it harder to improve the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium.
We’ve already made our sections a fantastic place to watch a game. We can continue to make it even better. Please help us do so.
The other good news is that we want to make these sit downs with the club a more regular event, so we can carry your concerns and feedback to them. We will be soliciting your questions as soon as there's a date for the next one. And with your help, the next time we sit down with the club, it won't be about hearing complaints from the league but instead about getting more of what we all want.