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Shame for Socker Fans

February 16, 1986

San Diego sports fans have always looked down their noses at other cities--Detroit, most notably--where the behavior of fans has become as newsworthy as the play of the athletes.

But our city forfeited some of its right to this smugness the other night when members of the crowd at a Sockers indoor soccer game threw things, including ceramic cups, at opposition players. The nasty incident occurred after several fights broke out between Socker players and members of the Los Angeles Lazers just as the game ended.

The ire of the visiting team had been raised moments before by Socker coach Ron Newman's decision to pull his goalie and send in another attacker with just three seconds to play and the Sockers ahead by three goals. Newman has become famous for trying to pad the score after the game is already well in hand. It's the kind of action any true fan resents and considers bad sportsmanship. Newman's practice is not only offensive, but it could endanger his players, as opponents and fans in other cities react.

Despite Newman's lack of judgment, we would hope fans here would be above the kind of reckless behavior that could lead to a player--any player--being injured by a thrown object. We're supposed to be better than that.

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