A Devils Fans’, er, Uncomfortable Experience in Philadelphia

This was the experience for many of the some 19,000 fans at the Devils-Flyers game on Saturday.  A flare thrown out from the crowd that the broadcasters were saying “Smells like sulfur”.

Andrew Timoni is a Devils fan and college student in Reading, PA.  This, according to his letter posted on Devils fan board NJDevs.com and reprinted with his permission here, was the least of his experiences in South Philly.  More on racial slurs, beer bottle throwing, and yet another boring post about what class the city of Philadelphia’s sports fans have post-Jump.

To Whom it May Concern:
I thank you for taking a few moments to read this letter as it is very important to myself and the individuals involved. My name is Andrew Timoni and I am a 21 year old college student at Albright College in Reading PA. I am from northern New Jersey and am an avid Devils fan. I cannot go to many Devils games or watch them on TV because of where I am at school so I was very excited to be able to attend Saturday’s game at the Wachovia Center. 

First and foremost, the security at the arena was non-existent. Upon entering (the gate by the team store) I made a comment to my friends John (21) and Vanessa (22) that no one patted us down or looked in her purse. At the Prudential Center in New Jersey, I would have had to empty my pockets and been patted down and they also use a metal detection wand. Vanessa would have had to open her purse.

During the course of the game, we were yelled at and people were screaming obscenities at us. There were even a few threats here and there but we did our best to ignore them and try to enjoy the game. Late in the second period as Brian Gionta scored to tie up the game, Vanessa was struck in the head with a half full beer bottle. Once again, security was non-existent. The backup goalie for the Devils, Kevin Weekes, is an African Canadian and was the subject of many loud racial taunts which no one did anything about. It was disgusting to hear.

I’m sure I don’t have to refresh you on the smoke bomb incident but I believe it is important on the reflection of the lack of security in the building as it was completely non-existent. There were interviews conducted after the game where Devils players complained of having a hard time breathing and having itchy eyes. Why was the game allowed to continue? That is a serious threat to the 20,000 people in the arena including a homeland security threat. Philadelphia is a major city on the East Coast. What would have happened if there were toxins in that bomb? You would have such a different situation at hand and this all happened because no security was present at the gates.

When the Flyers scored after the game was somehow allowed to continue, my friends and I got up and walked as fast as we could to leave. I heard someone scream “go the f*ck home Jersey trash” and my friend John was violently shoved down the escalator as we were trying to leave. The three of us then started to run towards our car dodging threats and a large amount of verbal abuse.

The three of us are respectful fans in opposing arenas. We refused to answer the threats and obscenities as well as the attempts to injure us. I have no idea what should be done but it is not right for us to pay a lot of money to go see a hockey game, which was a great game by the way, and have to endure things thrown at us, people trying to hurt us, and the things that were said to us along with the entire smoke bomb incident. I hope to get a response from someone it would be much appreciated. 

Thank you,
Sincerely

Andrew Timoni
avt091@albright.edu

Thanks to Andrew for letting us use his letter, and if anyone can help myself or him get it along to the write people, please E-Mail us at SMLepore@comcast.net or Andrew at the address above.

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