Apparently, MLS is taking steps against Houston Dynamo Supporters Groups this season. Check this one out:
This came via this Twitter feed.
Clearly this is in retaliation for Dynamo Supporters Groups' actions in 2011, with the most visible example being the end of the MLS Cup Final, where Dynamo supporters were clearly seen on national TV throwing flashlights, etc. at Los Angeles Galaxy players, especially Landon Donovan and David (the right footed Brad Davis) Beckham.
My personal feeling on this is that, while I do not like MLS taking any action against my fellow heroic members of Texian Army, La Bateria, Brickwall Firm and El Battallon, I can't say I'm all that surprised. MLS rules against smoke bombs and the like are pretty clear, and throwing hard items at players is something the league just cannot tolerate. The league has a responsibility to the players and officials on the field to protect them at all times, and when situations like these occur, they have to take steps, and these seem like minor ones indeed.
That being said, I would hope that Dynamo supporters are not being singled out. You can bet that the first time I hear of any similar actions occurring from any other supporters' groups around the league, I will be looking to the league office immediately to see if there will be a concomitant reaction. If everyone is treated like this, fair enough. These are the rules and these are the consequences for violating them. You know the old line: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." But on the other hand, everyone has the right to expect equal treatment, so time will tell about that.
What do you think?
Here's the full text of the letter received by the supporters groups from MLS.
Major League Soccer and its Clubs are committed to the growth of a vibrant and healthy environment in our stadiums. We are focused on fostering a League-wide culture that embraces the passion of our core fans. That passion however, must be displayed in a responsible manner that is in accordance with the MLS Fan Code of Conduct.
This letter serves to address several violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct committed by Dynamo supporters at the following events:
1. MLS Cup, Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center (November 20th, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. multiple illegal smoke bombs were brought into the stadium, ignited and thrown onto the field
b. various objects that presented a safety risk thrown onto the field in the direction of players and stadium personnel
c. obscene language and gestures by multiple supporters.
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (November 6th, 2011): Violation of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited
3. Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park (September 24, 2011): Violations of the MLS Fan Code of Conduct included
a. a prohibited smoke bomb that was brought into the stadium and ignited.
As of March 1st, Dynamo traveling supporters will not be permitted to utilize items listed as Supporter Group Exemptions in the MLS Prohibited Items policy (e.g. flags, banners, confetti, drums). This sanction shall continue to be in effect until otherwise notified by MLS; provided, however, that at a minimum it shall apply to the following games:
1. Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center (March 11th, 2012)
2. Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Park (July 7th, 2012)
The decision to impose this sanction is based on the League-wide position that misconduct at any MLS event can affect a fan's standing at other MLS facilities. MLS will not tolerate behavior which threatens the safety of any fan, stadium employee or match participant. The actions of just a few individuals can influence the perception of all of our supporters, clubs and League.
After the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12th, 2012, the League will evaluate whether to lift the ban on the previously stated privileges. The following factors will be considered in determining the ultimate length of this restriction:
1. Supporter conduct at 2012 MLS away games
2. Supporter conduct at BBVA Compass Stadium
3. Implementation of a supporter charter
4. Formation of an effective leadership system for all Dynamo supporters that is recognized by the club
The League is encouraged by the ongoing discussion between the Dynamo supporters and the front office to learn from past events and prevent them in the future. While regrettable that these incidents took place, it is our hope that 2012 marks the year that such misconduct is a thing of the past so that we can return to our focus of supporting the Texian Army, El Battalon, Brickwall Firm, La Bateria and any other legitimate group supporting the Dynamo.
Thank you and feel free to contact with me with any questions.