Fan violence bill loses its teeth

There may be nothing better than pro sports on a nice day, sipping — or chugging — beer in good company and watching the home team win.

In a perfect world, all games would be that peaceful.

Unfortunately, fan violence often mars the peace at pro sporting events. From the beating of Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium, to the alleged threats against a New Orleans fan during the NFL playoffs at Candlestick, recent violence prompted lawmakers to pen a bill in an attempt to bring sporting events back to a friendly, safe place.

Early versions of the bill mandated a “ban list” of troublemaking fans at stadiums. It’s now been diluted to require only that stadiums clearly post emergency phone numbers fans may call or text if they feel unsafe.

The bill is set to be approved by the California Senate after the Assembly unanimously approved the measure last week.

Despite a weaker stance on fan violence, bill sponsor Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) said introducing emergency phone numbers is important considering how long it’s taken first responders to arrive on the scene:

“These incidents have broken my heart. Families are worried about taking kids to games.”

Gatto said it was unfortunate that the function of the ban list was misunderstood. It works to control hooligans at sporting events in Britain, which levies stiff punishments against troublemakers:

“You don’t want to fill up your prisons with these guys. You want to take away what they like, and what they like is going to a game. The specter of increased punishment is something that can work.”