CANDLESTICK PARK — It’s common to see a crowd doing the wave at a sporting event.
But when the wave springs up as an opposing player lays immobilized and injured on the field, it’s an embarrassing disgrace.
That’s what happened Sunday at Candlestick as Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell lay hurt following a collision in the fourth quarter.
Initially the stadium was quiet for several minutes as medical personal tended to Campbell’s neck injury with players from both teams huddling around in prayer and support.
Then suddenly, a group of 49ers fans initiated an ill-timed wave — that thousands soon followed — in a despicable act of ignorance.
From the press box it was noticeable that some fans sat in disgust as the simple-minded and intoxicated moved the swell along.
Many 49ers players like Alex Boone, Mike Iupati and Frank Gore — Campbell’s college teammate at Miami — immediately began signaling for the crowd to stop, to some avail.
Fortunately, Campbell gave thumbs up as he was carted off to applause. He reportedly has movement in his extremities.
49ers CEO Jed York went on Twitter to voice his disgust at fans behavior amid Campbell’s injury:
To say I'm disappointed some fans did the wave this afternoon while @Campbell93 was down is understatement. Hope you get well soon Calais
— Jed York (@JedYork) October 14, 2013
Anquan Boldin tweeted his support for his friend and former teammate post-game:
Praying for my friend @Campbell93, never want to see anyone taken off the field like that, teammate or opponent.
— Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) October 14, 2013
The classless wave at Candlestick comes on the same day fans at Houston’s Reliant Stadium roared when struggling quarterback Matt Schaub injured his ankle and left the game.
Meanwhile, 49ers radio broadcasters Ted Robinson and Eric Davis were not pleased with the wave, and left tackle Joe Staley told the San Francisco Chronicle what he thought of it:
“There is a man down there on the field getting carted off, you got fans out there doing the wave, I thought it was disrespectful. I know their players didn’t appreciate it, and our guys didn’t appreciate it. That’s our livelihood out there. It’s a brotherhood out there. I think that’s what makes this game so great. Just didn’t appreciate it.”
So do today’s fan actions in San Francisco and Houston necessitate a new rule — about not cheering when players are injured — be added to the NFL fan code of conduct?
Let’s hope not.
Campbell will be okay, and that’s what matters.
So Sunday’s wave will go unpunished, but it didn’t make the 49ers look good after a hard fought win. It confirmed that there is a lot of classlessness in the crowd at Candlestick Park.