A group of Washington Capitals fans from New York City experienced a horrible time at the New York Islanders/Capitals game on Sunday. Their team lost the game, but the group claims that Islanders fans vandalized their cars, shouted racial slurs at them, and were overall downright rude.
Nate “Igor” Smith blogged about the treatment at his website. He wrote the game “was the worst experience” he ever had “in 30 years of attending sporting events.” The day started well with tailgating and meeting Caps play-by-play announcer John Walton. That all stopped once the game started:
We were told to shut up and yelled all manor of things at us. The fans directly around us were pretty friendly but the people a few rows in front and a few rows behind were not. When the Islanders scored their first goal one of the guys behind me poured beer all over me. Homophobic bullshit was shouted at us all game and my friend Fatou had a number of racist comments directed at her.
Our group had bought seats in two different sections so during the second intermission we all met up at one of the out door smoking areas. We walked in together and were booed by everyone. It seemed good natured at first but then we were surrounded and things took a much darker turn. We were surrounded by several dozens of Islanders fans, some of whom blew smoke into the girls in our group’s faces. Several of them were actually pushing us but we clearly weren’t about to start a fight with that many people. I just held my Caps “Unleash The Fury” towel above my head (as seen in the above photos) and just took all the boos and chants of asshole and fun stuff like “fuck you faggot”.
At some point a drunk Islanders fan grabbed the rally towel out of my hands and as I tried to get it back Islanders fans swarmed me and it looked like it was going to turn into a brawl but security was quick to break it up. Of course the security guard blamed it on me for “instigating a fight” when all I was doing was silently holding a rally towel and smiling. When someone threw a bottle at our group I told the same security guard about it and he said “no one is throwing anything at you” despite the bottle landing at his feet.
There were a few Islanders fans who defended the group. When the game went into overtime, the crazy fans became more physical towards the Capitals fans when John Tavares won the game for the home crowd. The fans around them kicked the chairs and pounded the seat backs. As they left, the same fans shouted the same obscenities. Things became worse once they went to the parking lot:
When we made it to our cars we noticed that our friend Justin’s car had been keyed twice and his rear license plate had been stolen. A few Islanders fans couldn’t believe it and were pretty great about it but another drunk fan started screaming and bumping up into the face of several of our crew. At some point one of our members pushed him away after he jumped into us and that nearly started another brawl. I fortunately broke it up since I had no interest in going to jail but the guys still pissed right next to my friends car so that he had to stand in a puddle of urine to get into his car.
There was of course almost no security in the parking lot so when a couple of security guards finally came by in a golf cart we stopped them to let them know what happened to Justin’s car. They just told him to call the cops and as they drove off I saw one of them turn to the other and started laughing about the stolen license plate. It was pretty infuriating.
ESPN reported the Nassau County Police Department received a complaint about vandalism and will investigate the incident. Fatou spoke with ESPN about the experience.
“All of us expected to be booed,” she explained. “We expected ‘F-U!!’ [chants], ‘go home!’ [chants], that’s what we expected. They’re passionate. Nobody is upset about getting booed at. That wasn’t the issue. It just got a little too crazy. Thank God there wasn’t any legit violence.”
SMG, the Coliseum’s management company, said they will add more security to ensure a better experience for all fans. The Islanders also released this statement:
We are disappointed by the reported actions of a select group of fans that attended Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. The alleged racist or homophobic remarks directed at several Washington Capitals fans are by no means associated with or supported by the New York Islanders organization. Islanders fans, who are made up of the best of the world’s melting pot, are some of the most respectful, passionate and knowledgeable in the NHL. The inappropriate actions of a few individuals does not represent Islanders fans as a whole. We expect our fans to continue to be the loudest and most respectful fans in the NHL.