Timbers Army Responds To OregonLive Piece
For the sake of showing both sides to the story, I'd like to reprint in full the Timbers Army's response (courtesy of Finns Wake) to the OregonLive piece I linked to in an earlier post today. I'm certainly not taking sides on the issue, I just feel compelled to share both views on this.
Dear John Canzano,
I wanted to respond to your piece today on the Timbers Army. While I certainly think it is a topic that has been and will probably continue to be an issue at not only Timbers matches but sporting events of all types I feel that the letter from Andrew and Laurie painted a rather skewed picture of what the Timbers Army is all about and what actually goes on during matches.
Andrew and Laurie sure seems to know alot of "facts" about a group that they only witnessed from 75 meters away.
The truth is that the Timbers Army is a vibrant and unique part of the sporting culture in Portland and the United States and we will continue to provide the most vocal and visual support we can in order to support our beloved Portland Timbers.
Here are some actual facts about the Timbers Army:
Fact: There are 4 separate Timbers Army, North End related soccer teams and countless other members who play, ref and coach. But there is no requirement to be a soccer super star to stand with us. We only ask that you cheer and be passionate in your support.
Fact: The Timbers Army has given over $10,000 to charity in the past 5 years.
Fact: The Timbers Army is one of the most diverse groups that you will ever see gathered in one place in Portland, Oregon. Football/Soccer has a way of doing that. While there are certainly a few fat white men (I wasn't aware you had to pass a fitness test to be a fan) we also boast lots of skinny white men, women of all shapes and sizes, lots and lots of CHILDREN, Mexicans, Bolivians, Japanese, Polish, British, Germans, Irish, Scottish, Brazilians, Argentinians and Serbians. We have hipsters and Beaverton soccer moms. We have construction workers, lawyers, beer truck delivery guys, doctors, political consultants, dock workers, UPS drivers, accountants and an actual lumberjack.
Fact: We have nothing to do with Hooliganism or anything associated with Hooligan culture. That is a very loaded term that is used to prejudice people against any form of soccer team support and it is nonsense. There are no fights in the North End and irresponsible conduct of any manner is dealt with by alerting the proper authorities.
Fact: MLS specifically cited the Timbers Army as one of the prime reason they selected this city for a expansion franchise. In fact, MLS was at the very same game that Andrew and Laurie were at and came away incredibly impressed by the passion, size and organization of the Timbers Army.
Fact: The Timbers Army has actively, and will continue to, work with the Timbers Front office to curb offensive words from chants. It is an ongoing effort but it is important to point out that the language heard at NFL, NBA and Ducks foorball games can be worse than anything that comes from the North End of PGE on game night. While it is impossible to police language of an individual we will continue to work to provide the most inclusive experience possible.
Fact: While it certainly is going to take ticket holders of all sizes and shapes to make MLS in Portland a success (and unlike Andrew I certainly hope that the Timbers don't prevent fat people from buying tickets) the Timbers Army currently represent a significant portion of season and game day ticket purchases and that will only increase in MLS. There were about 8,000 fans in PGE Park on Thursday night. About 3,000 of them were standing shoulder to shoulder singing their hearts out for the team in the Timbers Army section. While Andrew and Laurie most certainly are entitled to their opinion, I think the opinion of 3,000 passionate fans count for a lot more; as well as the other 4,999 fans who seemed to enjoy the match as well. It is also important to point out there were about 12,000 other seats available for Andrew and Laurie and their family. I know for a fact that the team will accommodate requests for a seat change whenever possible.
Fact: Andrew and Laurie are welcome to come down to the middle of section 107 and actually meet the people they so quickly formed an opinion of and learn what this thing called the Timbers Army is all about.