You might know by now that Bryan Stow, a paramedic and Giants fan, was beaten in the parking lot at Dodgers Stadium on Opening Day. You might also know that he’s been hospitalized ever since then with a severe skull fracture. His doctors kept him in a medically-induced coma, hoping that the swelling in his brain would go down. A coma, man. This is not good.
You also might know that when the Dodgers came up to San Francisco for a three-game series in mid-April, both teams felt that we needed to speak up, and talk to the fans in the stadium and around the country about keeping sports rivalries in perspective.
On the Saturday just prior to that series with the Dodgers, our assistant general manager asked to speak with me. He told me that the front office, the ownership, the team president, and the GM felt that we needed to address fan violence. They were thinking that with the Dodgers coming to town, we had an opportunity to speak to the fans and help everyone realize that they can be a part of this historic rivalry without taking it too far. We needed to figure out ways to keep the fans a little bit more calm.
And he said they all felt like I would be the best guy to speak out on it. I’m outspoken on being a humanitarian and loving human life. I’m vocal about valuing human life and respecting each other. So I think that’s why they asked me to do it.
And I said, “Sure, I’d love to do it!”
But for me there is some emotion in this. There’s frustration. There was a little bit of anger when I heard about it. I experienced some chaotic emotions, wondering, “Why is this happening?” Because you know, two years ago there was a stabbing! This one got a lot more press because the man’s in coma. That’s going to get a lot more press. But there’s stabbings over this issue. And so it’s frustrating.
I didn’t want go on a rant. I didn’t want to get angry, and I didn’t want to get passionate and have people mistake my zeal for anger.
So I wanted some guidelines on what needed to be said. They wanted me to speak on behalf of both organizations. Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers spoke with me, but I was speaking for the Dodgers and the Giants just like Jamey was speaking for the Dodgers and the Giants. We were representing two organizations, and those organizations were representing a family that has a lot of pain in their life. I didn’t want to misrepresent them. And I know there were some funds being raised, and I didn’t want to take it for granted that people were helping.
So on Sunday, the day before the ceremony, they gave me a list of four or five things that they thought should be addressed, in any way I wanted to address them. And I used some of what they gave me, mixed with some of what I wanted the fans to understand.
And I was pretty prepared! But it was still unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Be sure to come back Friday. I’ll tell you more.