philadelphians have a reputation for being tough and character flawed. philly sport fans placed the city of brotherly love on the map when the city placed a jail in the football stadium dedicated housing disorderly and unruly fans. the fans took it to another level when they famously booed santa clause. dp
recently, national news reports came out concerning a disturbing sexual assault that occurred on a philadelphia train. accounts reported that passengers did not intervene to stop the assault and, instead, videotaped the incident. phillyvoice.com
for those hearing of this account, they justifiably felt anger and rage towards those passengers. this emotion could have carried over towards philadelphians as a group. after all, facts back up these intense emotions.
there is a problem with the story, however.
it is reported that the “delaware county district attorney jack stollsteimer flatly denied that any witnesses filmed the woman’s rape with their phones, calling such claims “misinformation” as he tried to refocus the investigation. “there is a narrative out there that people sat there on the el train and watched this transpire and took videos of it for their own gratification,” stollsteimer said. “that is simply not true. it did not happen. we have security video from septa that shows that is not the true narrative.”
thus, there is a profound problem within society with media, political activism, and social activism: real emotions can be generated by false or inaccurate information.
what does this mean?
as individuals, despite the technological immediacy of information flow, time and patience must be employed to not let one’s emotions unjustifiably be stoked or shaped by something that may end up either not being either accurate or true. thus, individuals must search out both credible and alternative sources to accurate assess information before placing an emotional footprint on an issue or topic.
many who initially heard about the philly train incident were justifiably outraged. in the end, the emotions and perception towards philly residents must now be re-balanced by the truth. this, just one of the many cautionary tales with respect to both the quality of our media as well as blatant attempts to stoke real emotion based upon false narratives.
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The jail at the Vet
Eagles fans who don’t like stereotypes won’t like bringing this up, but facts are facts: the Eagles had a courtroom and jail at the old Veterans Stadium because their fans were so frigging rowdy.
Here’s some good news, though. Most of the fans getting arrested weren’t actually from Philly. So says former Eagles Court judge Justice Seamus P. McCaffery in a 2011 interview.
Eagles Court was a lot of fun and it served a purpose. One of the interesting facts that came out of Eagles Court was that 95 percent of the people arrested were not from Philadelphia. But Philadelphia was getting broad-brushed as the city with horrible, horrible fans.
So how did this start? McCaffery estimates during a Monday Night Football game against the 49ers in 1998 there were “60 fistfights in the stands.” Oh yeah, and someone fired off a flare in the stands.
Eagles ownership and management were concerned with the appearance the fan base was portraying and decided to install a court room and jail on the premises.
“The fans — even by Philadelphia standards — were just getting out of hand,” former deputy mayor Kevin Feeley recalled in 2015.
On the “opening day” of the court, 20 fans were processed. The first one was a doozy.
David Sharp, 38, of Dover, Del., was the first person to appear in court. “All right, guys, I’m a murderer. I killed four people,” Sharp said as he was led into the courtroom.
He was arrested for challenging security guards who told him not to bring an open alcoholic beverage into the stadium. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was fined $198.50.
The stadium jail has since been shuttered — an “Eagles Court” technically exists but not within the new stadium — and while the Eagles probably improved the quality of fan experience by cutting down on the rowdiness of their fans, they certainly didn’t do anything to help the lore of the intense Philly football fan.