Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fact or Fiction?

Philadelphia tour guides have been on the hot seat lately because it turns up, they've been presenting fake history to tourists. If they don't know who wrote the Declaration of Independence, they just make something up. Now one of those tour guides, Steve Zettler, has decided to extend his love of fiction to Citizens Bank Park.

Zettler has never been to the Bank, or the Wachovia Center or any other sports venue in Philadelphia. But for some bizarre reason, the
Philadelphia Inquirer gave him a prime spot on the editorial page to vent about violence at the stadium and the horrible Philadelphia fans. In a story called City Sports Reputation Isn't So Funny Anymore, he makes a lot of allegations about Philly sports fans, none of which is based on a first-hand account. Just like his spiel to tourists, I imagine.

Now, everyone in town was horrified by the murder of Dan Sales after last Saturday night's game. But the people involved were on a bus coming from a bar to begin with. So they were already lit before they got to the Bank. They were a bunch of thugs who had nothing to do with the Phillies or sports. But to claim that that tragic event is typical is as much as a lie as claiming Betsy Ross was married to Ben Franklin.

Zettler, I go to as many Phillies games as I can afford. Sometimes I take my kids. I've seen people drinking and sometimes drinking a lot. but I've never seen anyone get violent or starting vomiting in public as Zettler, who has never been there, claims. I've also lived in Milwaukee, where they hawk mixed drinks at the games as well as beer and don't cut them off in the 7th inning the way they do in Philly. Nor is there any public transportation to get you back from the stadium, so all of those drunks are in cars. Now that's scary.

Should people drink responsively? Sure. Are our sports stadiums dens of iniquity? Hardly. Does someone who has never been there have any business libeling Philly fans? Not at all. Will his opinion make any difference? Nah, most
Phillies games are already sold out, and getting an Eagles ticket is next to impossible.

So what should we libeled fans do about Zettler? What about a class action law suit for defamation of character. That might shut him up. Let him go back to his bus and spin his fairy tales for tourists.

No comments: