I thought I would take yepyou’reright’s advice and put together a quick summary of what happened outside the ECS section. I have settled down a bit from my semi-coherent rantings last night but my opinion on the subject has not changed. I have seats in 221 right near the 221/222 concourse entrance, so please, unless you have seats in that vicinity don’t dispute what happened.
A few points: Timber Joey (for some reason I feel silly every time I say or type Timber Joey) must, as far as I’m aware, walk down the 122/123 stairwell to access the south deck and east side. Otherwise, he would have to double back twice (once on the west side, once on the south/east) on his log slice route, instead of single pass around the stadium. As far as I know he is a self- admitted mascot and not an “ultra.” Also, there is an announcement before every match that obscene gestures and standing in aisles are grounds for removal from Jeld-Wen. This incident does not involve all Sounders fans, but rather the 5-7 primarily involved and the 6-7 rows cheering them on. It does not reflect on the Sounders family behind me, although they should probably revisit their neutral “boys will be boys” stance on the matter.
After the first goal, Timber Joey was making his ceremonious tour of the stadium. Once he did the “raise” at 221, the 122/222 walkway area was swarmed by about 5-7 or so tough guy ECS members, with about 10 more guys of lesser toughness behind them. My guess is that it was the Brougham Boys, you know, these guys: http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/brougham-boys-74.1266257/ They swarmed in unison, indicating to me, that the altercation was premeditated. They initially all began forcefully shoving Joey, who was trying to maintain his balance without dropping the log slice. Holding the log slice, he was essentially defenseless (my guess is that thing would cause serious injury should he drop it on someone below). The next several minutes proceeded with these ECS members (they were wearing ECS garb) threatening Joey and gesturing/yelling obscenely…middle fingers to the bridge of Joey’s nose, slapping, screaming in his face, type of stuff. One ECS member (who was wearing a Star Wars themed ECS shirt) put his middle finger in Joey’s face and yelled “I’m going to kill you.” The six or so rows behind the incident were all standing and applauding the ECS members’ behavior.
Event staff seemed unprepared for the incident (although the same thing happened last year to a lesser extent) and the PPB stood around with their hands in their pockets. After the initial incident wore down, the supervising officer approached two other officers and jokingly asked them if they could handle it. The all had a good laugh, I did not see the officers remove their hands from their pockets the rest of the match (even with holstered weapons). Event staff seemed primarily focused on ensuring these ECS members had enough space to continue their behavior, protests from nearby Timbers fans were met with threats of expulsion and they re-routed Timber Joey.
A similar stand off ensued after the second goal, but Joey didn’t get close enough to be shoved, just more of the same threatening/obscene gestures and language. By this point he was visibly upset. For the remainder of the game, these 5-7 ECS members “stood guard” at the entrance to the 122/222 walkway. Timbers season ticket holders with seats in 122/123, who need to use this walkway to access their seats, were also intimidated by these ECS members and were not allowed to get to their seats. I’ll leave it here because basically the same intimidation/harassment tactics happened for the rest of the game, you get the idea. I voiced my concern about last year before the game, and this was definitely a notch higher on the boiler pressure.