How to Fight the Negative Philly Fan Stereotype

“They throwin’ snowballs!”

ESPN Radio host Matt Hammond contributes to this site from time to time with his opinions on things. In the wake of the Lions fan story, which saw more outrage directed at the accuser than the nameless fans who reportedly beat him, this is Matt’s opinion – his plan – on how to stop the negative Philly fan stereotype.


So let me get this straight: Person A does dumb thing. Person B takes notice, and talks about it on his newspaper or talk radio or TV station or blog, in a way that’s unfavorable to residents of the city where Person A lives. And that city takes issue with… Person B?

This is the way it’s been for 30 years here. Idiots act like idiots at Philadelphia sports venues. Lazy, predictable national media types do what lazy predictable national media types do: reach as closely as possible for the easiest and simplest and most convenient storyline. And yet, Philly’s problem is never with the guy who pukes on a cop’s daughter at a Phillies game. Or gets tasered after a jog in center field at Citizens Bank Park. Or, as has been reported, beats the piss out of a Lions fan at the Eagles “Snow Bowl” win on Sunday. Never.

There’s got to be a better way.

I understand the frustration with the national media. Real or perceived, to the average Philly sports fan, it feels like they’re, at best, unable to see how often incidents like these occur EVERYWHERE, at worst, going out of their way to take pot shots at big, mean Philly, a city whose people are far better than they’re being labeled.

What I don’t understand is how that frustration dwarfs, my multiples of bazillions, the frustration with the idiots in Philly sports gear perpetrating the acts. Re-read that. Not Philly sports fans. Idiots in Philly sports gear. Remember that. They’re not you. And they’re the problem– the ones who bring this on you, repeatedly.

Yet, when it comes to dialing sports talk radio and blowing up Twitter and posting feverishly on message boards, the idiots perpetrating the acts — and perpetuating the stigma — are a complete afterthought. Completely forgotten about.

No more.

So here’s an idea, some words of encouragement and empowerment for a fan base that’s taken too much crap for too long: if you want to take back the stigma, rewrite the national narrative, and overhaul the culture of your pro sports stadiums: from now on, spend not a fleck of energy bellyaching about the national media and anything they say.

Instead, save all that energy for idiots in Philly sports gear who perpetrate the incidents and create the material.

Make THEM public enemies No. 1.

Heckle THEM at stadiums, for throwing beers and profanities at wives, girlfriends and kids in opposing jerseys.

Blow up talk radio with rants about THEM, for taking all-in-good-fun shenanigans to an inappropriate, violent, levels.

Let Twitter know how exhausted you are with THEM, for creating and furthering a reputation that they refuse to let fade.

Furiously post on message boards about… THEM.

Do these things, and you disarm the idiots, and, just maybe, change the perception.

For a faux tough guy with cut-off t-shirt whose existence is no greater than boozing and brawling at sporting events he has no business attending, either because he doesn’t have a well paying enough job, too many bastard children or both, this is what he lives for, his life’s pinnacle. He also thinks this makes him A-Plus Members of The Club.

So how do you get him to stop? By letting them know that this is a kick-you-out-of-the-club-able offense.

There’s no reason to protect him. In fact, failing to create distance between the rational, reasonably educated Philadelphia resident who happens to really enjoy the city’s sports teams and, um, them, may be part of the reason the stigma is so sweeping and everlasting.

Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t.

But even if it doesn’t change the national perception, or stop idiots from being idiots, at least you’ll have some consolation: giving the real sources of the problem hell for creating and perpetuating it.


You can follow Matt Hammond on Twitter (@MKH973).

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

46 Responses

  1. The problem is this is something Philly fans are born with. Either they are 18-25 and raging with hormones or born and raised in Kensington, so none of which you speak will ever happen.

    1. Disagree on all fronts. They’re great, smart people whose reputation is soiled by idiots wearing Philly sports jerseys. (As mentioned in the column.) They’ll rally. You watch.

    2. You (stunkynuts, great name btw) sound like an idiot…Philly fans are born with the fact they’re all 18-25 and raging with hormones? And I think even the lowest person in Kensington can come up with a better name than stunkynuts

  2. Trying to get through your lengthy sentences to find the point is tough. So what you’re saying is fans that wear jerseys are the problem? I’ve seen kids, dads, and fans of all types and ages wear jerseys to a game. I get it, if you’re wearing the logo and acting stupid, the stigma is there; however, if I wear a jersey with my kids and get treated like a thug from some kid who follows every order on Crossing Broad then I’m going to fight back…hard.

    1. Philly sports fan ≠ idiot in Philly sports gear, regardless of what you’re wearing. Point is, wearing the jersey does not make you them, them you. They’re idiots. You’re not.

    2. You’re missing the point. If you are wearing a jersey, are with your kids, and NOT acting like a jack ass, then you have nothing to worry about. You’re only going to be treated as a ‘thug’ if you act like a moron…and rightfully so.

  3. I don’t think anyone is “protecting” these drunken assholes. I know that you do not mean “protect” in the literal sense, but I don’t think that our collective failure to call them out means we are condoning what they do. Most Philly fans that I know, myself included, HATE these white trash, beer muscle, I need 10 of my buddies to have my back to have the courage to come at you, “fans”. It is understood, unless you are one of those people.

    I don’t even mind the media coverage. If people want to spout out Philly sports cliches, like Santa Claus or booing McNabb, without engaging in some sembelance of deep creative thinking, so be it, whatever. It is when I am talking to fans of other teams and they lump me, and all real fans, into that stereotype. Then I have to actually defend myself and I get all angry and look like the angry Philly fan they are accusing me of being.

    By the way, that fat shit kid who puked on the little girl got his ass kicked by a bunch of real fans that wouldn’t stand for it. Didn’t help with the news coverage.

  4. I am personally offended that our high level white trash from the NE don’t get brought up. Whys it always got to be Kensington? What about Port Richmond, Mayfair, Somerton, The 20mile radius around franklin mills mall…….. I am sick and tired of being left out!

      1. I love how PW people think that they actually live in a nice neighborhood! It’s kensington with front lawns! All of those crap houses with their ridiculously oversized front windows! I laugh every time I drive through!

  5. the kenzo kids got priced out of the stadiums long ago……do you see tickets in hot dog packs anymore? no! its the fist pumpers over in jersey who mess things up.

    1. You watch too much Jersey shore, proof you’re a dumb asshole. New Yorkers playing in Jersey give us a bad rap (that and the one idiot puker). Not that I really give two shits what anyone says about “Jersey”, but this had to be said.

  6. Anyone who has been to a game at Dodger Stadium over the last decade or so knows what bad “fan” behavior really looks like.

    And anyone who mindlessly parrots the national media’s nonsense about how bad Philly fans are isn’t worth my time or attention.

    1. ^^^ Someone who didn’t read. No mindlessness, and definitely no parroting. Asking real, classy Philly fans to ask themselves: who’s really the problem here? Couple of idiots in Philly? Or a couple of idiots outside of it?

      1. I did read the article & I agree with what you’re saying….to a degree….yes we should be chastising these idiots but when the media perpetually brings their actions into the limelight, I find we’re fighting a losing battle here!!….these idiots love the attention they get from the media, so they’re going to keep up their idiotic behaviours…my request is for both the “real” fans & the media work together to alter this skewed perception of the Philly fan base!

    2. Are you brain dead, or did you just skim the article’s title and assume you had an idea of what it was about? The point that this guy is making is correct – why are you getting wound up over some airhead blogger who falls back on “they threw snowballs at Santa” nonsense for content. Get angry over the morons who actually do stupid stuff. Like, you know, throwing up on little girls, housing some dude because he’s wearing a Lions jersey, beating someone to death in a drunken rage, throwing batteries at an outfielder, shooting flares in the stands at a Monday night game, making Lance Parish’s wife cry, booing Santa Claus, being overall racist, pissing in the open in parking lots as i drive my kid out of a game, throwing up all over port-a-potties outside the Linc, throwing trash all over the ground, cursing loudly in front of women and children incessantly, getting into drunken brawls in the outfield seats, booing the National Anthem, throwing eggs at opposing teams’ busses, booing Mike Schmidt, just overall being filthy disgusting slobs.

      Actually, maybe these bloggers aren’t such airheads after all.

      1. Sounds like PNC park!!…yes, I’ve been there & have experienced pretty much all you’ve mentioned…so if you think these things are exclusive to Philly then you are brain dead!!

  7. matt, great piece! very enlightening! youre spot on to say that an overwhelming majority of philly fans are a respectful group who understand and abide by the unwritten rules of being a fan. unfortunately, there is that small contingency of fans that ignore those understood rules and when they do, it gives us all a black eye. while i do feel the national media adds fuel to the fire, blaming them is simply misguided bitterness. its about time this fan base starts policing itself. while most of us have never hurled a beer at someone, i think we’re all guilty of having watched someone do it and we stood idly by. you also have to realize that sometimes these knuckle dragging, brain dead jackasses are easily influenced and persuaded to take up the mob mentality by local radio blow hards, especially a nameless loud mouth jackass who spews his simpleton-oriented rhetoric daily from 6am-10am.

    1. Informed, you still bear the IQ of a raisin.

      However, Matt, I couldn’t agree more with your correct and eloquent article. You articulated perfectly exactly how we should react to these dolts. The problem in constantly have, especially on this message board, are mental midgets like Informed who blame Kyle for posting these stories, or complain about the stuff he writes. Great piece, and I could not agree more.

  8. This is really a brilliant and simple solution Matt. All we need to do is eliminate the .01% that is causing the problems and we will be on our way to happiness and prosperity.

    And who say we have to stop there Philadelphia? First we clean up the Linc, then CBP, then City Hall, then on to Washington! Society in general could use strongly worded Tweet!

    Saving the world through Twitter and message boards…the answer was right in front of us all along. Thanks Matt!

    1. ‘Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t.

      But even if it doesn’t change the national perception, or stop idiots from being idiots, at least you’ll have some consolation: giving the real sources of the problem hell for creating and perpetuating it.’

  9. My #1 issue is that nobody (I’ve read) has truly asked follow-up questions to the ‘Detroit fan’. What’s up with his ragged knuckles? Where did his friend ‘disappear’ to during the game, and why didn’t he return? Folks really threw bottles at him in a stadium that doesn’t sell bottles? Why no witnesses, anywhere, to any part of this? How did no police or cctv cams see anything, especially at the main stadium subway station directly after the game? Where’s the good samaritan Eagles fan who supposedly trashed his own jersey?

    Over the past 35 years of being a STH to all four local teams, I’ve seen plenty of dust-ups and several brawls. Even been arrested twice just for being “part of an involved group” even though I never threw a punch and the “fight” was just between two drunk loudmouths….the kind of shit that periodically happens at every single stadium in the world (Jesus, anybody here ever been to a UK soccer match?). And in all that time, at all those Philly events, I’ve never once seen a group of six guys just randomly walk up to an opposing fan and start waling on him for no reason. It just doesn’t happen that way, ever. So this guy’s whole contrived bullshit tale needs to be held to account. Shake this asshole until he gives up some proveable specifics, then charge him with lying out his ass. Don’t bring up the one idiot who puked on a kid back when, that’s a one in a million diversion. Let’s talk true hooligan fan behavior. Find out the deal with this Lions fan. THEN we can talk about Philly’s rep etc.

    1. couldn’t agree more about that bogus ass story. not only the bottles, but it was chaos to cut through any parking lots to get to your car with the 6″ of snow and people driving like assholes because everyone does when it snows. You really couldn’t avoid the sidewalks, including the one between Xfinity and SEPTA. Idiotic to think that no one was around except these 6 tough guys, a hero, and this asswipe.

      When I walked through there was (and always is) a high police presence right there…but no one saw nothing? No police outside the only two bars that are packed in that area? My ass…always a dozen cars in that area hours and hours after.

  10. Surpressing the moron quotient that makes things bad for Philly fans is only half the battle, the other half is doing something about the national media which has made slamming us a cottage industry. Every time our fans misbehave, even to a small degree, all the old chestnuts: Santa Claus, McNabb at the Draft, etc are vomited up by lazy ass writers, columnists and talking heads at warp speed, perpetuating a reputation that’s mostly undeserved since such behavior is no worse in our town than anywhere else in the country. Lord knows much worse incidents have happened elsewhere, but we’re the monsters of the sporting landscape. And until the media stops protraying us as such, self-policing won’t amount to a damn thing.

    1. Holding “The Media” accountable is a whole unattainable issue in itself…..because there’s no “media” any more. Back when, you could theoretically hold 30 writers accountable. Now, every asswipe with a blog and a 17-game plan, or twitter acct with over 1,000 followers, IS the media. You can’t hold idiots who never graduated college and intentionally spew irresponsible hype in desperate pursuit of page views accountable. And that’s what “the media” is now. So unless somebody’s gonna go full-ham Hitler on every irresponsible blogger, you’re not ever going to change the “media” component of the problem.

  11. Fight the stereotype? WHAT??
    Why fight it? We are ballers. These PUSSIES should be afraid to come here to MY HOUSE. You see a pussy in another jersey, YOU FUCK HIM UP. Protect our turf.

      1. I’m not from k & a Argonne. I’m from Torresdale PUSSY. You would probably let a fan from the cowboys sit on your section. Is FUCK that PUSSY up BABY. I don’t let these people flaunt their SHIT in my house.

  12. I don’t give two shits about what the national media thinks about Philadelphia fans. How about doing like I do? Mind your own motherfucking business at all times unless it’s for a GOOD reason. I hear Philly fans blame it on Jersey fans, I’m from Jersey, I don’t give a rats ass. I go to 30+ sporting events every year in Philly and i have never ever had one problem. Want to know why? I mind my own motherfucking business all the damn time. I sit next to fans of opposing teams. What do i do? I have a good damn time and i am friendly with the person. Why not? They have the right to be there because they paid for it. Only once did i want to punch someone (eagles fan), it was an eagles game and some a-hole wouldn’t stop f-bombing every other word and my 10 year old was with me. Guess what? Lesson learned kid, assholes live in your world get used to it. Hear that guy cursing? Don’t do it.

    Anyway, FUCK Matt Hammond. I don’t need to do shit but be me and mind my own damn business. This ensures I have a good time every time.

    I don’t think Philly fans are any worse than any other big metro city to be honest, and i think the media kinda perpetuates this stigma. It all began with Santa showing up to an eagles blowout in the snow, it became too easy for the lazy fucks in the media. Assholes like Mike Hammond to be precise. Fuckem.

    1. Let’s mouthfuck Mike Hammond!!! He’s a dumb piece of shit who won’t even reply to actual critiques of his writing. He’s off base and HE KNOWS THE BLACK GUYS WHO CUCKOLD KYLE AND WON’T TELL HIM!! That’s messed up, bro. How you gonna do your friend like that who gives you a mother fucking job??!!!

  13. Based on my experiences at the Linc, 95% the probelms come from the losers who you can just look at once and know they are there to just start shit and could care less about the game (chin strap, faded mcnabb jersey, baggy sweat pants and work boots, pure delco/far northeast). The other 5% are the brotha giants and cowboys fans who just want to run their mouth for the entire game not matter what the score is. Just gotta start weeding these clowns out at the gate…stereotypes exist for a reson.

    1. Couldn’t agree more massimo. I always find the older blue collar white trash with work boots & carhartt coats being the ones starting shit too

  14. Let the national media talk shit. I used that as a point of pride everywhere I lived that wasn’t Philly. I used to tell people, In Philly we shoot each other over parking spaces. Go ahead, fuck with me.
    People (especially down south & out west) really seem genuinely intimidated by us. Good. Probably saved me a lot of headaches.

  15. This advice is bullshit. We get pissed at the lazy fucks in the national media because they refuse to admit that bad bahavior happens in every city. How many more years do we have to read some fat lazy fuck from some crappy inferior city references Santa Claus. These stupid fucks don’t even know the real story or that it happened 45 yeas ago.

    Every Philadelphia sports fan should go piss on the grave of Howard Cosell who started the whole outrage over Santa Claus.

  16. who cares what other people think of philadelphia? love this site but seriously cant take anymore of this woah is me bullshit that we see every time something happens somewhere else….Kyle brings up santa and snowballs more than anyone in the country you sound like a kid…vie gone all over to see flyers phillies and eagles and home games for all of those teams are worse on average than other places vie been with heckling but its gotten a million times better and the more the tickets go up th ebetter it will be…the problem is taking care of itself… Bad stuff happens everywhere but when you bring up every single time something bad happens in every city and compare it to philadelphia of course philly looks better bc its only one city so obviously theres less incidents total

  17. Good work! This blog post from 2013 really changed some hearts and minds in the City of Brotherly Thugs. Teaching Philly sports fans how to behave and police their own is like trying to teach algebra to a dog. Good luck with that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *