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Letter to editor in San Francisco accuses 12th Man, Seahawks of unsportsmanlike conduct


In a letter to the editor in the San Francisco Chronicle, two fans, Judy Spelman and Rich Schiller, accuse the 12th Man of poor conduct during Sunday’s 29-to-3 rout.

They wrote:

Was anyone else appalled by the unsportsmanlike conduct of the Seattle Seahawks and their fans, juiced on noise, which surely creates as big an advantage over an opponent as any performance enhancing drug and which, to their shame, NFL officials turn the same blind eye they have to concussions and drugs (“Seattle states case loudly, clearly in rout,” Sports, Sept. 16)?

It would be simple to fix. Seahawks players and managers would ask their fans to cease and desist, and the NFL would implement a new rule: The visiting team may stop the game when fan noise is greater than a specified decibel level, and should this rule be violated in more than three games, no home games will be played at the offending field for the rest of the season, including playoff games. Things would quiet down.

At a time when the world seems sour, sports give us a place of joy, community and hope, and to have it spoiled is a bigger loss than it seems on the surface.

710 ESPN’s Brock Huard did a little digging around and discovered the writers of the letter were a doctor and a nurse. However, it’s not that they seemed too concern with the health of anyone’s eardrums.

But they do have a point. Danny O’Neil said there is still a rule in the NFL referee handbook that allows for a quarterback, if he can’t hear, to appeal to the referee to quiet the crowd.

Brock and Danny agree that asking the crowd to tone it down is almost always guaranteed to backfire. They say the fans will only get crazier and crazier.

“Every team has discovered that is a terrible thing to do,” said Danny.

Spelman and Schiller said there should be consequences for the Seahawks and their Guinness World Record-holding fans too.

It turns out there are consequences, but only if CenturyLink was pumping in sound to the stadium. “The Seahawks would be fined substantially,” said Brock.

But the writers want something more tangible – they don’t want the Seahawks to be able to play games at home.

There is a precedent for sports teams to lose their home field advantage.

It happens in Europe to soccer teams. “But usually it’s the result of murders, riots and mayhem – not from people making too much noise,” said Danny. “I’ve got a solution for (Spelman and Schiller,) if they don’t want the noise to be too much of a problem: play better. The crowd tends to be a lot quieter when you’re down 21-0.”

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