No security changes noticed a week after fan was hurt
Dan Oleyar stood in line waiting for a beer at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, proudly adorned in his black and gold Pittsburgh Steelers jacket.
Despite a frightening confrontation that left a Ravens fan seriously injured the previous week, the burly Catonsville resident did not worry that his Steelers garb would make him a target.
“I really don’t worry about it,” said Oleyar, a Ravens season-ticket holder for 15 years. “I’ve never had a problem here. I honestly get more crap from my wife’s family.”
Oleyar’s matter-of-fact assessment of the safety situation was typical as Ravens fans said they noticed no palpable increase in security at the team’s game against the Washington Redskins.
“If there’s an increase in security out there, it’s blended in well,” said Barbara Currier of Silver Spring, who also attended the previous week’s game.
Stadium security, a persistent concern around the NFL, became a hot topic in Baltimore last week after a 55-year-old Ravens fan, Joseph Bauer, suffered a critical injury at the home game Oct. 2 against the Oakland Raiders.
The Ravens don’t comment on specific security plans, so it was unclear if they had made any substantial adjustments in response to the incident.
“Security is always a priority at any home game, and it is today,” Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said.
Bauer, a Ravens season-ticket holder from Jessup, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a severe brain injury after an altercation with two Raiders fans from New York. Both men, Scott Smith of Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Andrew Nappi of Eastchester, N.Y., were charged with first- and second-degree assault and subsequently released on bond.
The Ravens reached out to Bauer’s family the day after the game, and coach John Harbaugh called the incident “absolutely inexcusable.”
“Whatever security has to be out there, whatever has to be done, will be done,” Harbaugh said. “This is just not what we’re about, and we’re not going to have it at M&T Bank Stadium.”
Bauer remains in an intensive care unit and has “a long road to recovery,” his sister, Susan Bauer, said Sunday.
Brigid and Mark Zinkand of Baltimore said there’s no question visiting fans receive verbal harassment, in Baltimore and every other NFL city.
They’ve been on the other end of it at Ravens away games against the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.
“It’s so sad what happened last weekend,” Brigid Zinkand said. “I hate that fans feel like they can’t wear their true colors in the stands.”
“It’s a sad part of the game,” her husband said.
The Zinkands said they do their best to be friendly to opposing fans, believing they can ward off confrontations by establishing a positive tone. Mark Zinkand added that they’ve always felt comfortable at M&T Bank Stadium, where “there’s always a high security level, which is good.”
“I come here to have a good time,” he said. “And I really don’t worry about it.” “If there’s an increase in security out there, it’s blended in well,” said Barbara Currier of Silver Spring, who attended games Sunday and the previous week at M&T Bank Stadium.