No se­cu­rity changes no­ticed a week af­ter fan was hurt

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - By Childs Walker childs.walker@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Child­sWalker

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.

KARL MERTON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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