The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

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The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland and the NFL called for an end to acts of violence at sporting events, after two men were shot and wounded following a San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason game. Investigators Sunday looked for suspects and interviewed witnesses to the violence the night before in the parking lot at Candlestick Park after the matchup. Motives for the shootings -- including whether they were influenced by emotions surrounding a game involving fiercely rival teams -- weren't known. But the shootings evoked memories of another recent disturbing act of post-game violence involving two rival California pro sports teams -- the near-fatal beating this spring of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium. In Saturday's attacks, a 24-year-old man, who reportedly was wearing a "F--- the Niners" T-shirt, was shot several times in the stomach. Police said he managed to stumble to stadium security for help despite the severe injuries. He remained hospitalized in serious condition Sunday. A second victim, a 20-year-old man, was treated for less serious wounds in a separate shooting, also after the game. Sgt. Mike Andraychak said no arrests have been made and that police are looking for "a person of interest" connected to at least one of the shootings. He would not specify which shooting. Apart from the shootings, a third victim, a 26-year-old man, was also hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after he was knocked unconscious in a stadium bathroom during the game. That attack appeared unrelated to the other two, police said. The victims' names have not been released as the violent spree overshadowed the 49ers' 17-3 victory over the Raiders. The crimes prompted San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to issue a joint statement saying that violence at stadiums in both cities will not be tolerated. "The incidents ... are completely unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the mayors said. "Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy an afternoon of football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence. These games are family events and the types of images we witnessed last night have no place in our arenas." NFL spokesman Greg Aiello echoed similar comments, saying "we deplore the activities of a handful of fans at last night's game and pledge our full support to Mayors Lee and Quan and to state and local law enforcement agencies." 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who once was a coach in the Raiders organization, said he was saddened to hear about the violence. "I didn't know anything was going on during the game. I wasn't aware of that," Harbaugh said. "I feel bad for the people who got injured and the people who had to see that, for those who had to witness it." The team said that "these kinds of events are disquieting to everyone in the Bay Area community. We are working to assist the San Francisco Police Department in any way possible to understand how and why this happened." Raiders CEO Amy Trask said in a statement that "the incidents at last night's game are not acceptable to the Raiders or to any National Football League team and our thoughts are with all affected." Head Coach Hue Jackson also shared his desire for a safe fan-friendly environment "where we wish that people come out and enjoy a game and hopefully that those things don't happen." On Saturday, Sgt. Frank Harrell said the man shot wearing the T-shirt drove his truck to a gate and stumbled to stadium security. A second man shot before that in the parking lot and had superficial face injuries, Harrell said. He said the two shootings were being treated separately "but we believe they are related." The attacks come nearly five months after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two men in Los Angeles Dodgers gear outside Dodger Stadium after the archrivals' season opener in Los Angeles. Two men charged in the beating, Louie Sanchez, 28, and Marvin Norwood, 30, have pleaded not guilty. Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic, suffered severe brain injuries and remains hospitalized in serious condition. That attack drew widespread attention and focusing the spotlight on security at Dodger Stadium, and the intense rivalry among Dodgers and Giants fans. Christian End, an assistant professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, who specializes in sports fan behavior, said there are several factors for unruliness at sporting events -- including the magnitude of the game, if it is between arch rivals, adrenaline and alcohol. There's also "deindividuation," when fans supporting a particular team adopt a group mentality and may become uncivil. "The anonymity of large crowds can afford some fans the opportunity to act in a way that they typically wouldn't because there's less accountability and less fear of repercussion," End said. End said violence between fans of opposing teams can typically begin with light banter, followed by "one-upping" each other with statistics or other chatter that could draw a crowd. "Then it could be taken up a notch where the fun aspect is gone and it just escalates," End said. End said he doesn't believe fan violence has increased in the last 10 years but may appear that way partially due to new technology at hand. "There are more cameras covering games and more fans using their smartphones," End said. "Any acts of aggression have a higher probability of being captured and being shown over the Internet and on television. "It would give the impression that, Boy, fans are engaging in all of this aggressive behavior.' But you have to remember that a vast majority of them are not."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is trading for Paul George worth the risk?

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0:41 - Michael Holley, Kayce Smith and Tom Giles recap their thoughts on drafting Jayson Tatum and trade rumors involving the Celtics.

6:21 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to discuss if it would be worth trading for Paul George as a one-year rental and if there would be a chance he could still around long-term if traded to Boston.

11:13 - Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Rick Porcello’s outing, the Red Sox offense coming to life, and Doug Fister being claimed by the Red Sox. 

15:10 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely look back at the Celtics/Nets trade, what the assets have turned into, and if Danny Ainge has done a good job turning those assets into players. 

Haggerty: Bruins playing it pretty safe at the NHL Draft

Haggerty: Bruins playing it pretty safe at the NHL Draft

CHICAGO – As opening nights go at the NHL Draft, Friday night was a bit of a ho-hum affair for the Boston Bruins at the United Center home of the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Bruins went the safe route by drafting a smooth, defensive-minded defenseman with the 18th overall pick when they selected Finnish product Urho Vaakenainen, and in doing so left more dynamic forwards like Kristian Vesalainen and Kailer Yamamoto still on the draft board for other teams to claim as their own. It was a bit of a curious choice given how many defensemen the Bruins already have in the prospect pipeline, but the lack of strength in the draft class seemed to lead teams to carve their own paths looking for players.

MORE: Bruins select defenseman Urho Vaakanainen with No. 18 pick

The 6-foot-1, 188-pounder clearly has miles to go offensively despite his smooth skating and solid passing skills, but there’s also a consideration that the teenager has been playing in the men’s league in Finland for the last couple of seasons. It makes things a little more difficult to project for the Finn D-man, but the Bruins believe there is some upside to his offensive game given the skills, the hockey IQ and the considerable confidence that the player has in his own game.

“His gap control and skating ability are really good. He’s obviously played in the Finnish Elite League at a very young age for one and a half years now and he’s played on the big stage at the world juniors. We feel like there’s a lot of upside for a 200-foot player that gets back on pucks, and then can transition them back out. Being able to cover ice is an important part of the game, and it continues to evolve in that direction,” said Bruins GM Don Sweeney, who indicated Vaakenainen will play in North America in 2018-19 after fulfilling his contractual obligations in Finland. “We tracked what he did on offense at the junior league level prior to him jumping to the elite league, and it lines up pretty well with other elite players that made the jump to that level.

“It’s a valid question and whether he gets put into those [offensive] situations this year is what we’re excited about with his [Finnish] team moving forward.”

While Vaakenainen sounded surprised the Bruins selected him after only a single meeting at the NHL scouting combine, Sweeney said that Boston’s head scout in Finland has enough history with the family to vouch for the kid’s makeup.

So while it’s far from a sexy pick and the Bruins could have tried to hit a home run with an 18th overall selection in a mediocre draft, the B’s will also get some time before anybody is ready to label the Finnish blueliner a boom or a bust.

The rest of the draft night didn’t add up to much for the B’s, however. They made the selection of Vaakenainen after strongly considering dropping down in the first round, and in doing so lost one of the better trade chips in the form of their 2017 first round pick. There were discussions with Minnesota about Marco Scandella and a few trade feelers to other clubs that might listen on a D-man, but the Bruins now have to hit the reset button on trade discussions for left-shot defensemen or top-6 left wings.

Perhaps Scandella’s $4 million per season salary was an issue for the Bruins, or maybe the Bruins didn’t want to give up their first round pick for a 27-year-old D-man coming off a so-so season with the Wild. Either way, there wasn’t enough momentum for the Bruins to get a trade done with a bevy of defensemen rumored to be available if the offer is good enough.

“I was on the record saying that we’d be offering our first round pick for target-specific players, and we did do that,” said Sweeney. “I don’t blame teams for not necessarily wanting to go through with it, so we went ahead with a player we wanted with our own pick. We continue to build what we think is a good group of guys moving forward.

“There are a couple of areas we’d like to address and get better. We’re trying to help our team currently. Certainly Brandon [Carlo] jumped into our lineup and we hope Charlie [McAvoy] will carry over what he did, and we have other players that will push. We have six returning defensemen we feel good about and we’ll certainly push from underneath, but it’s an area we’ll continue to address. We have some forwards that we also hope will come online, but we’ll never stop exploring and trying to improve our club.”

So let’s sum it all up after a week of additions and subtractions from the Original Six organization: The Bruins added a decidedly vanilla defenseman in the first round of the NHL Draft that might be a simple stay-at-home guy, and they weren’t able to muster any kind of deals for a D-man or winger to enhance the NHL roster. On the other hand, they didn’t give up much over the week as well and they didn’t do much at all to harm a solid roster that looked like they were finally on the right track pushing into the playoffs last season.

The Bruins could be in store for an action-packed Day Two of the draft on Saturday full of promising prospects and bountiful trades, but it sure feels like the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago isn’t going to be a very memorable one for the Black and Gold.