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Making The Case – Please Drink Responsibly

This is a case of beer. We are making an argument or case about something. See the connection?

Last night 20,465 “fans” attended a Major League Soccer game between FC Dallas and Los Angeles Galaxy. We say “fans” because late in the match there was one person who couldn't help himself from being not a fan, but a massive idiot. It would be more likely to say that 20,464 fans attended the match along with a single, bumbling moron.

Late in the game, one that saw two PK saves and a red card, FC Dallas' George John redirected a header that already bounced off the crossbar to earn the home side a dramatic late winner against the defending MLS Cup Champion Galaxy. In the ensuing celebration John was struck by a flying projectile later identified as an aluminum Budweiser bottle. Directly behind the goal is FC Dallas Stadium's beer garden, home to one of the supporters groups, the “Dallas Beer Guardians”, and, apparently, at least one total dumbass.

To be clear we've already spoken to the DBGs and they've informed us that the suspect (caught on camera above and arrested for public intoxication) was NOT a member of their group or any of the other FC Dallas SGs. Furthermore a member of DBG told us that they were concerned about aluminum bottles being sold in the garden (and informed the FCD FO as well) because of the potential of incidents just like last night's. Given Dallas' proximity to FBM HQ in Austin some our biggest adherents to the “FBM philosophy” are up in Dallas. We're proud of the responsible FBM-ing the Beer Guardians do and, more importantly, their condeming of the fan.

John's gash after being struck with a bottle.

Matches like those against high-profile teams like Los Angeles, (back-to-back Cup holders, stacked with talent like Robbie Keane and the just-returned Landon Donovan) often draw big crowds. Not too mention FC Dallas is sitting pretty in first place in the Western Conference so what you have is a recipe for a stadium full of relative newbies and/or casual fans. A last-minute goal, combined with too much alcohol, a first-timer acting stupidly, and a player ends up getting hurt. A team and its supporters painted with broad stokes.

The switch to put beer from the beer garden in only aluminum bottles was definitely a poor move. Certainly it was to speed up serving time versus tap beer and increase brand visibility on a bottle versus a plastic, see-through cup. More likely than not the FC Dallas front office will re-examine the issue of the bottles and listen to the SGs that warned them earlier. Hopefully it doesn't mean the closing or moving of of a place that is credited as a “a significant success and improved the usually quiet atmosphere of FC Dallas Stadium.” The actions of one person shouldn't determine the future of many.

The Free Beer Movement creed is “building American soccer one beer at a time” and we firmly believe that the power of a few free beers can open the doors for many, many people to the beauty of soccer in the United States. Except for when the power of that beer is used to tear down the American soccer experience.

Posted at the footer of our site is the following: 

“Free Beer Movement promotes the RESPONSIBLE consumption of alcohol. While viewing matches at bars or stadiums please look out for yourselves and appoint a designated driver to return all FBM participants and guests home SAFELY.

Free Beer Movement is not responsible for the actions of its members or guests and asks that each member of guest of the Free Beer Movement exercise PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY in not over-consuming alcohol while viewing or attending soccer matches.”

It's easy to get wrapped up in the “beer” part of the FBM, but beer is just the medium while soccer is the message. If at any point the over-consumption or irresponsible use of alcohol gets in the way of the greater message then you're doing it wrong. We've yet to hear about any FBM experiences that have gotten out of hand and, from our interactions with our friends, followers, and supporters FBM is just as much about beer education as it is soccer education; both how to be a good beer drinkers and good fans. Last night's individual was neither.

If the Free Beer Movement ever became associated with these sort of actions on a regular basis we will shut this thing down. Without hesitation. 

George John, to his credit, was a sport about the incident and posted to Twitter that evening:


According to the Dallas Morning News John is not pressing charges against the suspect. Certainly the Frisco Police Department will have other avenues to charge the man and FC Dallas and stadium security will make sure his first soccer game there was his last.

There is a reason soccer is often referred to “the beautiful game”, but, unfortunately, it can also create some ugly moments. There's no questioning that these “ugly” parts of our game are influenced by a variety of factors around the world: racism, nationalism, civic pride, etc and often inflamed by alcohol.

It's important that we, as American soccer fans and soccer fans in the United States, hold ourselves to the highest standards as to avoid the darkest corners of the sport and where fandom sometimes exists.

For the Free Beer Movement it is important that we continue to promote the utmost responsibility when doing what we do best: “building American soccer one beer at time”.

Drink on. Drink responsibly.

Tags: Major League Soccer, Making The Case

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