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Paying people to ID violent sports fans: a winning idea?

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Over the weekend, two fans were injured during a shooting at the San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason football game at Candlestick Park. In a separate incident at the game, a man was beaten unconscious in a stadium bathroom. Police in the San Francisco Bay Area are still searching for suspects.

"There are many things worth fighting for,” said Mr. Gatto. “The fact that someone wore a rival sports franchise's jersey to a game isn't one of them.”

Gatto’s action is welcomed by some who study fan behavior.

“I certainly applaud this,” says Kevin Grace, a researcher in violence and sports marketing at the University of Cincinnati. “Even my students complain that they can’t even have a couple of beers any more at a sporting event because of isolated pockets of fans who are getting profane. This is a good thing. It’s not overregulation, just more focused regulation.”

"This legislation is just what is needed," agrees Jarred Chin, instructor of training and curriculum at the Center for Sport in Society, at Northeastern University in Boston. It's smart to involve bystanders via a reward system for being vigilant, he suggests. “We always teach how to get bystanders involved because then you’ve increased the monitoring exponentially,” he says. “Many of these people just came to have a good time at the game and are seeing this violence escalate and don’t know what to do.”

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