KSE Admit Keeping Files on Rapids Fans

Posted in Fan Culture, Other MLS

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Published on June 30, 2012 with 55 Comments

Colorado Rapids fan Teddy Montoya received a letter this week advising him of a lifetime ban from the club’s DSG Stadium. The letter was signed by Kroenke Sports Enterprises employee Peggy Miller.

The letter says that the ban will ‘not be lifted at any point in time.’

Following the receipt of the letter, which gave no reason whatsoever for the ban, Montoya began to make inquiries.

As he sought more answers from the club, a story unraveled that will disturb organised supporter groups on a number of levels.

The reason Montoya was given for his lifetime ban was “verbal assault.”

In other words, the Rapids seems to have banned someone for life from their stadium for swearing.

Were he in a family section, a steward may well have warned him that other spectators were offended and he could be told to sit down and keep quiet.

But Montoya was not in a family section. He was standing in the Rapids Supporters Section, an enclave specifically created by the Colorado club to encourage or at least tolerate the rougher edges of supporter culture.

The facts do not seem to be in dispute. After seeing his side concede a late penalty kick to San Jose Earthquakes, Montoya yelled his opinion of the decision, an opinion he concedes was redolent with expletives.

“I said it was a fucking bullshit call. I said it more than once,” he admitted.

A friend of Montoya’s, Angel Accardi, witnessed the ensuing confrontation:

“Teddy said fuck at a bad call, the security dude was like chill out this is a family friendly venue, then this Gabe guy comes and tells him quit being a dick, I was like you’re telling him not to cuss but calling him a dick?? He looked shocked I told him I want a picture of his badge in case it goes further, he said ‘Go ahead here.’ then put it in my face and then took it away when he seen I was taking one for certain.”

A KSE employee named Austin, on behalf of the ban letter’s author Peggy Miller, called Montoya and told him that his ban was not just for the San Jose incident.

Austin told him that multiple incidents had been recorded in a file on him, a file kept unbeknownst to Montoya.

If the thought of a football club keeping secret files on individual supporters is not startling enough, Montoya observed that the secrecy means he has been charged and found guilty on previous occasions without his knowledge.

He says he was deprived of the right to give evidence or even know there was an accusation. Yet these incidents are permitted to contribute to a situation where he is one F-Bomb away from a life time ban.

“If I had known I was on two strikes in a three strikes and you’re out legal system, yeah .. I might have watched my behaviour more. But no-one told me. It’s like a player is one yellow card from being sent off but he doesn’t know. We’ve got a right to know what is being written about us, especially if it’s being used to judge us.”

Timbers fans joined in the protest against the ban

Montoya added that the KSE employee, Austin whose surname he didn’t catch, refused to discuss these previous incidents leaving Montoya no idea what he has been accused of, by whom and who delivered the verdict.

They refused to show him the files when he requested them.

The affair certainly has civil liberties implications.

Montayo has been charged, tried and found guilty of these previous incidents with no opportunity to put his case, or defend himself.

The word of his accusers has been taken as fact and their identity hidden. Even the existence of this record of previous offences has been kept from him.

There is not a legal system in any democratic nation where this lack of due process would fly.

Those implications may be felt elsewhere as although the venue may be operated by KSE, it is owned by the municipality Commerce City.

The affair has begun to spread across social media with sites in the Pacific Northwest referencing the initial story on Rapids fansite Burgundy Wave.

One poster there wrote:

“I want to be clear and state that this is a very sad situation, but there’s got to be something else to this story…lifetime bans don’t simply occur just because someone verbally assaulted a stadium official.”

Austin told Montoya that he can have a discussion with DSG Park Senior Director of Venue Operations Allison Hamilton about lifting the ban, which seems to directly contradict the letter, making this story even more puzzling.

However Montoya was also told that Ms Hamilton was out of the office on Friday, and he should not expect to hear back from her until next week.

As Montoya points out, this may suit Ms Hamilton’s schedule but not his:

“We play Portland Timbers on Saturday. I have a lot of friends in the Timbers Army. It’s a game I really look forward to. I’m gutted that I’ll miss this one.”

A Rapids spokesman confirmed the existence of the files but told us:

“I dont want to comment on the specifics of one person’s file but yes we do keep files on fan incidents.”

Montoya will regret the ban. His side beat the Portland Timbers 3-0.

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55 Comments

Comments for KSE Admit Keeping Files on Rapids Fans are now closed.

  1. Timbers Supporters are much worse, and I have been embarassed to call them supporters on many occasions.

    • Gosh, Gary. Thanks ever so much. I’m sure you’ll be disappointed to hear that a contingent from the Timbers Army spent the morning fixing up a soccer pitch here in Portland and will spend tomorrow morning prepping a site for a barrier-free playground for kids with disabilities. But, whatever.

      Sadly, Gary, since you were focused on disliking Timbers supporters, you’ve missed the entire point of the article. Precedent has been set here. If all the above is true, a few swear words can now earn you a lifetime ban from your home stadium.

      Teddy didn’t set someone on fire. He didn’t brandish a weapon, interfere with the run of play, start a riot or anything else that any of us would expect to be punished for. He did what we all do.

      And he got a lifetime ban. Something is amiss.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more, Kristen.

        I find this terrifying. Makes you wonder how much information each of the clubs/ stadiums keep on all of us fans…

      • Kristen, you are right on point! This is the type of BS that supports groups should be rallying around. What makes soccer exciting for me is that it’s NOT like the “Americanized” sports. Having a fan culture with a sense of history where every match is part of a larger context involving deep passion is what makes it special and worth attending.

    • While I think the TA are a bit full of themselves, there’s no denying their passion, the great things they do for their team and community, and just all around amazing displays of fandom.

  2. LOLZ @ Gary.

    Teddy should consider contacting a lawyer and discussing his options as KSE doesn’t own the stadium and may not have a right to ban supporters for life.

    Also KSE is a joke. Everyone has known this for years.

    • Teddy does have a lawyer working with him who is a Pid Army Member who is in contact with the FO. I was 20 feet from the supposed verbal assault. 91st minute PK awarded to SJ on the other end of the field. Security standing 6 feet away and only looking at Supporters and not taking into account what is happening on the field. The supporters section at DSG Park is separated from all of the other fans, you don’t even have to leave the closed off area for a hot dog or a beer. If you do leave you must have a ticket to get into the sectioned off area. Teddy was not the only person in the area, but is one of the most vocal (positive) supports in the group, always bringing more and more fans with him to every game. Is KSE against his support in a stadium they can’t fill unless they shoot off fireworks?

  3. As part of the Pid Army, I consider Teddy to [still] be one of the main staples of our SG. He has been a loyal supporter since Day 1 of the Rapids’ journey in the MLS, and has probably single-handedly paid the wages of a few employees within the Organization, with all the season tickets, merchandise, etc. he’s purchased over the years. Any other organization would befriend and praise Teddy for his loyalty (i.e. Timbers, SKC, Sounders, etc). I’m shocked that THIS organization is embarrassed of such a fan…just when I thought America was headed in a positive direction with soccer and SGs…

  4. Of all things soccer related that I have witnessed, this is one of the worst examples of management from a front office or security that I have ever seen. For what it is worth – I will never travel to Colorado again for an away game in their stadium. Its not worth the risk of someone “assuming” I said or acted a certain way and either being arrested, or banned from a stadium for life.

    Management needs to step up to the plate and either revoke this suspension, or make a press release for all soccer fans in a clear and concise manner the details of information that is being gathered about fans in their stadium, as well as documentation on levels of infraction before one is permanently banned.

    I am a Real Salt Lake fan, however I consider all fans in MLS who are supporters my family regardless of rivalry. We are passionate about our teams and one sport.

    • :)

    • :-)

    • well said!

  5. That’s ********. I’m an RSL fan, and have no great love for Colorado fan groups as a rule, but this is absolute crap.

    • Well-said Lurpy!

  6. I am a sons of ben member and find this very disturbing. As i can almost guarantee that i have yelled things close to this if not worse. Free Teddy!!

  7. Too bad we all suffer from “1st world syndrome” and we all will complain online and make ****ty signs but not a single one of us will do anything to actually help, peeing into the ocean would be more helpful in this scenario. It is sad.

    • That most certainly is not true. Pid Army the supporter group that Teddy is a member of is doing quite a bit to address this issue.

    • What do you propose we do? I’ve already expressed my displeasure to the CO FO. If there’s any sort of legal defense fund, I’ll happily kick in a few bucks.

      But the most important thing we can do at this point is let people know that this has happened and can happen to any one of us.

    • By “First World Syndrome”, do you mean the willful myopia on the part of so-called “supporters” who whine about not being allowed to shell out money and waste countless hours of their personal time in order to further the economic exploits and personal reputations of **** like the Kroenke, Walton, and Paulson families? If so, then yes, I agree. It is pretty nauseating to read people’s posts with so much misplaced passion, while the puppet masters like Kroenke and Paulson laugh all the way to the bank.

      It would be nice if these so-called “supporters” were able to utilize their organizational capabilities to take a real stand against these ****-suckers for what they have done to our country and the pain they have brought to countless real Americans.

      I’d like to see these so-called “supporters” gain some perspective for once. Making a real difference in the greater society would be very much welcome, but merely stopping economically supporting and aggrandizing people like Kroenke and Paulson would be a start right there.

      • Hey Paul, Check out this website where the “supporters” you want to see try and make a difference are getting together to try and make a difference.

        http://www.soccersupporters.org/

        • It’s the same ********. “Let us swear. Let us light flares. Let us control the tickets to ‘our’ section. But we don’t care if you put millions of Americans out on the street and took their homes, then used the money you stole from them to finance the purchase of ‘our’ team. We embrace you for that! Just let us swear, wave flags, and control tickets. Thanks!”

          Editor: Sorry Paul but that second paragraph was libelous. If you want to rephrase it without calling people ‘criminals’ and making allegations of criminal acts. I’d be happy to see you repost.

  8. I think there needs to be an important distinction made, as this “Austin” person’s speech seems to be only reported speech by Teddy himself, and names and things aren’t in any way on a journalistic record.

    The distinction needs to be made as to whether there is a record about individuals or about incidents. I can understand keeping a file of incidents and the names of people involved with those incidents in the incident report. That just seems like fairly common practice. You know like “X thing happened and Person 1 and Person 2 were reported to be involved”.

    By the way, I fully support getting Teddy back into the ballpark. I think the punishment of a lifetime ban is ridiculous for any fan, especially without notice. I understand that KSE says they reserve the right to ban people without any such notice, but there is a sensible way to enforce those rules, and then there’s this, which results in at least enough bad press in a smaller market sport to dissuade some fan interest in a measurable way.

    You know, Rapids aren’t the Broncos yet, so I don’t think they can get away with as much bad press–even a little bad press.

    But let’s not jump on the “secret files on fans” bandwagon until we know the absolute facts. My bet is that it’s a record of incidents at the park with the names of people involved with those incidents.

    Ted Montoya is a good person and a great Rapids fan, and I’ve had great times with him at the ballpark. His absence, and the reason for it, is a dark mark on a new FO who wants to be all about “one club”.

  9. This is one of the worst cases of corporate sports abuses. It reeks of J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI secret files. I know it is only a sporting event but this behavior cannot be allowed. If swearing were a banable offesnse then half of the fans and almost all of the supporters would be thrown out after the first goal kick.

  10. I travelled to the Colorado game in 2009 and can confirm the complete ineptitude of the stadium staff. We were removed from our original seats where we supported the opposing team by standing and cheering. The staff put us into the Rapids SG section which were then removed again and made to stand on the concourse. The fans were great. The stadium staff was poor.

  11. I live in Colorado and don’t support the Rapids. I was introduced to the Sounders back in 1974 when my dad took me to a few matches and have always followed the Sounders even before joining MLS. It’s poor management of the team and facility that keeps the “****” from ever being filled. It’s poor decision making on the part of the stadium/KSE staff that keeps fans away when one of the guys that have been loyal and probably paid many of their salaries over the years is subjected to this Authortarian rule without any warning or chance to discuss/appeal this decision before it is made. Like Teddy mentioned it would be different had he actually been given written warnings before this. I wonder how management would feel if the Rapids supporters group decided to take off a game or two in protest and see if the loss in revenue was worth it.

  12. P.S. Free Teddy Montoya

  13. DSG seems to have issues with tifo, overheads, banners, and supporter culture, yet is getting a write up in the local press:
    http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20120630/SPORTS/306300025/Finding-new-favor-MLS-overtakes-NHL-NBA-third-most-attended-league
    At what point is MLS going to come down on ownership who take an active role is suppressing their target market.

  14. Steve is the professional writer here so I am certain he can come up with something more pithy and insightful though this is what I plan to send to the Colorado newspapers (Chris Peters is the byline on the article posted above).

    Chris Peters your article on the growth of the MLS was probably written before the muzzling of a supporter by KSE management and published after which is unfortunate timing in that you were unable to speak to what may be the biggest obstacle to the continued rise of MLS; the owners and management. One of the things that I think makes soccer such a fascinating sport and the matches so entertaining is the supporter culture. In my hometown of Seattle, the raucous atmosphere of a match (especially with a strong rivalry such as Portland) is second to no other sporting event I have ever attended. Soccer is a game where the entertainment goes beyond the pitch, into the bleachers, and in many locals, generates a nearly “nationalistic” fervor well beyond the 90 minute match. It is a game where the supporters world over are expected to be active contributors. I think this level of engagement is “surprising” to many North American sports fans though it is because of this engagement that I think we continue to attend and bring others with us. Unfortunately, incidences such as the retaliation by KSE staff against one Teddy Montoya (and based on KSE’s phrasing of the incident, most likely some) of its most vocal supporters only works to undermine soccer in North America. Hopefully, more will be published about “the incident” to either support the radical action taken by KSE or cooler heads will prevail, the decision reversed, and most importantly not duplicated before the professional league of the beautiful game once again disappears from our shores.

    • Jason,

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. It’s not my place to be a partisan in this issue. You seem to have great writing ability yourself.

      I will make one observation about the story and the one criticism voiced. There is no difference between ‘keeping files on fan incidents’ and ‘keeping files on fans’ if the fans are named, and IF those dossiers are subsequently used to convict someone on the accumulated evidence.

      Even if stored by date, one keyword search using ‘Montoya’ produces a file of incidents only involving him. That’s his file. No amount of sophistry can alter the fact that someone saw a collection of reports involving Montoya and used the accumulation as evidence.

      To claim that this collection of reports involving Montoya is NOT a file on him is disingenuous.

  15. So is the Rapids organization also tracking Sounders/Timbers/etc. supporters behavior? How many away supporters are unknowingly on a yellow right now? Are there rules articulated and published for fans to follow or are they hidden as well?

  16. If front offices around the country continue to keep up this crap….. and continue trying to tame the supporter groups by handing out suspensions, and bans, and what not….they better lawyer up. Not all the clubs are on the same page with the rules they give their supporter groups….an compared to other sports….college football and even a lot of NFL stadiums have behavior that is much worse (Not that Teddy’s behavior was bad). This “Family atmosphere” crap that is the constant excuse is completely opinionated on what you believe is a family atmosphere. If I take my kids to a sporting event I know what I’m walking into. I don’t expect supporters to change their ways, and the way the soccer/football culture has been for years just because I bring my kids to a match.

    Lot of loop holes MLS….you got a situation on your hand with the inconsistent treatment your clubs are handing out.

    I know for a fact after visiting with a lawyer over a similar situation like this…..the law suits are coming.

    Teddy! We believe in you man!! Keep supporting your club, and I hope you get your justice!!

  17. Wow, more and more evidence that the MLS isn’t worth supporting.

    • Actually Dustin, these are signs that not only us MLS support growing, but that it IS worth supporting. The MLs Fans, and the Supporter Groups specifically, are passionate about the League and soccer, to the point where we are now making our voice heard.

  18. If we follow this train of logic, then what happens next? The guy who stands when a goal is scored in sitting section? An away fan cheering for their team? I understand the need need to keep files, but they should be open to the people involved and they should be notified. Keeping files can be great on possible aggressors if fights ever break out, or things of that nature. Also if they are going to uphold the standard of no abusive/foul language then what about the players, let’s not kid ourselves there are plenty of repeat offenders. I think ever one just wants fairness, and consistancy.

  19. We were told us this year that anyone causing trouble would receive a “yellow card” from security that we would have to keep on us at all times. If we caused more trouble, we would be ejected.

    The thing that bothers me most is the failure to follow these procedures. If they have been keeping a file on Teddy with so called documented issues in the past, then why is this the first time Teddy heard anything about it?

    For that reason alone, I feel this is an unjust punishment. If something else took place, then they need to be up front with Teddy and tell him exactly why he was banned. Not some “Verbal Assault” reasoning that’s completely vague and confusing.

  20. I can’t believe I just read such an article. If what’s said is true, the rapids organization should be ashamed of themselves as a whole. Since when did they figure that soccer fans ought to behave in PC manner. This is blasfamy! And im going to add that all their supporters should stand for their rights. Because what happened to this fellow can happen to all of you. I would go as far as picketing the Food of rapids, boycotting the games and/ or bringing posters to the game that clearly voices the displeasure and calls out the ” secret Stalin police.”

  21. Karmas a ***** huh Teddy! Maybe you should have never retwetted that picture of a Dynamo fan flipping the bird at Sections 8 tifo that day and brought heat on our boy.

    • Maybe, but that isn’t the point. Integrity can be measured by how much one stands up for the rights of people they dislike/don’t agree with.

  22. I can’t believe this. I rode to high school with this guy. Always a rapids supporter seen him at the games and sit in the same section. As a group we have many sayings like screaming “******** ********…” and I need a rope a tree to hang the referee” but as soon as one person gets caught saying one thing different they get a ban for life. Crazy! It’s a supporter were going to be upset with a bad call anyone would for there team. Free ted. He’s a supporter of the rapids sitting in a section of yelling cursing and drinking. People get crazy I’ve seen worse there was a game where one guy saw a bad call and flipped off the ref show on the big screen behind the section but teds fault is a ban. ********. Free Ted DSGP!

    He is the loyalest rapids supporter colorados evvver had!

  23. This is a horrible situation and the organization should be embarrassed and make it right. BUT let’s not talk about it in terms of due process, justice, and civil liberties–that’s plain silly. It is admission to a sporting event operated by a private company. (A caveat: Munipality ownership is a potentially interesting point, but that’s the thjrust of this article.) There is absolutely no basis for invoking Teddy’s civil liberties; if you visit my house and I choose to ban you, I can, no due process required.

    So we (supporters, including this Timbers Army member) should take whatever action we actually can to make this right, let the management know that it’s not ok. But let’s not sound ridiculous while we do it.

    • Gary, the municipality aspect was forefront of my mind of course and you recognised that.

      However the idea that a private company can discriminate at will overriding civil liberties as to who it allows in its facility, has been debunked.

      • The municipality aspect is 100% irrelevant – the stadium was rented out and the city didn’t make any decisions. Same thing as if a concert promoter rents out a park – security can toss anybody out at any time without a hearing or other due process.

        You’re right that private entities can’t discriminate at will – but they’re only prohibited from discriminating against members of protected classes. Soccer supporters who say “f***” are not a protected class. It’s even legal for the team to unfairly single out individuals like Montoya, as long as they don’t do it with a discriminatory motive.

        The issue here is not civil rights. Indeed, discussing this in the context of civil rights minimizes the real abuses people suffer every day at the hands of the government. The issue is an organization that has no clue what the league’s really about and no interest in serving its supporters and its community.

        • Lysenko,

          I have to say that I was given a very different explanation of the banning procedure from someone who has personal experience both of enforcing bans and being banned. That was in WA State so the law might not be similar.

          Let’s run however with your legal explanation …

          Until he knows exactly why he was banned, he has no idea of the real motive. As he wasn’t the only one dropping F-Bombs, that is obviously not the “class” he was in; otherwise they’d be issuing a few bans.

          I should add to be fair to the club that they said it was for “verbal assault” not swearing which does tend to swing things slightly towards your point of view

  24. How can a lifetime ban be issued for swearing, meanwhile a fellow pid army member gets a year for headbutting security? i guess kse wants more headbutting and less swearing??

  25. Just wanna send support from Dallas. If it anything comes fruition of protesting a weekend match league wide, I’m in.

  26. Support from DC.

  27. F*ck Colorado and Peggy Miller!

    I’m someone who travels to support my team alot. I’ll NEVER go to Colorado. Those ****’s won’t get a dime from me! I look forward to watching that club fold!

  28. I know I’ve not been great about making games this season, mostly due to travel, but part of it has been a lack of effort after last year when similar events seemed to be leading towards an inevitable incident such as this. I cancelled my season tickets and turned down the opportunity to buy them this season. I’ve only made a handful of games this year, but I’ve brought between 1 and 3 first-timers to all of them, and several of them want to come back (in fact, my social group changed our 4th of July plans to make the game that night because they had so much fun Saturday).

    After this though, I feel dirty giving my money to KSE, and will probably skip more games this season. I’ll let my former season ticket rep know why, of course, but I expect it to do zero good. A long phone conversation with him last year (hour+) and several emails got some personal sympathy from him, but an indication that the club was unwilling to bend at all on this front. As someone who could easily have faced the same as Teddy at pretty much any game I’ve been to (you don’t even want to know what came out of my mouth Saturday night, and I was just harassing the Timbers’ keeper, not even responding to a bad call), I just don’t want to deal with the staff at DSGP in the inevitable event that one of them eventually hears me. And a designated supporters’ section isn’t a place to keep quiet and golf clap.

  29. “Keeping files on fan incidents” is not the same as a Hoover-like “Keeping files on fans.” You can spin it as sinister as you like, but it makes no sense for a business that would be subject to liability to NOT keep its own records of incidents that happen in its building.

    That said, this is bad. This will not go well for them.

  30. I joined the Pid Army in 2010, I have been tolled to watch what i say, and last year i got yelled at for flipping of RSL player as they left. This is Bull Crap, Teddy is a good friend and I don’t like it that he’s not here. FREE TEDDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. KSE Sgt. Gaffe here. I’ve reviewed your file and have been authorized by mother Hubbard to disclose it’s contents.

    Date of incident: June 20 year of our lord 2012

    Teddy was spotted drinking a Coors light.

    It is my conclusion that Teddy is indeed a huge ****** and should e reprimanded at soonest date.

    -Lt. Footlong

    Witnesses privy to above stated incident: A. Gordon. F. Yallop.

  32. I read every comment so far and it surprises me that not one single person has mentioned a boycott.
    IF YOU WANT THINGS CHANGED I SUGGEST THE PID ARMY BOYCOTT ANY FURTHER GAMES.
    You are all so sorry for Teddy but continue to support the FO by going to the stadium. How about you all go to the stadium and sit outside in protest. Don’t go in. Don’t buy tickets. Don’t buy merchandise. Don’t buy food from concession stands.
    I would think loosing revenue from a thousand people (or how ever many you PIDs are) will certainly shake FO up a bit.

    United you win.

  33. Good way to protest as supporters:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2011/sep/22/classic-youtube-best-sporting-clips
    number one on the list

    good luck to Teddy