Guest blog by Kyle Jones
As was witnessed last night, the Timbers Army, Rose City Riveters, 107ist and even ECS and Gorilla FC, take very seriously the issue of an arbitrary “political” imagery ban in our stadiums. We are clearly willing to put ourselves out there to show the Front Office and the league how important this is. Timbers and Thorns ownership has an opportunity to move toward a resolution, even in the next day.
Merritt Paulson and Mike Golub have both stated that the organization they lead is unequivocally antifascist. Removing the non-NWSL instituted ban on the Iron Front symbol at Thorns games would go a long way to prove to us, the supporters, that they, the Timbers and Thorns organization, are genuinely on the right side of this societal issue.
On a business operations level, it would show their employees that management believes in the people who put on a Providence Park jacket and polo each match day to do their jobs. If they are able to distinguish the difference between a GA ticket and a reserved one from six feet away (which they are), they are more than capable of discerning a Timbers match from a Thorns one. Park staff have the ability to not enforce a non-league instituted ban for one of those teams. “Staff confusion” is not a valid reason.
The ban being enforced at Thorns matches is solely being imposed by Thorns ownership. Period. Merritt and Mike can change that.
Fewer than 18 hours from now, fans will be lining up to enter Providence Park to cheer on the Thorns. And this isn’t just some Yahoo! livestream. The game will be broadcast on ESPNews. This is a tremendous opportunity for the club to extend an olive branch to its most ardent supporters; for them to show us their mettle.
Mistakes can be forgiven. Amends can be made. But both require action. As a supporter and season ticket holder for both clubs, I ask them to please, take action.
I will continue to boycott concessions and club merchandise until the ban is overturned. And if I find myself standing silently in a stadium for another 33 minutes, so be it. I’m confident that we, as supporters, can deal with an eerily quiet stadium far longer than they can.