What’s the big story in the D? Not the PUP list being emptied, not having a free agent LB you’ve been courting sign with another team, but a confrontation between the team and a heckler is the story everyone is talking about.
Seen at the entrance to the Lions’ practice field
Only in Detroit would a season ticket holder (according to WDFN) getting tossed out of an open to the public practice for heckling a player be the lead NFL story. When it comes to the Lions, nothing amazes me. Absolutely nothing.
In this morning’s practice, a Lions fan (That tells you right there he has issues. I’m a fan, and I KNOW I have issues) named Mike Lazzara kept shouting at Roy Williams to “quit taking plays off!” Williams left the practice field to speak with the heckler, who after a short discussion wound up being 86′ed by Lions’ security.
Just because I drop every other pass doesn’t mean I take plays off!
The fan still isn’t sure what the Hell happened, Williams says he didn’t ask for anyone to be tossed and the Lions are saying (more or less) he’s welcome back as long as he behaves.
It’s turned into a “he said, she said” situation, with Lazzara saying he wasn’t asked to shut his yap by the Lions before being escorted from the premises, while the Lions claim they did ask, and the yappy Lazzara refused.
“They said ‘You’re out.’ I said ‘I’ll stand here like a mouse in church, I won’t say a word. Let me stay.’ They no, “No, Coach has already made his decision, you’re gone,”’ Lazzara said.
Lazzara also said he wouldn’t have had a problem with the Lions asking him to keep his “constructive” comments down.
“I understand it, I’m not oblivious to it … but to kick me out of the whole thing?” Lazzara said.
The Lions only comment is a statement that was pure NFL approved and lawyer written legalese:
“A situation occurred during today’s morning session involving one fan who behaved in an unruly and disruptive manner. Following complaints from fans in the immediate area, members of our security team discussed the situation with the gentleman and explained the appropriate expected fan code of conduct, as set forth by our organization and the NFL. The gentleman declined to modify his behavior and was asked to leave the morning session. He was invited back to any of the remaining open training camp practice sessions provided his behavior is consistent with a positive experience for all fans in attendance.”
In other words, “Our house, our rules. Don’t like it? Lump it.”
First off, the fan is, to put it bluntly, a bit of an ass. Not because he heckled, but because of the time and place where he felt the need to vent his spleen. Christ, when fueled with beer and disgust, I’ve cursed at the Lions mercilessly…during games. I mean, with some of the God awful performances I’ve seen from the Lions over the years, how could you not? They’re the Lions, they deserve catching a little grief…during games.
I pay my 60 bucks, I have the right to voice my pissed off opinion. This guy didn’t pay a thing.
Heckling Williams at a free, open to the public practice? It’s silly and not well thought out. When you are a guest at the Lions facility, you have to live with and abide by their rules and policies. If Lazzara was loud enough for Williams to hear, he must have come off as damn agitated to the Lions. So I have to admit they were well within their rights, as would any other business, to to give him the boot.
But the Lions aren’t guiltless in what’s best termed a fiasco. They come off as thin skinned bullies. Apparently the guy wasn’t swearing, wasn’t offending anyone, he was just LOUD. Lazzara may have been annoying, but is being an annoying loudmouth enough reason to get you kicked out of the stands?
I just find it hard to believe the guy wouldn’t shut up when confronted by both Williams and the Lions staff. I’m thinking they didn’t want to reason with someone they considered a “troublemaker.” The Lions, as usual, take what should have been handled quietly and make a huge, embarrassing scene. Remember, this is the same clueless organization who comically chased a heroic fan, Keystone Kops style, throughout Ford Field when he held up the now iconic “FIRE MILLEN” sign.
I can totally relate to his frustrations. Who hasn’t wanted to yell “STOP TAKING PLAYS OFF, YA GOD DAMN SOB” at a Lion? Just ask anyone who watched Shaun Rogers run out of breath play.
In the end, there’s no right answers here, everyone was in the wrong. The fan stepped over the line, while the Lions can dish it out, but they can’t take it.
I’m warning the Fan Sided Blogs guys. With the bile I spew about the Lions, I bet their security are coming after me next…