Fan Violence Has HSers Playing To Empty Gyms

Due to Chicago high school basketball games turning into scenes from The Warriors, the city’s Public League is putting some dramatic, perhaps draconian measures in place to keep the peace. Still, is it worth even playing a game if you’re not going to allow fans to attend?

Empty Arena

Playing in front of an empty gymnasium for certain games is just one of the measures they’re taking to prevent any more violence like Tuesday night’s, when a player was shot in the leg during a postgame brawl. If a bucket falls and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a swish?

For the rest of the season, Chicago Public School games will start earlier, and visiting fans will not be allowed to attend. It’s the home field advantage the Tampa Bay Rays have always wanted!

For games in which the two teams have a history, no fans will be allowed to attend period. Extreme measures, but these are extreme circumstances. Let’s look at the police blotter from the past week.

On Tuesday night, North Lawndale forward Jermaine Winfield was shot in the leg during a postgame altercation in which Winfield came to the aid of a teammate.

Also Tuesday, the Simeon-Bogan game was halted in the fourth quarter when a fight erupted in the stands.

Just after North Lawndale beat Marshall on Thursday night, a fight between two female students turned into a bigger disturbance, with a police call for assistance resulting in eight squad cars and two squadrolls being dispatched to Marshall.

Understandably fans are upset with the new regulations. But perhaps less understandably, the mother of the player who was shot is also upset.

Erica Davis, 35, Winfield’s mother, said she still hoped to be able to see her son’s games without too much bureaucratic trouble.

“I’m all for a child’s safety, but I can’t agree with that (policy). I want to see my son’s games. How can they keep me away from watching my son play? I have no problem with a sign-in sheet or whatever if that will allow me to see him play.”