NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Rex Ryan says he was not calling for trouble in the stands when he suggested that “it’s probably not recommended” that Cowboys fans wear team gear to MetLife Stadium on Sunday night for the regular-season opener.
“I don’t know why they’d be here,” the Jets’ boisterous coach joked on Wednesday.
Ryan’s comments were criticized heavily by WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday, particularly in light of recent fan violence at Candlestick Park in San Francisco and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Fighting at this year’s 49ers-Raiders preseason game in August was witnessed by the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland along with being captured on video and replayed over and over again online.
More than 70 fans were ejected, 12 people were arrested and dozens of medical calls were made. After the game, two men were wounded in separate parking lot shootings. A third man earlier was beaten unconscious in a bathroom.
The violence in San Francisco was a reminder of an attack at another rivalry game. Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two men in Dodgers gear after the archrivals’ season opener.
Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic, suffered severe brain injuries.
The brash coach says “it certainly wasn’t my intention to be taken that way. I certainly didn’t mean it to come out like that if that’s the way it was taken.”
Ryan said he doesn’t want to see any opponents’ jerseys in the crowd simply because “I would like to see our stadium just in our colors.”
“I don’t think our stadium needs to have visiting color jerseys,” said Ryan. “I want to have our stadium filled, and if it’s somebody else coming to enjoy a game, that’s fine. I’m not calling for our guys to do anything. The safety of every fan is important to everybody in this organization, including me. But would I not prefer to see another color jersey? Absolutely.”
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