Open Letter To The New York Islanders

Dear New York Islanders.

Congrats on the win today. Great game on the ice despite the outcome. Would have liked to see a little more overtime but that’s hockey. Unfortunately the fan experience left something to be desired. In fact it was the worst experience I have had in 30 years of attending sporting events.

NYC Caps Fans

I am a member of the New York City Capitals Fans and a dozen of us decided to take a trip to Long Island to see our Capitals play. We paid $158 each for terrible seats way up top with an obstructed view of the score boards but not quite high enough that we didn’t have drunk Islanders fans screaming at us to shut up.

Anyway, the day started out well. We got there early and tailgated and were greeted with plenty of smack talk but 90% of it was good natured. We had a great time before the game and even got to meet up with Caps play by play announcer John Walton who interviewed us for Caps Radio.

NYC Caps Fans

Unfortunately once the game started things went decidedly downhill. We were told to shut up and yelled all manor of things at us. The fans directly around us were pretty friendly but the people a few rows in front and a few rows behind were not. When the Islanders scored their first goal one of the guys behind me poured beer all over me. Homophobic bullshit was shouted at us all game and my friend Fatou had a number of racist comments directed at her.

Our group had bought seats in two different sections so during the second intermission we all met up at one of the out door smoking areas. We walked in together and were booed by everyone. It seemed good natured at first but then we were surrounded and things took a much darker turn. We were surrounded by several dozens of Islanders fans, some of whom blew smoke into the girls in our group’s faces. Several of them were actually pushing us but we clearly weren’t about to start a fight with that many people. I just held my Caps “Unleash The Fury” towel above my head (as seen in the above photos) and just took all the boos and chants of asshole and fun stuff like “fuck you faggot”.

At some point a drunk Islanders fan grabbed the rally towel out of my hands and as I tried to get it back Islanders fans swarmed me and it looked like it was going to turn into a brawl but security was quick to break it up. Of course the security guard blamed it on me for “instigating a fight” when all I was doing was silently holding a rally towel and smiling. When someone threw a bottle at our group I told the same security guard about it and he said “no one is throwing anything at you” despite the bottle landing at his feet.

It should be noted that a few Islanders fans defended us and gave us props for holding our ground but the racism and homophobia and near violence wasn’t exactly a positive experience… and of course it would get worse.

When the game went to overtime and the Islanders won the fans around us started kicking our chairs and pounding on the seat backs on either side of our heads. The guys in front of us turned around and gave us the middle finger. As we left I had people yell “FUCK YOU” in my face and of course more “faggots” and comments about Fatou’s “black hair”.

When we made it to our cars we noticed that our friend Justin’s car had been keyed twice and his rear license plate had been stolen. A few Islanders fans could’t believe it and were pretty great about it but another drunk fan started screaming and bumping up into the face of several of our crew. At some point one of our members pushed him away after he jumped into us and that nearly started another brawl. I fortunately broke it up since I had no interest in going to jail but the guys still pissed right next to my friends car so that he had to stand in a puddle of urine to get into his car.

There was of course almost no security in the parking lot so when a couple of security guards finally came by in a golf cart we stopped them to let them know what happened to Justin’s car. They just told him to call the cops and as they drove off I saw one of them turn to the other and started laughing about the stolen license plate. It was pretty infuriating.

Caps Fans Car Keyed

On top of that some of Islanders fans we had tailgated with earlier said they saw the guys who did it. As soon as we left they keyed the car and said “Fuck these Caps fans” as they took the plates off in front of a bunch of other fans who did nothing to stop them. I don’t know why they told us they saw it because they wouldn’t tell us who took it.

I have been to hundreds of professional sporting events in my life, mostly as an away team fan. While I have had some problems with fans in the past (Jets fans mostly) I have never had so many people be so shitty to me and my friends. There were a ton of Islanders fans that were cool to us but we had incident after incident today in a way that I have never seen. The combination of racism, sexism, homophobia, vandalism and violence was something almost impressive to behold. I even heard that some Isles fans were abusing a disabled child in an Ovechkin jersey.

Hopefully when you guys come to Brooklyn, the city I have lived for the last decade, you will do a much better job of controlling your drunk abusive fans and hire some security guards who do their jobs instead of just treating the visiting fans as the enemy. At the very least I am glad there won’t be any seats where you have to duck to see how much time is left in the game.

Thanks and I hope we are the last team to ever play in that awful “barn” you currently call home,

Nate “Igor” Smith
NYC Caps Fans

Update: Since this post blew up on the Internet I had a bunch of Islanders fans point out that I Tweeted that “These assholes should move to Brooklyn”. I could have deleted this Tweet but I am not going to. I am going to link to it instead. I talked plenty of smack today and I got a lot of smack talk back. 90% of it was fun. The other 10% was over the line. I could deal with most of it. What I don’t find acceptable is the vandalism, the shitty security or the racism/homophobia. I don’t care if some drunk asshole calls me a “faggot” that just looks bad on them. I do care when they say racist shit to my friends, pour beer on me and fuck up my friends car. And if any one of those things happened. I never would have written this post. But all of those things happened in one day. And I paid $158 for that experience.

I am a loud fan and I certainly don’t back down from anything, but calling all Islanders fans assholes is a very different thing from walking up to someone’s face and calling them an asshole. I never put a hand on an Islander fan and we certainly didn’t do anything to deserve any of the vandalism/ threats of violence or bigotry. Let’s Go Caps!

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Comments (259)


  1. amadda1
    April 21st, 2015 | 8:00 pm

    Karma is a Bitch Islander fans, we all know it will come back to get you as it always does. But really, if were actually being serious, karma really isnt necessary because everyone besides there delusional and ridiculous fanbase know that they dont have the talent to last.

    They will most likely revert to there winningless ways after this brief hiccup of a season and continue to be a joke of a franchise. I actually feel sorry that a solid player like Tavares has to waste all that talent for a bunch of degenerates.

  2. HTTR
    April 21st, 2015 | 8:56 pm

    Gooooooooooal!!!! Karma is a bitch you loser Isles fans (I mean only those 10% that were dickheads Sunday, according to the other 90%…). Come to Verizon on Thursday, we’re going to roll out the red carpet for you classy guys. We win the games on the ice, not in the concourse or beer gardens. Learn how to be a real fan, then come back next year and we’ll talk…whoops, forget that – your team is heading to Brooklyn. My bad.

  3. Jeff the plumber
    April 22nd, 2015 | 12:11 am

    I was an Islander fan in the 80s. Until Gretsky came & shut the Drive for 5 down in dominate fashion. The cockiness and support less fans (except playoff games) leave early come late and and drunkerdly abuse everyone! A reference to the 80s & 90s was made about Ranger fans earlier. This isn’t the 80s & 90s. Got into it with Jet fans too. Been to over 1000 games as far away as Ireland. Nothing like Long Island fans. Imagine if they lost. Security has been the same sport staff for 40 years sons of fathers that got them the do nothing job. If this happened in Garden the security would throw out the savage fans. Lambau fans was the best, Dublin a close 2nd. Yankee stadium security is 2nd to none while Jet security has their hands full. Used to go to Ranger/Islander games with a friend who has since past, the abuse in the smoking area is from the same drunk in fans every time. These same fans won’t support the Brooklyn thing so not to worry, this franchise is destined for Quebec City where they support & respect the game. As a fellow Long Islander I’m embarrassed by the spoiled suburban brats you encountered. The saddest thing is no one protected you right to exist in a public place and the wimps if our society turn a blind eye and think it’s not their problem. Chances are if you did brawl the big mouth jerks wouldn’t do anything except hit the ground after the right hook. You should have shoved the piss happy fans face into his own puddle if piss and the wimps that saw who keyed your car are just as guilty. I’ve been a over this county and further. Every time someone says they want to visit LI I talk them out of it because of your experience. It’s not just ” The Barn”. It’s every where on LI with the right of the “think their prevelidge”. The worse part is the security. We’ll see you at the Garden in a couple of weeks. It’s 21 years and counting for those so called fans. Go #8. He’s a great player. And 91 will be gone when they have to pay him so their goes the franchise for another 10 years

  4. [My name here]
    April 22nd, 2015 | 1:19 pm

    To me, it seems that the security is mostly to blame. Every fan base has its @$$#0|€$ and most of them do not go to all of the regular season games. When the playoffs start, attendance doubles and therefore, more bad fans. The security did nothing. All of the drunk isles fans probably knew the security would only protect hometown fans. Not a fanbase problem, the problem is the proven reputation of the security, i’d say.

  5. BlondieLocks
    April 22nd, 2015 | 4:15 pm

    Me and my friend were at this exact game. As Capitals fans who got haggled, we kind of tried to rationalize the insane level of harassment we experienced by writing it off as the effects of being at a playoff game. A lot of reports coming out since the game have made us realize, no, we were not crazy, and yes, we were targeted to a totally unsportsmanlike extreme. I am in no way surprised to hear that not only was your car destroyed, but that racism played a part in the harassment as well.

    As two unaccompanied very young girls, we had to endure some pretty brutal sexist/misogynistic remarks by almost every Islanders fan we walked by. We got cursed out by a fan with a clear inferiority complex in front of a five year old and, after being accused of only wanting to have sex with the entire Capitals team (because girl hockey fans clearly have only one interest, right?), were then hit on by the same old perv who assumed we were there for the boys and not the game.

    In the club room, we were basically denied access to the girl’s bathroom by a long line of angry Islanders fans who tried their damned best to convince us there was no female bathroom and kick us out of the room, and even the staff basically told us to our face that if we chose to wear those colors (red) we should just kind of expect that treatment. Last time I checked we all paid for our tickets to this game, and the colors I (or anyone else for that matter) chooses to wear is no one else’s business (especially staff workers). Denying basic service is kind of a blatant violation of the job description, and that type of behavior certainly didn’t reassure me or my friend that if anyone tried to get stupid with us, we would have somewhere safe to report the incident to.

    In addition to facing uncomfortable gender-related remarks that really had no place in the arena of competitive sports, we were also haggled by fans who thought it was acceptable, if not their responsibility, to shove their hands in our face and pretty much violate any and all public forms of personal space. I’m not talking about quick little hi-five fake outs to irritate us, either, I’m talking about full on palms an inch or so from our faces for longer than a few seconds, which gets awkward pretty quick. It might not sound like a lot, but it was weird and invasive and totally not cool. Not to mention that during a period where we got mic-ed for some footage, the guy behind us thought it would be ok to wave his towel right in front of my face (and have the audacity to get super pissed when I tried to swat it away). In conclusion, Islanders fans were really inappropriate with how touchy they felt they could get and I don’t think me or my friend appreciated it much.

    From being called ugly to slut to accused of having explicit sexual interest in the team, the Islanders don’t even have to lose a game to look bad; with fans like that they’re doing all the work for them. I get sports is supposed to be a rivalry, and certainly me and my friend expected a certain level of harassment, boos and jeers, and the typical insults described in this very post. But that night, for whatever reason, it seemed the majority of the fans really let loose and abandoned any and all forms of dignity, respect, and logic.

    When you allow yourself to so be so consumed by something that all you see is black and white, I think it’s time to step back and assess whether or not you’re a responsible enough human being to participate in something you are required to competitively engage in. Sorry to use this story as a jumping board for my own, but I felt compelled to share my own story, and hope you (and others) won’t face this type of ridiculous discrimination again.

  6. rachel
    April 25th, 2015 | 8:28 pm

    As a Pittsburgh fan born and raised in Philadelphia, I’ve been to plenty of Flyers-Pens games at the Wells Fargo Center over the years. I drive in in my suv which has several Pittsburgh sports teams decals, wearing my Crosby jersey. For sure I’ve been harassed but nothing I can’t handle and never cursed at or made to feel overly uncomfortable ie targeted. Obviously Flyers fans have had countless opportunities to ruin my car but it’s always fine when I leave the game. This is the worst thing I’ve ever read and I thought Eagles fans got a bad rep!

  7. Will
    April 27th, 2015 | 11:37 am

    I am a die-hard Islanders fan who wears his colors with passion and commitment in away arenas. When you are a visiting fan, you are going to get heckled from all possible angles. DEAL WITH IT. I’ve had beer thrown at me by Flyers fans, I’ve had your “classy” Caps fans scream that they’re going to BITE MY FINGERS OFF. You know what I do? I laugh, I cheer for my team, I take the abuse I signed up for when I purchased that out of town ticket, and I enjoy the game. If you don’t want to be the center of attention and are too scared, don’t wear your gear or watch the game from your couch in your protected little bubble of a world. Some of my best friends are Rangers, Penguins, and Flyers fans… we don’t go easy on each other even through the regular season. You Capitals fans are just coming off as a whiny group who can’t handle the heat of being outside the Verizon Center.

  8. Rich from canada
    April 30th, 2015 | 1:17 pm

    This blows my mind. Hockey is a kids game, played by adults. It shouldnt get so ugly. I realize people love their teams but is this really where spectator sports have headed? I have only been to nhl games in canada (yes we have drunks too) and have seem some shameful behaviour but this is much worse.
    Its really great how some of the isles fans chime in to tell you deserved it. Sort of reinforces the argument. Thank you to those who are also disappointed and saddened by these incidents. Every town has its idiots. I dont think all isles fans are like this.
    Anyhow, what about the love of the game? Can any of these people even skate? Or appreciate the smell of the ice and the sounds of the arena? I think we need these jerks from whatever fanbase to stay the fuck home and stop ruining the good times ALL fans would like. Theyre the same ones who ruin it for the kids as well. What do they learn from this behaviour? Isnt there some other sport you could ruin?

  9. Treff
    March 25th, 2019 | 9:48 pm

    4 years on do you still agree?

    I do somewhat but let’s just be happy we’ve had some improvement…

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