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A civil Civil War.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Those who really need to read this editorial probably won't.

But maybe the message can get through anyway: Please, people, let's cultivate a better reputation than the one a few louts - OK, maybe more than a few - have earned for the University of Oregon and Autzen Stadium. Let's put a lid on the drunkeness, vulgarity and even violence that all too often makes Duck football fans seem undeserving of a national-class team.

Feelings are running high about today's game, and for good reason. The football programs at both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University have developed into powerhouses. A few decades ago, it would have been a fevered dream: The Ducks and Beavers coming to Autzen, both with winning records, before a national television audience, with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.

It's a heady experience for fans. But when a football player makes a touchdown, he should try to act as though it's not his first trip to the end zone. Similarly, fans at today's game can behave as though they've been here before. That means being loud, certainly, but not violent, abusive, stupid and obnoxious.

The Register-Guard often receives letters from visitors describing how welcome they felt at Autzen Stadium, and saying how much they look forward to returning. Unfortunately, letters also come from people who tell of being insulted, yelled at, threatened or vomited upon. These people promise they'll never be back. It takes just one of the latter type of experiences to cast a pall over the reputation of the Ducks, the UO, Autzen and Eugene. Such experiences are all too common.

Out-of-control, over-the-top boorishness would be more rare if it were more actively resisted. The police and security personnel do what they can, but they can't be everywhere. In large part, enforcing a standard of decent conduct is up to everyone. If every roaring drunk felt a cold glare of disapproval, if every leather-lunged obscenity were met with a thumbs-down, the idea would begin to take hold that good sportsmanship is expected both on and off the playing field.

Fans at Autzen are known for their intensity - they should do their part by earning a reputation for civility to match. A good start would be to give every Beaver a reason to feel welcome at Autzen. Both teams, after all, have plenty to be proud of.

Let's have a civil Civil War - and go Ducks.
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Title Annotation:Editorials and Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 3, 2009
Words:408
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