Open letter to the Philadelphia Front Office and Sons of Ben Members
The last home game of the 2014 season took place at PPL and I think it is fair to say it has been a very long season. In addition to the World Cup, our Philadelphia Union played more home games this season than in any previous with a run for the US Open Cup. As with the 4 previous seasons, there were some ups and downs both on and off the field. On Saturday, October 18th an event occurred that has spawned some truths, some misinformation and passionate feelings on both sides of the story. This letter is intended to clarify some of that misinformation and provide our feelings on what has been dubbed "Tifogate".
For 90 minutes the Sons of Ben brought another impressive atmosphere to a game which had no bearing on whether we could advance to the playoffs. We sang and chanted for 90 minutes supporting our team on the field (that's what we do) and some our members displayed a tifo that showed displeasure with our ownership. Please keep in mind, the Sons of Ben exist to support the players on the field and their Manager, but we also feel that our members have the right to express our displeasure with Ownership when our club is not performing the way we feel they should be. This has to be a 2 way street...when you have supporters as passionate as the Sons of Ben, sometimes it isn't always going to be exactly the type of passion that you want.
The tifo in question had no direct depiction of violence, nor did it have any obscenities in it. We were told it was removed because it was creating a negative atmosphere and that it did not go through the proper security channels.
Ultimately, it is the Front Office's decision to make on if they feel the rules they set forth were broken, but we feel that was a very tame and low profile way that some of our members decided to show their displeasure with our ownership. No one boycotted the game, no one threatened to walkout and an make a very public spectacle on TV, no one conspired to not purchase concessions during game.
For the record, Ryan Bross, Director of Tifo did not make the two signs in question. It was not a supported tifo by the Sons of Ben. However, we feel many things that happen in The River End need to be organic and should come from our members. This is an example of that happening and we will defend their right to express themselves as long as it falls with the guidelines of the Sons of Ben Code of Conduct.
Ad Finem Fidelis.