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Editorial: The Sector Latino Ban Is An Embarrassing Overreaction

We call on the Fire FO to reinstate Sector Latino’s SG privileges immediately

MLS: Montreal Impact at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t really want to write about this. Emotions are high right now and it has nothing to do with what I’m comfortable writing about— the things happening on the pitch— and the team that plays the game representing the City of Chicago.

I tend to stay out of the loop in regards to fan politics because, while interesting in the same way any kind of interpersonal drama is interesting, I’m just not about that life. The only time I even see what’s going on is when it blows up my Twitter timeline.

Which is what happened when the Fire FO sent a letter after Close Of Business yesterday that tickets in Section 101 were being canceled and refunded for tomorrow’s game and that Sector Latino’s supporters group privileges were being revoked.

Here’s what I’ve gathered from Twitter:

  • At some point during the match against San Jose, Someone unaffiliated with Sector Latino set of a smoke bomb in Sector’s section of Toyota Park, Section 101.
  • This person was not found by Monterrey Security, and was not ejected per MLS/CFSC’s policy on pyrotechnics.
  • Around 5:30pm yesterday an email went out to season ticket holders announcing that their supporters privileges had been revoked, and their season ticket was no longer valid.
  • Sector Latino can appeal the decision.

The Chicago Fire Front Office has made it clear that they did not ban them for this incident. Instead, they claim that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back in regard to incidents either involving or adjacent to Sector Latino, including unspecified incidents of fan violence.

Section 8 Chicago released a statement on the ban and their official response earlier today, which you can read in full here.

S8C are planning a boycott for tomorrow night’s game and every game until this situation is resolved. That means no singing, chanting, or music coming out of Sections 117-118. The absence of organized support will send a strong message to all fans of the importance of solidarity against a Front Office with a lengthy history of egregious missteps. I hope it acts as a wake up call and reminds the club leadership that they can’t take the fans for granted.

This overreach by the Front Office is also tied to the ongoing problems with Monterrey Security, the third party contractors hired by the Village Of Bridgeview to lead security operations at Toyota Park, apparently over the Fire’s expressed wishes. Monterrey Security are a blight on every Fire matchday, and Sector Latino should not be paying for their feckless and impotent security management. Monterrey’s continued presence at Toyota Park is actively hurting the Fire organization and their relations with the fans, and the Village Of Bridgeview needs to do something about this.

In the meantime, the Fire FO must act now to repair the damage they’ve done with this shameful power play. We call on Nelson Rodriguez and the rest of the club’s leadership to rescind the ban immediately. We also implore them to sit down with Sector Latino and Section 8 Chicago to come up with real, collaborative solutions to the ongoing problems with individual fan misconduct. The entire supporter community should not be penalized for either the actions of reckless individuals or the inability of third party security contractors to do their jobs.

We at Hot Time In Old Town disagree vehemently with the actions that the Front Office has taken, and we demand that Sector Latino’s SG privileges and status be reinstated. The blanket ban is stupid and irresponsible, and will only serve to further poison the relationship between the club and the fans. Supporting our club should not be criminalized.