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Bruce Arians correct about abusive fans

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says an openly gay NFL player would have more to fear from fans in stadiums than from teammates in the locker room.

"I don't think the locker room would have any problem with it," Arians told Foxsports.com. "The problem would be with the fans. I think especially opposing fans. Some of the things that are said are over the top and out of control that I can imagine what some fans would say to an openly gay player."

A front office, coaching staff and well-intentioned players can control the locker room atmosphere more easily than security personnel can control 60,000 fans in a stadium.

Abusive fans can ruin the stadium experience. My family witnessed profane, drunken outbursts throughout the Pittsburgh Steelers-San Francisco 49ers game at Candlestick Park two seasons ago, to cite one personal example. My wife saw a man profanely berating another fan's 6-year-old son in the stands. The father was wearing a 49ers jersey, but the small child seated on his lap had on a Steelers jersey.

Teams have taken measures to improve the atmosphere. The 49ers have had police go undercover as opposing teams' fans in an effort to crack down on the abuse. I would still advise against taking small children to a game in most cases.