SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Fans wearing visiting teams' colors should expect to hear from the locals. They should not endure unrelenting abuse, physical threats or worse.
Perhaps you've heard about the plan to deter harassment against visiting fans at Candlestick Park. Undercover cops will dress as New York Giants fans at the NFC Championship Game in an effort to deter the abuse New Orleans Saints fans reported during the divisional round last week.
This is a fantastic idea, and one teams should adopt throughout the league, as warranted.
Picking on 49ers fans isn't the point. Plenty of visiting teams' fans provoke trouble. In fact, drunken idiots shout obscenities and harass others at stadiums throughout the league. I've seen it first-hand. Anyone taking a stand against them risks a physical confrontation.
I would think twice about taking my young kids to a game, not matter what team's colors they wore.
Teams have responded to fans' concerns in recent years by setting aside areas for family seating. They have made available hotlines to report abuse. They have revoked season tickets from some offenders.
Such well-intended measures aren't always enough. An added security presence, undercover or otherwise, can only help.
This is a step in the right direction for the NFL and the 49ers.