|No thugs in our house|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
News item: The Japanese government is spending $35.6 million on anti-hooligan measures for the World Cup, including the use of weblike nets to throw over unruly fans.
Early detection is Japan's first line of defense. All potential hooligans will be carefully screened upon arrival at the nation's airports. Passengers who list their professions on their passports as "unemployed," "town drunk" or "none of your @#$%&@in' business, is it, mate?" will be singled out upon entry. Customs agents will skillfully ask passengers a series of questions designed to further root out hooligans. Such questions include, "Did any person give you a keg of Guinness to carry into the country?" and "That Spice Bitch has really @#$%&@ed with Beckham's head, hasn't she?" and "When did you last bathe, not counting the water cannons?"
Additionally, officials will be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, such as urinating against the wall of the terminal, urinating against a customs agent or overturning a cart for the handicapped and setting it on fire.
Japan is further discouraging hooligans by selling only U.S. beer during the World Cup.
Deception, misdirection and disinformation also are key components in the overall anti-hooligan program. Hooligans will be discouraged from attending matches through the use of purposely misleading signs and marquees that bill the stadiums as the sites of Lilith Fair concert stops rather than World Cup games. World Cup officials will discourage the assembly of hooligans inside and outside the stadiums by playing Hall & Oates at eardrum-puncturing levels on the speaker systems. Loudspeakers mounted on trucks will be used to direct roving bands of hooligans to free All-You-Can-Drink beer gardens in the opposite direction of the stadium. (Once inside, the hooligans will learn that All They Can Drink is warm A&W root beer.)
What more can Japan do? Plenty. Other countries simply arrest and deport soccer hooligans. Japan is going one important step further by re-educating the hooligans and turning them into law-abiding, productive citizens. The program is barely off the ground, but the results are already impressive. Just last weekend, many of these former-hooligans held a blood drive, lobbied for the amelioration of Third World debt and helped raise a barn in the countryside. Several plan to join seminaries, while others are studying for their MCATs.
Of course, not every hooligan can be expected to change his ways, but Japan has a plan for those bad boys as well. Hooligans who refuse to give up their crude, violent, drunk and psychotic behavior will be taken to the bleachers of Yankee Stadium, where they will simply get lost in the crowd.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.