Former San Francisco 49ers President Carmen Policy has weighed in on the violence at Candlestick Park during Saturday’s preseason exhibition game with the Oakland Raiders, saying the stadium’s aging infrastructure may have played a role in the worsening of behavior.
“I do think the infrastructure at Candlestick has deteriorated,” Policy said in a phone interview. “It’s going downhill very fast, so I think that’s part of it.”
The stadium, built in 1960, is badly in need of repairs, and 49ers officials hope to move the team to a new facility in Santa Clara. Policy currently consults for developer Lennar Corp. and is hoping to keep the team in San Francisco.
Policy said that infrastructure and other factors, such as a different make-up of fans at preseason games, may have contributed to “a change in attitude” at such games and “a more negative approach to why you’re there to begin with and what you’re expecting.”
Current team president Jed York said Monday he would ask the NFL not to schedule any more preseason games with the Raiders. The team can currently choose only one of its four preseason opponents, with the league choosing the rest, York said. York said he selects the San Diego Chargers each year.
Policy said that when he was team president in 1990s, he decided not to play the Raiders in preseason.
“There were a variety of reasons,” he said, but declined to be more specific.
When the Yorks took over the team, there were many good reasons for them to try to “resurrect a Bay Area rivalry,” Policy acknowledged.
Policy said he believes the league currently has too many preseason games, and thinks it could expand the regular season by one game and get rid of two preseason games.
“I think there needs to be a change,” he said. “I think even the people at 280 Park Ave. [NFL headquarters] understand that.”