Bad Boys still bad at Sharks games, but Neil Young is worse
Jeff Stanley, center-right in blond wig, his daughter Chandler, 12, center-left, his daughter Cameron, 19, directly behind Jeff Stanley, and Amanda Mosher, 19, top center-left, cheer for a Sharks goal in the third period of their game against the Vancouver Canucks for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)
Jeff Stanley, far right, heads down to his seats before the San Jose Sharks game against the Vancouver Canucks with his daughter Cameron, 19, second from left, and their friend Amanda Mosher, 19, far right, for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)
Jeff Stanley, far right, chat with other Sharks fans during warm-ups before the San Jose Sharks game against the Vancouver Canucks with his two daughters Chandler, 12, second from right, and Cameron, 19, second from left, and their friend Amanda Mosher, 19, far left, for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. on Sunday, May 22, 2011. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)
By Bruce Newman | Mercury News, Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: October 14, 2011 at 10:23 am | UPDATED: August 13, 2016 at 12:37 pm
After a disheartening series of playoff flame-outs, the San Jose Sharks might have expected some restlessness from their home fans this season. But as the Sharks return to home ice Saturday for only the second time, the franchise already has suffered a pair of stinging defeats in the stands.
In hockey, it s customary for black eyes to be delivered on the ice, not by your own fans. These two shiners were delivered, in succession, by a self-promoting bail bondsman and rocker Neil Young. Separately, they thumbed their noses at the Sharks and got away with it, although Young probably shouldn t expect to sell a lot of records in San Jose this winter.
The team s management brought on the first fracas with an enhanced ticket policy, announced during the offseason, forbidding fans from using their seats to promote products or other entities then sent a warning letter to only one season ticket-holder: Bad Boys Bail Bonds co-owner Jeffrey Stanley.
He was threatened with ejection from HP Pavilion if he continued to wear T-shirts emblazoned with his company s logo in his seats behind the Sharks bench. A team official described the Bad Boys three-year T-shirt siege as ambush marketing, a free advertising bonanza that the team s paying sponsors wanted stopped. The Sharks huffed and puffed about what they would do to anyone caught violating the new policy.
But Stanley kept right on wearing the shirts to preseason games as he will again Saturday when the Sharks face St. Louis and hired a lawyer, who threatened legal action based on the premise that sports teams can t dictate to fans what jerseys or T-shirts they can wear to games. They see that I m wearing the shirts, and they haven t done anything about it, Stanley said.
He did finally run into a foe of the T-shirts so implacable he immediately capitulated. After the Sharks controversy erupted, Stanley s 12-year-old daughter, Chandler, received numerous requests for Bad Boys T-shirts from her seventh-grade classmates at Holy Spirit, a private Catholic school.
I got a call from the principal, who told me, Your daughter can t be advertising on campus, Stanley said. So we ve agreed that my daughter s school is off limits. That s where we draw the line.
He believes he made his point to the Sharks, however, and has no intention of upgrading his wardrobe as the team has requested. I think the Sharks management realized it s not just one small bondsman they re talking about, Stanley said. People don t like their rights being taken away. This is the United States of America. Heck, I even wear my Bad Boys Bail Bonds T-shirt to church. They haven t threatened to have me ejected yet.
Refusing to take the bait, Sharks spokesman Scott Emmert acknowledged Stanley had successfully defied the ban. We continue to monitor the situation, he said.
Several Sharks fans wore Bad Boys T-shirts in solidarity with Stanley s cause, but Neil Young s turncoat video, in which the singer renounces his devotion to the Sharks, is unlikely to spark copycats. Young a Woodside resident and regular at Sharks games is Canadian by birth, so his loyalties were always considered uncertain.
But the aging grunge god stirred the wrath of San Jose fans with a commercial in which he is shown turning his back literally on the Sharks, ordering season tickets from the Winnipeg Jets. Message boards in the Sharks Fan Zone were alight with suggestions of treachery, and even album-burning.
Suddenly, the bail bondsman didn t seem like the Sharks baddest Bad Boy at all.
Contact Bruce Newman at 408-920-5004.