The Euros need to chill out, like now |

The Euros need to chill out, like now

Every now and again something happens in a foreign land that makes you happy to live in the U.S. of A.

Two weeks ago, that something was a renegade Tijuana motorcycle cop robbing my friend and me of $200. This past weekend, it was an Italian soccer fan getting shot dead by an officer who was apparently trying to break up a melee between opposing groups of fans.

The latter incident is far more disturbing. The cop in question is now facing manslaughter charges ” his stray bullet struck a 26-year-old disc jockey in the neck while the man was sitting in a car ” and the public uproar over the killing led to widespread riots across Italy, one of which saw irate citizens raid a police barracks and injure 40 officers.

Seems like it’s not unusual at all to hear about chaos erupting around a European soccer match. The fans get stumbling drunk and then their team loses, at which point violence is the accepted reaction. Why is it accepted? How is this chain of events normal?

I’m naïve, perhaps, because I’ve never been to a big-time soccer match in Europe.

Maybe you can go to a game and never fear that you’ll be caught in the crossfire afterward. Either way, it’s a daunting reality that the possibility exists. If I held a stake in the game’s future, I’d be concerned. …

The Avs, for those too busy with the rest of the sports world, have started this season in top form. They’re leading the Northwest Division at 11-5-1, thanks to brilliant Pepsi Center play (9-1) and a balanced scoring attack that features five players with 13 points or more.

Paul Stastny, the team’s second-line center and a former star at DU, leads the club with 22 points. …

After setting a major league record for fielding percentage this year, not a single Rockies player won a Gold Glove when the awards were announced last week. Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki should feel the most snubbed. …

Name of the Week: Juice Williams, who keyed Illinois’ upset of No. 1 Ohio State on Saturday. It’s not easy to get your nickname accepted as your actual name by the sports media, but thankfully Isiah John Williams has. …

Headline of the Week comes from “WNBA expansion team not interested in Rodman.” (As a coach, not a small forward.) …

A good old-fashioned feud between two proud college football coaches leads us to the Quote of the Week. It began last week, when Wyoming coach Joe Glenn guaranteed his team was going to beat Utah. The Utes promptly opened up a can on the Cowboys, building a 43-0 lead and then having the audacity to try an onside kick.

Wyoming recovered the kick, at which point Glenn flipped a cross-field bird at Utah coach Kyle Wittingham. After the Utes won 50-0, Glenn explained the root of the whole problem. “I got emotional last week and got my big Irish mouth going.” …

Never been a huge fan of greasy hair, but I make an exception for Barry Melrose. Not because the grease looks tasteful, but because Melrose is arguably the most entertaining (and on-point) TV sports analyst you’ll find these days. He does it all as a one-man NHL studio crew for ESPN. …

Can you hear it? The BCS controversy is already beginning. Assuming Kansas loses, we’re going to be looking at probably a half-dozen one-loss powers that can stake legitimate claims to playing for the national title. Which, of course, bodes quite well for a playoff system sometime in the next decade. …

In parting, Lou Holtz’s faux pep talk on ESPN each Saturday is the dumbest idea in sports. He stands in an empty TV studio and yells at a dry-erase board until his spittle has covered every inch of the camera lens. Please, no more.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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