St. Louis Flares Up Over Bosnia Soccer Celebrations at Busch Stadium

Categories: Sports

soccerflare.jpeg
Riverfront Times
Bosnians light flares during a friendly match at Busch Stadium.
The flares lit by Bosnian soccer fans at last week's international friendly game did no damage to Busch Stadium, but they set off a firestorm on social media last week as St. Louisans reacted in ways that were by turns curious, angry and downright xenophobic.

See also: PHOTOS: Argentina Wins at Busch Stadium, Bosnians Celebrate Anyway - With Flare

Busch Stadium is fresh on the minds of most in St. Louis. Just three weeks before, 47,000 baseball fans packed the place to watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series. (It didn't go so well.)

The scene Monday was very different: A mostly Bosnian crowd made up for the smatterings of empty seats by cheering, jumping and singing constantly with electrifying frenzy. Even as the Bosnia-Herzegovina national team trailed by two to Argentina, fans pulled out hand-held road flares, a signal of celebration in countries where soccer -- not baseball -- is king.

"That's how you cheer on your team," says Erna Grbic, 31, whose family was one of the first to move to St. Louis from Bosnia, eventually establishing south city's Grbic Restaurant. "That's how you show respect for your team. We're going to do it the way we would do it in Bosnia."

bosniacheer.jpeg
Riverfront Times
Bosnia fans cheer.
When the long weekend of celebrating was over and everyone checked their Twitter feeds the next morning, Bosnians were heartbroken to find that St. Louisans weren't focused on the epic parade leading to the stadium or the frenzy of fan support, Grbic says.

Instead, they were focused on the flares. In posts escalating from irritated to upset to racist, St. Louisans demanded answers from security about allowing fire in their baseball stadium.

Twitter had burst Bosnia's proverbial bubble -- one that had been growing in St. Louis for twenty years.

Read why Monday's game meant so much to St. Louis' Bosnian community and see more online reaction after the jump.


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21 comments
lcstrategy
lcstrategy

What a dumb journalist> First, stupid journalist, Bosnians are white people.

So the comments CAN NOT BE RACIST. 

This journalist is a proud dumb down graduate of the schools of the liberal USA.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Shouldn't these Moslems go back to Iraq?

Kelly O'Connor
Kelly O'Connor

Get over it, people. Why do St. Louisans have to be such closet "No, I'm not" racists. Hate that about this city.

Christina Toth
Christina Toth

I've seen some pretty bad remarks in past posts about this. That's not cool. But all it takes is one bad flare and someone could get hurt. I don't care what sport it is.

Lydia Abigail
Lydia Abigail

Flares are horrible! I have a scar to prove how dangerous they are...from a fellow soccer fan while I was at a game in Fenton. Sparklers, sure. But flares throw off still-lit chunks, one of which burned my arm.

Philip Schiff
Philip Schiff

Mistake on the part of security... should have let them know in advance not to bring or burn anything...

Terry Lewis
Terry Lewis

I do not see the racism. People seem to have a problem with the act that I have no doubt would have caused problems at a Blues game, going unimpeded and unpunished in this situation. I don't see any specific statements towards any race (white, Asian, black, etc...). Yes there are blanket statements to the Bosnian community, but I didn't think they were their own race. No more than Turkish, Germans, Moldovans etc (again) are anyway.

George Cameron
George Cameron

Which says more about us than it does about them. And not in a good way, either. Also, I don't think the racist claims are exaggerated at all.

Terry Lewis
Terry Lewis

I think the racism claims are a little exaggerated. We simply have a culture where it is commonly understood that burning magnesium in a crowd is generally frowned upon. And if that was done by anyone at a major sports event they would be gang tackled by security and interviewed as a potential terrorist.

Christina Toth
Christina Toth

People would be pissed if Cardinals fans brought them in too, just so happens it was a soccer game

Christina Toth
Christina Toth

I understand it's their culture, but if Cardinal fans can't bring them in, neither should they

johnzbarry
johnzbarry

This is really sad. My St. Louis watches baseball and hockey while playing soccer. I remember the fun when SLU had a shot of the NCAA championship in 1988 and Edwardsville was also competitive. We had a MISL team and talked about the possibility of professional soccer taking off in the US (with Pele as the figure head). 

I hope the people of St. Louis can rally round more international soccer events in the future. Gotta go now and pick up my son from football practice (you call it soccer).   

matthewmourning
matthewmourning

No offense, but this is a non-story. If all of St. Louis were responsible for our region's ~100 racist, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic anonymous individuals who incessantly spew bile on STL social media, then we'd be a horrible place to live indeed.

Luckily they're an extreme (and extremely sad) minority. And St. Louis is better than that. I (we) love the Bosnian presence here and share in their excitement.

Brandon Tosie
Brandon Tosie

Just goes to show,the Cardinal fans are a bunch of whiny ass babies... Who the fuck really cares...???

Ed Gibson
Ed Gibson

then start letting people bring flares to baseball games, but somehow doubt that will happen

lcstrategy
lcstrategy

@Kelly O'Connor  you are stupid. You can not be racist to white people unless you are an actual minority race.  MORON just like the journalist that wrote this article.

lcstrategy
lcstrategy

@George Cameron  Hey dumb down, where did you get your education because Bosnians are white people/ Look a the picture,

You liberals find racism in all the anuses in your fields.

lcstrategy
lcstrategy

@matthewmourning   Hey moron Bosnians are white people. Return to your dumb down school and earn a better education. 

They are Mulisms and they discriminate worst than any people in the world.

REMEMBER THAT.

colakoviccebira
colakoviccebira

@lcstrategy  ur so f dumb ur the one that needs to go back to history. First of all not all Bosnians are muslim if u didnt know  second of all ur talking about discriminating really y dont you read ur own commants and third of all stop ur just bumd.


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