Nate “Igor” Smith says his intention wasn’t to slander a fan base, rather he was just pissed and felt the need to rant and get it all off his chest. The 34 year old native of Alexandria, VA now living in Brooklyn never imagined the combination of backlash and support his Open Letter to the New York Islanders would create just hours after the Islanders 2-1 OT win over Capitals in Game 3 at the Nassau Coliseum.
What started with a few tweets soon had everyone weighing in on what is and is not acceptable when wearing a different color sweater and rooting for your team in another team’s building. Aninvestigation into the reported vandalism is now underway by the Nassau County Police Department.
Did this group of Caps fan antagonize Islanders fans? Were they the instigators? If you make a spectacle of yourself and make your presence known are you asking for it?
Where the line is and at what point it was crossed is still being debated amongst Nate and Islanders fans.
Who knew he could become the 2015 version of Dale Hunter? Earlier today, I was able to speak with Smith and get his reaction to all the reaction his open letter has created.
What has been the reaction from hockey and NHL fans been since your post? Has it been what you expected or far different?
Well I didn’t expect anything like this. I Tweeted it to a couple of the local Caps bloggers I tweet with but I didn’t expect it to become a big story. The reaction has been mostly Islanders fans reaching out to say they were embarrassed for the drunk idiots, Caps fans who are of course on our side and Rangers fans looking for any reason to go after the Isles. There’s been a handful of Islanders fans that have been attacking us online, but it its just a handful of guys posting over and over again.
Your post was an “Open Letter to the New York Islanders,” has the organization reached out to you in any way since this story went viral?
They have not.
NOTE: The Islanders have since issues a statement following Sunday’s events.
Your group, New York City Caps fans, has traveled to many other arenas around the NHL in previous years. Beyond the vandalism/destruction of property that no one defends, what do you consider to be “fair game” and what crosses the line?
All of the calling us a$$hole and most of the sh*t talking was fair game. The stuff that happened in the beer garden was totally fine up until a guy grabbed my flag. After that guys were blowing smoke in girls faces and throwing sh*t at us. None of that is okay.
Since your post, there have been additional videos, vines, twitter photos that have been posted that have give off the impression that your group was antagonistic towards Islanders fans? How would you respond to that?
We are loud and proud and when we walked into that beer garden everyone immediately started booing us so we put up our hands and just smiled and soaked it in. After things turned ugly we had a bunch of Isles fans come up to us and tell us they admired us for sticking to our guns.
If we just left when everyone booed us or if we were quiet the whole game maybe most of this would have happened (The vandalism and the racism happened independently of anything we did) but I think it’s a fans right to cheer on their team.
I think its a home teams fans duty to give visiting team fans a hard time. But you cant cross that line.
Do you think this experience will change your approach to attending games in other cities moving forward?
Last night, fights broke out in Ottawa during the Sens-Habs game, we all love hockey, we love rivalries, but are passionate fans taking their allegiance too far that these incidents keep popping up?
If you are throwing punches at a sporting event you are doing it wrong.
Is your view of Islanders fans forever changed or can you separate the good majority for the bad minority?
We had a lot of good interactions with Islanders fans, especially in retrospect. Obviously these people that messed up my friends car don’t represent everyone.
Could we expect New York City Capitals Fans to be at Barclays Center in Brooklyn next season?
Of course. I am gonna try to find someone to throw in on their season tickets. I can’t wait til it’s in Brooklyn.
Who wins this series?
I think the Caps are the better team, especially with the Isles injuries but they haven’t played like it. If the Caps keep beating themselves they aren’t even going to make it to game six.
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