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Santa Clara may ban second-half alcohol sales at 49ers games

With three men and a teenage girl facing charges for beating up a Vikings fan after last Monday’s game at Levi’s Stadium (is that the kind of publicity a corporation hopes for when slapping its name on a sports facility?), Santa Clara officials may take steps to ensure a lesser amount of inebriation for the folks who show up at 49ers games.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, two members of the Santa Clara City Council have suggested cutting off alcohol sales at halftime of 49ers games.

“We really need to send a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Councilwoman Lisa Gillmor said.

Limiting alcohol sales won’t send that message. Prosecuting people who assault and batter other people to the full extent of the law will send message.

“I know they make a lot of money off of alcohol sales, but if people have an hour and a half [without alcohol] maybe they will cool down a bit,” Councilwoman Terea O’Neill said.

Of course, this overlooks the amount of alcohol consumed in the parking lot -- something that O’Neill actually claimed to be surprised about.

"[W]e have a municipal code about not drinking in parking lots,” O’Neill said.

So maybe enforcing those laws would help, too.

Regardless of where and when it’s consumed, alcohol will still be consumed. And many will consume it to excess. Some of those who do -- and some of those who don’t -- will cause still problems. Santa Clara police chief Michael Sellers understands that.

“There is an element that will still behave badly,” Sellers said. “It’s an individual choice. . . . We are just like any other NFL stadium. We have 70,000 fans, and less than tenth of a percent are a problem.”

Every NFL stadium needs to figure out how to keep that small percentage from ruining the experience for the vast majority, or more of the vast majority will stay home.