PittGirl goes “there.”

Racial issues are divisive, so you’d think I wouldn’t write about them, but Mike Seate wrote a column entitled “Steelers tickets too pricey for black fans” that includes the following:

I first heard about this from black readers who attended professional football games.

They returned complaining about country music blaring out of the Heinz Field public address system and a dearth of black faces in the bleachers. Their observations rang true on Sunday, as I watched a mostly black Steelers team play before a crowd that was whiter than Christmas dinner at Ann Coulter’s crib.

Though 70 percent of National Football League players are black, according to the league, I saw few blacks in the stands. Well, at least few who weren’t pounding the stairs selling $6 beers and $4 Cokes.

And the $60 or so it costs to land a ticket might not seem like a lot of money, but it’s a lot more than most black families I know can afford.

So just because we’re not visible in the stands doesn’t mean black Pittsburghers don’t enjoy the Steelers. It just means many of us can’t afford to enjoy them in person.

My thoughts:

1.  There are shitloads of white people that can’t afford to enjoy a Steelers game either.  Shit. Loads.

2.  Not every white person likes country music just the same way that not every black person likes hip-hop music.  Shocking, I know.  Readers?  How many of you are white and hate country music?

3.  There is absolutely NO QUESTION that this city’s black population is faced with a huge gap in income, education, and other important areas.  Hell, black individuals even get sent to prison for drug offenses at rates much higher than whites do, 27 times the rate of whites to be exact!  That is really scary and simply not acceptable.

But I think Mike Seate has done a disservice to the black population of Pittsburgh with this article, stereotyping the race as hip-hop loving, dirt poor beer men.  I have about a dozen black friends that don’t fit that mold at all who say, “I can afford to go to a Steelers game, but I’m too damn smart to freeze my ass off.”

4.  The title of the article alone was painted with a brush so big that Alan Faneca would have had trouble picking it up.  Will Mike Seate’s next column be “Diamonds too pricey for black families”?

5.   There is so much that can be written about the racial disparity that exists in Pittsburgh, and so much that SHOULD be written about it, but just picking an expensive item and saying “here’s a race that can’t afford it and I know because I went and I eyeballed it” is irresponsible journalism that accomplishes nothing … kind of like The Burgh Blog.

6.  If the NBA came to town (I’m not saying all black people like the NBA, I’m just trying to give you an example here from a sport with stats to back up the racial makeup of the fans), will Mike Seate be sitting in an arena much more to his liking?   What will he entitle his column after he sat in that arena surrounded by lots of black families who all paid about $60 for each ticket?

“White people hate the NBA”?

All right.  I’m done.  Let me have it, Burghers.  Show me the error of my thinking.

(h/t Spoon)


  1. TC
    December 18, 2007 1:53 pm

    “irresponsible journalism that accomplishes nothing … kind of like The Burgh Blog.”

    Don’t sell yourself short. When we laugh at your irresponsible journalism, it’s because it is meant to be funny.

  2. lolo
    December 18, 2007 1:57 pm

    1. I cannot afford to go to games (except in pre-season, when I was given free tix). I am white and female and have friends of different races that are much more financially successful than me.

    2. I do NOT like country music. At all. It is probably the only music genre I don’t like.

    3. By my recollection on my rare opportunities to glimpse the inner workings of Heinz Field, the concession employees always seem to be a very mixed crowd (race, gender, religion – ?).

    I’m dissappointed at Mike Seate’s lack of journalistic integrity. Even if he was editorializing, it would have been a wise idea to take more time to look around and, hark, maybe talk to people.

  3. Zsa
    December 18, 2007 1:58 pm

    The huh?

    I’ve been to one Steeler game at Heinz Field, plus watch on air, and I don’t remember hearing any country music – honestly, the thing that sticks in my mind is that techno song that goes “oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh ohhhhhhh”….well, you get the point.

    And believe me, I hate country (I’m a really white white girl) with every fiber of my being, so you’d certainly hear me bitching about it if that was the truth.

    Oh, that Steeler game I went to? Was because a friend WON tickets. I couldn’t have afforded it otherwise.

  4. z
    December 18, 2007 2:17 pm

    “Let me have it, Burghers. Show me the error of my thinking”

    No error that I can see. You ably wrote what many Pittsburghers are thinking. Especially:

    “There is so much that can be written about the racial disparity that exists in Pittsburgh, and so much that SHOULD be written about it,…”

    I’m a white girl who hase only been to 1 game at Heinz field because like many of the black families Mr Seate mentioned, I can’t affored it.

  5. TrolleyRider
    December 18, 2007 2:29 pm

    Mike Seate is one of the biggest racists in either newspaper in town. Half of his articles are like this. And when you email him to ask questions or question blatant wrongs/lies in his columns he won’t respond. I have no idea why the Trib puts up with his garbage.

    As for this article, it’s just completely ridiculous. I’m a white male, 28 years old, upper middle class…in other words the bane of Mike Seate’s existence. I am also what my friends call “obsessed with sports”. I go to lots of Pitt football games and Pitt basketball games. I can’t afford to go to many Pens games (I’ve been to one this year for a $20 ticket). I’ve NEVER been to a Steelers regular season or playoff game in my life. I’ve been to two preseason games. I guess the Steelers are discriminating against me.

    I want reparations.

  6. Judge Rufus Peckham
    December 18, 2007 2:32 pm

    I think Mike Seate is great. (And PittGirl, too.) While Mike could have written about other expensive events (e.g., Penguins’ games), the Steelers are the gold standard around here, and the absence of blacks in the stands at their games has long been conspicuous. While, I, too, would love to see more written about the root causes of the problems in the inner city (starting with the fact that 70% of households in the inner city are fatherless, and how both political parties — that are predominantly white, by the way — perpetuate a system that rewards not having a father present), I think Mike’s piece raises issues that are worth considering. It is likely that a lot of people never stopped to think about the absence of blacks in the stands.

  7. Erik
    December 18, 2007 2:33 pm

    I can’t afford Steelers tickets, like hip-hop and hate country music.

    Well I’ve obviously been living a lie all these years because clearly, I must be a black man.

  8. Gumby
    December 18, 2007 2:35 pm

    I agree with you completely, but just so you know, there is nothing whiter than the crowd at an NBA game. Nothing. I’ve been to games in 6 different cities and other than the rare celebrity, it’s a ghost town. College BB is a lot more divesified in the stands though.

    Also, I’m white, hate country music.

  9. kellyo
    December 18, 2007 2:39 pm

    I have never read an article on either the Trib or Post Gazette websites and felt compelled to clicked on the writers email, but I just had to this time. I had to tell him what I thought:

    That article was completely without merit. Steelers tickets are too pricey for most Pittsburgher’s and have been for 75 years. His article is not newsworthy and seriously flawed if it was meant as an opinion piece.

    How does he explain Pitt games? Most of the players are also black and most of the people in the stands are white, even the student section. These tickets are very affordable and most games (except for Notre Dame and WVU) you can walk up on game day and still buy tickets.

  10. steelerfan
    December 18, 2007 2:39 pm

    I’m white…mid twenties…HATE country music. I’ve been to one game, the last game at Three Rivers, and I got free tickets.

  11. spoon
    December 18, 2007 2:43 pm

    Mike Seate is a fucking waste. His articles are always slathered with how the black man is put out in this town and most of the time it’s down right ridiculous. If the role was reversed we’d have Al Sharpton here asking for Mike’s resignation.

    I’m waiting for his article about the NHL being racist for it’s lack of black players or that the ice is white (well clear). He’s also been on the shit list of most beer folk for his slap in the face articles to local brewers and his support of the 10% drink tax.

    His articles contain 3 things, 1) motorcycles 2) race 3) thinking people put him down because he’s black (when it’s most likely because he’s a prick).

    I’ve emailed him as have may people I know because of his downright disrespect for the craft beer industry and he won’t even reply though he feels the need to write about it.

    I’m white, male, married, no kids, hate country music, middle class citizen and I can’t afford to go to games. It’s all about how you choose to spend your money. I’d much rather go to a Pens game than the Steelers so that’s how I spend my money. Maybe he should talk to the scalpers selling Steelers tickets to be more biased.

    What’s his excuse for Pirates games? Tickets start around $10 or is he offended that you can’t sit behind home plate for that price. If he wants to whine like a minor leaguer he should go move to a city that has one. I hear Wilkes Barre is nice.

    Not everything has to be catered to you and that’s why he’s a bitter man. I HATE Cotton Eye Joe, and hip hop but I don’t think it’s an insult to my race. If anything I think he’s an insult to journalists.

  12. A-Rod
    December 18, 2007 2:44 pm

    oh yeah? just try to buy a ticket to a Yankee game. $250 for bleacher seats to help pay my paltry $275 million contract. At least it keeps Mike Seate out.

  13. Mary
    December 18, 2007 2:54 pm

    Gumby, just so you know, a Tina Turner concert is much whiter than an NBA game.

  14. Frank
    December 18, 2007 3:03 pm

    I’m going to be that guy—I think PittGirl, Mike Seate, and all the commenters have valid points.

    I was watching the game on TV on Sunday, and in the third quarter after the Jags got their second TD in a row, I saw a stream of fans heading for the exit. I wondered if the people leaving were the 20+ year season ticket holders or if they were the folks that got a ticket for the game and felt it was a hugely special thing for them to get the opportunity to go.

    Now, here’s another thought that goes “there.” All the commenters that chose to disclose their race were white.

  15. Wonderbread
    December 18, 2007 3:09 pm

    And here all these years I thought I was white….I mean I cant afford tix or tolerate country music…I must be a black man…the man owes me some respect….

    Please…all he did was write that for the shock factor…hes just as bad as that little weasel Eric Heyl who also works for the trib….

  16. Bulldog
    December 18, 2007 3:27 pm

    I think the personal comments putting down the columnist are way off base. I have corresponded with him a number of times over the last 3 years and he’s always written back in a timely manner and we’ve had several good discussions on topics that have nothing to do with race, bikes or beer. We did have a disucssion about some majestic birds that were migrating through the area last year, though.

    His column is an opinion piece not a sociological study in the demographics of Steeler fans, and it would seem that he’s done a good job of generating discussion as the Judge has noted above.

    I’m a middle-aged, white guy and I can’t really afford Steeler’s tickets either. Mabye if I could manage to get season tickets and pay face value it would be a different story.

  17. Stasia
    December 18, 2007 3:27 pm

    Frank, maybe that just means PittGirl only appeals to the white blog readers. There ARE no black commenters because there are no black readers! They can’t afford computers after all, you know.

  18. NY Luvs Pitts
    December 18, 2007 3:28 pm

    I’m black. I don’t like hip-hop. I’ve been known to belt out a country tune or two(which is why my friend Abby calls me a white girl every time the easy listening station plays one while we’re at work and I start to sing). I even have a 17 year old who doesn’t like hip-hop, listens to rock, sings gospel and plays classical piano. I haven’t been to a Steelers game. Not because I can’t afford to do so because I’ve been to a number of Yankees games, I’ve been to a Knicks game (don’t laugh, they were winning at the time) and I had tickets to see the Mets and gave them to a friend to take my daughter because I wasn’t feeling well. The only reason why I haven’t is because I’m too busy singing in Church on Sundays (my Godly duty as a christian with a golden voice). I do plan on slipping away from church on a Sunday next year and visit the burgh to see the Steelers up close and personal. (Look for me. I’ll be the black girl singing all the country songs). In fact I tried to get tickets when they came to NY to play the Jets but was too late. Anyway, I’m sure there are plenty of black people who can afford to go to a football game or two but may choose not to for other reasons.

  19. Zsa
    December 18, 2007 3:34 pm

    All this country music hate is warming the cockles of my heart. To hear some people (in and out of the city) talk, you’d think we all have Travis Tritt posters on our ceilings or something.

    spoon, I thought the same thing about Pirates games (of which I’ve attended many). I realize they aren’t exactly stellar right now, but that doesn’t stop people from attending & having fun. What on earth excuse does he give for supporting the drink tax?

  20. Ant Annie
    December 18, 2007 3:40 pm

    Like # 7 I also can’t afford Steelers tickets, like hip-hop and hate country music. I, too, must be a black man. :-) Even if I could afford Steelers tickets, I think I’d rather watch from the comfort of my own home.

    I wouldn’t exactly call Mike Seate a journalist. More like an inciter. Now I know why I don’t read the Trib.

    And as for your “irresponsible journalism that accomplishes nothing … kind of like The Burgh Blog” remark — don’t sell yourself short, PG. Where else would we go to find the pulse of the ‘burgh? Keep up the good work.

  21. Scottie
    December 18, 2007 3:50 pm

    Interesting. Let me just throw this one out there…could this be a function of the idea that most of the tickets are to season ticket holders who’ve had them for years, probably before many black families could afford them. Now, we know the ‘burghers don’t like passing up those season tickets and will mortgage their house to keep them. So could it just be that there haven’t been as many opportunities for anyone to score the season tickets, thus keeping the crowd leaning to the paler side?

    Maybe they should just start doing a first-come first-serve on season tickets each year?

    Just Sayin’ (Don’t all ‘a y’all be throwin’ the towels at me yet…I’m just bitter because I’ve never been to a game)

  22. Craig
    December 18, 2007 3:55 pm

    Who told Mike that any thought that African-American’s don’t like Steeler games? If showing up to the games was the only way to tell of your Steelers love, then we would all be out in the cold instead of in, in the cold, wet sloppy of Heinz Field. We ALL like Steeler games, we gaTher in homes and bars all over the nation hoping for more offense, better defense, and an extended season. Maybe the first step toward discussing the real issues about race starts with acknowledging the fact that no matter our race or ethnic labels we all identify with the Steelers. Racial discussion, “let’s get it started” we have much to gain, is it really 54%, that’s awful and should be talked about!

  23. Mia`
    December 18, 2007 4:01 pm

    1. Add me to the list who can’t afford Steelers tickets, or rather can’t afford them after putting gas in the car and paying the bills. If I passed on those I could probably go to every game, I might not have a way to get there, or a place to go home to after the game….

    2. White – hated counry music until a couple of years ago when I was surrounded by people who listened to only country music. I found that some of it isn’t half bad – doesn’t mean I’ve got the country station on in the car tho.

    3. “Hell, black individuals even get sent to prison for drug offenses at rates much higher than whites do, 27 times the rate of whites to be exact!” – 27 tmes the rate doesn’t really mean a hell of a lot unless you also know the percentage of whites/blacks/other living in the same area – if there are 27 times the number of whites living in Allegheny then I’d say that number is about right. They give the percentage for Westmoreland county, but not Allegheny.

    4. I’ll jump ahead to that diamond artitle – I can’t afford them either! The only 2 pieces of decent jewelry I own were gifts, and even those aren’t “good” pieces.

    6. Again, white, and I do hate basketball, but then I also can’t stand baseball so I’m not sure what that proves…

    I agree that it was a “shock” piece. It’s all too much “peace on earth, good will towards men” this time of year, someone had to stir up the shit. I think most of the “race relations” crap is merely stiring the shit up tho, so you may not want to listen to my opinion. The “entitlement” crap drives me nuts. The whining drives me nuts. Here’s a thought, shut up and do something about it!

    Sorry…rant terminated.

  24. John
    December 18, 2007 4:08 pm

    I’m white. I tolerate country music (at best). And the last 3 or 4 Steeler games I’ve been to have been the result of free tickets. This so-called “journalist” seems to ignore the fact that the Steelers have a waiting list for season tickets that will probably last until 2050. And even if I managed to get on that list and have my number miraculously come up, I couldn’t afford the ridiculously expensive tickets, and I have a relatively well paying job, too.

    It’s one thing to want to have an intelligent, balanced discussion about race, especially in a town as racially diverse as the Burgh. But this moron is going out of his way to call the Steelers racists and paint white people as redneck hicks who listen to country music. We’re not the racists; Mike Seate is.

  25. luvPGH
    December 18, 2007 4:13 pm

    Wait…where do you buy Steelers tickets from? I thought there was a waiting list at the stadium. The only way to get them is from a scalper, right? The scalpers must be racist! That’s why there aren’t enough blacks in the stands….

    And please, Mike Seate, if you are at a Steelers game and are that uninterested in what is going on on the field that you are taking a demographics survey, please give me your tickets. I can’t afford to buy them and have to mooch off others.

  26. Morrisquads
    December 18, 2007 5:15 pm

    I think we’ve found the culprit for the “Black Screen of Death” that you experienced on Sunday. Does Seate also work for Direct TV?

  27. Still A Fan
    December 18, 2007 5:20 pm

    OMG is this cracker hater off base! i go to one home game a year, every year. his comment about the country music just goes to show everyone who attends the games how many he goes to. i would love it…LOVE IT….if PittGirl could inquire % obtain the playlist from every game at Heinz this year. I would bet Mr Sour Puss my house that there is both more rock and hip-hop than country. i have to be honest – i cant think of a country song that they played even a PIECE of at the MNF game against the ravens that i attended. somebody back me up here. maybe he went to the game where the Poverty neck Hillbillies played halftime or something?

    Scotty brings up a superb point. i think 90-95% of the seats are season tickets. i bet 75% of the 92% are holdovers from the 70’s, mostly white. here’s another point – there are zero….ZERO seats to be had at face value the day after they go on sale. i’m embarrassed to put into print what i pay for my seats every year. unless you can afford to win an auction, you’re not going, white, black, brown or yellow….or purple.

    i have a TON of white friends who are not willing to go sit in the cold in December and they go watch the game with friends. they can afford it but dont go by choice.

    what % is the black population of the pittsburgh area? and not just the city statistics. take pittsburgh and every freaking community within 90 miles which is driving distance to a game. i grew up less than 40 miles from pittsburgh and graduated with 560 kids….5 of which were african american. so, take that into consideration as well. do you think the crowd should be 50-50? if you do, you are insane. if you take the true percentage of the ENTIRE region, how far off can it be? what if the entire region for 60-90 miles is 9% african american and the steeler home game average is 5%. he’s trying to paint it like the crowd should be something that it really shouldn’t be. he should take a stats class or two.

    still a fan <—- ex math major

  28. GG
    December 18, 2007 5:21 pm

    I’ve been to quite a few Steelers games over the past few years. I have never once heard a country song played at the Stadium.
    I was at the game on Sunday…they played Christmas music before most of the players took the field to warm up and when they did take the field they played hip-hop. Either way it doesn’t matter to me. They could play pop, country, hip-hop or oldies, I’m not there to listen to music I’m there to watch the Steelers!

    And maybe I’m too oblivious to notice or I just don’t care…But I don’t even know what race the person sitting next to me was.

    If you love the Steelers you love the Steelers, it doesn’t matter what race you are or if you are able to attend the games.

  29. mis
    December 18, 2007 5:33 pm

    Ok, first of all – country music rocks.

    Dont understand why he is picking on the Steelers.
    Seems to me that if you watch any NFL game the crowd is mostly white. I could be wrong though and I am sorry if I am.
    Most people cannot afford the tickets – black or white.
    I do know that season tickets get passed down from generation to generation. It’s a burgh thing!

  30. sdk
    December 18, 2007 6:07 pm

    1) i agree with the gist of everything that PittGirl and friends have said.

    2) i just want to point out that while i’m watching games at home (i can’t afford tickets), i ALWAYS hear them playing “A Chilling Championship” by hip-hop artists Da Riffs.

    i’m not sayin, i’m just sayin.

  31. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    December 18, 2007 6:12 pm

    I’ve always been seated in areas where there was usually a diverse mix of Steelers’ fans, young, old, black, white, male, female, etc… I have attended several away games over the past few years (but never again since they seem to lose those games) and again, the Steelers’ fans I’m with are pretty diverse (in Arizona we tailgated with a large group of Latino fans). Here’s another observation Mr. Seate neglected to mention – the vast majority of the scalpers hustling tickets in and around Heinz Field (and PNC Park for that matter) are African American. Why is that?

    Compared to most NFL ticket prices, the Steelers face value is in the middle. The problems come from the secondary market. That is where the prices get jacked up immensely. The ones who do purchase in that market (thereby supporting the supplyside economics of capitalism) make choices and prioritize about the allocation of their resources.

    I think (therefore this is my opinion) that Mr. Seate could have taken a less sensationalistic approach to his article, by turning this lack of blacks in the seats into a positive. Why not look at what influences someone into buying an overpriced, marked-up ticket? Does the percentage of seconday market fans (black or white) at the games decrease as the season goes on, leading possible credence to the theory that maybe blacks have more sense than sitting out in rainy, freezing cold weather? To whom are the brokers or scalpers marketing these tickets to? But wait, that really wouldn’t sell newspapers or direct hits to a paper’s website would it?

    Also, while I truly enjoy watching a game in person for the atmosphere that comes with being there, I believe that football really is a game that is made for television. Plus, the beer is cheaper and the line to the bathroom is way shorter.

  32. Trish
    December 18, 2007 6:44 pm

    $60 for Steelers tickets? On what planet?

  33. returningBurgher
    December 18, 2007 7:17 pm

    I didn’t read all the comments, but I think you’ve hit the nail RIGHT on the head. You can’t stereotype ANY race as not being able to afford Steelers Tickets, big screen TVs, or

    Typical mainstream media….

  34. Pingback: diamonds » Blog Archive » PittGirl goes “there.”

  35. Susan Helene Gottfried
    December 18, 2007 8:35 pm

    I can afford tickets, but I’d rather watch at home. Not because it’s warmer or, in the early part of the season, cooler. When I’ve been to games (and the last NFL game I went to was in 2003, when the 49ers played the Raiders in pre-season fun), I wind up watching… the people around me. The action on the sidelines. The overhead cameras moving around. Everything but the dudes on the field.

    When I watch at home, I watch football. And miss Myron.

    As for skin color, why should we care what color a Steelers fan is? Maybe we should stop looking at what sets us apart and start focusing on what brings us together.

    Even from home.

  36. Bram R
    December 18, 2007 8:55 pm

    Okay, I didn’t read any of the comments yet.
    Your criticism of Mike is far. I also think it would be reasonable for the Steelers to add a little Jay Z to the playlist to keep more people happy … including the white fans of Jay Z like myself.

  37. Bram R
    December 18, 2007 8:56 pm

    “Fair.” Your criticism of Mike is “fair.”

  38. Qlarue
    December 18, 2007 10:21 pm

    $60???? Where can I get a Steeler’s ticket for $60?

  39. Shibori
    December 18, 2007 10:31 pm

    The few remaining “steelers,” miners, and other industrial workers in the area likely can’t afford tickets either. The only opportunity I had to go to a Steeler game as growing up was when my coal-miner father’s crew was given tickets as a prize for having the best safety record in the mine that year. A trip into the city, tickets, parking, and overpriced food for a family of four add up quickly no matter what color you are.

  40. BURGH
    December 19, 2007 12:23 am

    I can’t believe he didn’t complain that there wasn’t watermelon or fried chicken instead of those damn cole slaw sandwiches (on WHITE bread).

  41. JD
    December 19, 2007 1:31 am

    Mr. Seate’s initial argument about the lack of black fans at Steeler games seems odd because there is no objective measure of this. Mr. Seate just seems to credit andectodal evidence (based in his attendance at a recent game and what other black readers have written to him about). Clearly, going to one game and hearing from a self-selecting group of people is not the best data set.

    But, it is possible that his observations are true — namely that there are a dearth of black fans in the stands. Many of the comments assume that Mr. Seate then blames racism for this gap.

    But the last three paragraphs of the column (which I have listed below this comment), actually present some data on the economic divide between blacks and whites in Allegheny County. Mr. Seate suggests that the lack of black faces in the stands is linked to the income disparity between blacks and whites in the county AND the high prices of tickets /high price of personal seat licenses.

    The fact that many fans of all races cannot obtain personal seat licenses because of cost, or cannot afford to spend $60 per ticket misses the point. Mr. Seate is suggesting that the racial disparity (that he observed) in the stands is closely linked to the economic disparity that is reported across the county. There are other sub-groups across the county that are also suffering from significant economic disparities; and no doubt those economic gaps would help explain why fewer people from affected sub-groups attend expensive events like Steeler games.

    But, Mr. Seate wasn’t interested in writing about how very few miners, or home health care workers, or teachers attend Steeler games. He was simply interested in drawing attention to a gap that he found to be especially significant because a majority of players in the NFL and on the Steelers are non-white.

    What does this mean? Well, it means that: 1) according to a recent study the per capita income of blacks in Allegheny County is 54% of the per capita income of whites in Allegheny County; 2) that the gap in income may help explain why the stands at Heinz field are less diverse than people might expect; and 3) such an attendance gap is sad because Steeler games are a widely valued social activity and right now it seems that a lot of people are on the outside looking in.

    Expensive game tickets and personal seat licenses sold to season ticketholders at Heinz Field are open to anyone. But with the per capita income for blacks in Allegheny County amounting to only 54 percent of the income earned by whites, according to a University of Pittsburgh economic benchmarks report, it’s easy to understand why the Steelers team colors may be black and gold, but its audience is monochromatic.

    I couldn’t get anyone from the Steelers organization to talk about this, but I suspect the problem has something to do with money. The personal seat licenses necessary to own season tickets cost between $250 and $2,700, but they exchange hands so many times that when owners decide to resell they cost much more. And the $60 or so it costs to land a ticket might not seem like a lot of money, but it’s a lot more than most black families I know can afford.

    So just because we’re not visible in the stands doesn’t mean black Pittsburghers don’t enjoy the Steelers. It just means many of us can’t afford to enjoy them in person.

  42. JP
    December 19, 2007 8:16 am

    I am so there with Mike on country music. Last game I went to they had some hoopie group play at half time. Truly embarrassing. In reality most of the music they play at games is pretty bad. Bring back Jimmy Pol is what I say! Not sure why everybody is getting all up in his grill. All his column did was to point out another symptom of absence of middle class black people. Sure that holds true for most, if not all cities in the US, but Pittsburgh is really crapping out in this regard. This city without doubt is the most economically segregated place I have ever lived, much worse than Philly or DC. And saying “well there are a lot of poor white people too” is like telling somebody with cancer “well I know a guy who has Alzheimer’s so put a sock in it.”

  43. Kathy
    December 19, 2007 8:25 am

    Something to think about – how often do you see African Americans wearing $75 jerseys that are every bit as expensive as a ticket to the game?

    While I agree that there is disparity between the income levels of blank and white, I wonder if some of the black attendance at Steeler games is by choice. Most of my black friends and I agree that we would love to attend Steelers games – before November! Boy do I enjoy a good football game from my couch in my warm home.

  44. the violet
    December 19, 2007 8:53 am

    Holy crap…people have come out of the wood work!

    I freakin’ HATE country music and I really wish they’d stop with it at the field already.

  45. NY Luvs Pitts
    December 19, 2007 9:01 am

    Hey PG, I’m just catching up on the comments b/4 “the man” (my boss) comes in and I just noticed something… Am I your only black friend on the blog? Holla back at a sistah.

  46. M. Silenus
    December 19, 2007 9:15 am

    Opinion columnists are still supposed to support their opinions through reporting. Seate’s reporting consisted of:

    1. Some fans wrote him.

    2. He went to a game (did he get to call it a work expense?).

    3. He quoted an economic study (without even giving the date of the study).

    Nice work if you can get it.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the demographics of Heinz Field for a Steelers game are about the same as most other professional sports venues in the country, which is why this isn’t a story. I think Seate was trying to provoke us to think about broader economic and social disparities, but without any substance to support the provocation it actually makes his ideas easy to dismiss (though it certainly doesn’t make him a racist, just a crappy columnist). My list of priorities to address racism:

    1. economic/educational disparities
    2. disproportionate law enforcement against minorities…

    …1,043. music over the pa system at Heinz Field

  47. TrolleyRider
    December 19, 2007 9:47 am

    After thinking about this some more…

    IF I was black, which I’m not, I’d be pretty offended by Mike Seate. Apparently he assumes because the color of your skin is black you are poor and unable to afford to spend $75-100 per year on a Steelers ticket. And he also assumes that you will never be able to afford the tickets in your life unless some government agency or public uprising causes the Steelers to take pity on you and give you tickets for free or at a greatly reduced cost. Is that not the definition of racism?

  48. bucdaddy
    December 19, 2007 11:11 am

    Just wait until most of you can’t afford Penguins tickets either, in that Taj Mahal they’re building.

    I have no bone to pick with Mr. Seate one way or the other. I look around the stands at Pirates games sometimes (I have little interest in the Steelers) and see, like, 99% white faces and wonder about that.

    I’m male (daddy, get it?), white and I like SOME country music, harder country, y’allternative — see, most of y’all want to lump it all together as one uniform thing, but there’s diversity in country, as in anything else. Check this out:


  49. GiveMeABreak
    December 19, 2007 11:15 am

    Perhaps if the black guys selling tickets outside the stadium would just keep their tickets…

  50. PittinDC
    December 19, 2007 11:39 am

    This is the same everywhere. Prince Georges County, MD (where the Redskins play) is a county made up most of African Americans, and it is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation. I believe they refer to it as the wealthiest African American county in the nation. (I could be wrong about that title though.) Either way, watch a Redskins game, at a stadium where they fit 100,000 people, and you’ll notice that the stands are still mostly full of white people. I don’t know why, and I don’t pretend to know why. I just know that its true. So perhaps Mr. Seate should have asked a broader population of African Americans why they are, or are not, attending Steelers games. A few emails is not representative of a population.