After the club went to the airwaves on Jason Davis' Soccer Morning to talk about the one year ban of a D.C. United fan from the stadium yesterday - the documentation from said ban can be found in this DCist piece - Black & Red United got in touch with the team and with the District Ultras to go into further depth about the issue.
When asked why the District Ultras as a group were sanctioned, United responded that the member in question who used the smoke device (Matt Parsons) is a credentialed member of the organization, which allow for access to the field and other privileges. Since these credentials are only given to a few members of each supporter's group, typically leadership, the whole organization was sanctioned. The team also stressed that it is very unusual for them to issue any ban, but that there was evidence of the individual using the smoke device recorded by team employees.
The team did note that the smoke device was illegal under District law, and not federal law, and are not commenting further pending release of a complete statement. However, the list of prohibited fireworks from the Metropolitan Police Department that was being passed around yesterday is not correct; the citation of record, found in the DC Register, contains a crucial difference from that list: "chlorate compounds." Potassium chlorate is a primary ingredient in color smoke devices; for example, when they make the white smoke to show that a new Pope has been elected, they use potassium chlorate as part of the mix.
The team also clarified that the Fan Code of Conduct extends to all stadium property, including RFK Stadium itself as well as the parking lots and tunnels.
The final point that the team wanted to make is that they have an obligation to take care of all fans; they want to continue to cultivate fan culture, but that it cannot come at the expense of others.
We also reached Srdan Bastaic, a leader in the District Ultras, for their side of the story. Bastaic confirmed that the ban was for the smoke in the underpass from Lot 8 to the stadium, and that the brand of smoke they use, Enola Gaye, is used around the league. His first reaction was that he and Matt Parsons would "both give back our passes and just stay outside for rest of the year, but it seems a lot of other people, around league as well, got pissed off."
When asked about the reaction of the District Ultras membership towards the ban of Parsons and the one game sanction, Bastaic said "They are hell of a [lot] more pissed than I thought they'd be. But it's hardest on leadership since we already have huge turnover rates of people getting burnt out, and things like this never help." Finally, we asked if the Ultras were aware that the Fan Code of Conduct extended to the parking lots, Bastaic indicated that they had not heard that before.