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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Protest Planned After Tech Bros Kick Mission Youth Off Soccer Field

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM

click to enlarge DropBox and Airbnb employees eject Mission youth in now-ubiquitous video.
  • DropBox and Airbnb employees eject Mission youth in now-ubiquitous video.
"It's about to go down," a cameraman murmurs excitedly, panning along the Mission Playground on a recent Sunday, when a group of Dropbox and Airbnb employees tried to expel some neighborhood kids so they could play their corporate soccer game.

The tech bros said they'd rented the field from San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department; the kids said that field has always been up for grabs. Their spat, captured on YouTube and posted on Uptown Almanac, is priceless:

Now the Almanac reports that San Francisco Latino Democratic Club has planned a protest on the steps of City Hall this Thursday, demanding that Rec & Parks stop privatizing the local soccer fields.

A Rec & Parks spokeswoman tells SF Weekly that Mission Playground is open both for drop-in and permitted use, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7-9 p.m., which are reserved for paid adult games.

SF Weekly can confirm independently that popular turf fields such as Raymond Kimbell Playground, in the Fillmore, and Franklin Square Park, in the Mission, do require soccer players to book in advance, or risk getting ejected. But pocket parks like Mission Playground are typically available about 96 percent of the time, the spokeswoman says.

Edwin Lindo, vice president of political affairs at the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, says that even two hour paid play slot on Tuesday and Thursday is taking valuable pickup time away from local youth. "Many of these kids feel safer on the field," he points out.

The Democratic Club and other Latino organizations have viewed local soccer fields as a battlefront for several months now, and say this particular confrontation wasn't unique.  Bloggers, not surprisingly, are widely characterizing the incident as a gentrification parable, and to that end, and the video speaks for itself.

The best part, of course, is when a 20 year-old intervenes on the kids' behalf.

"How long have you been in the neighborhood, bro?" he demands.

"Over a year," one of the tech bros responds.

"Oh, over a year," the 20 year-old jeers, to which an off-camera dude in a DropBox T-shirt retorts, "Who gives a shit about the neighborhood?"

Dropbox has since issued an apology, and others have individually tweeted their mea culpas.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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