Football fans heading to NFL games tomorrow and moving forward should set aside more time than usual to get to their seats as The National Football League said last week that patdown efforts would be increased at all stadiums for the rest of the season.
The announcement comes just days after a Cowboys fan was charged with attacking three Jets fans with a stun gun during an upperdeck altercation at MetLife Stadium on the evening of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. (Story here).
It’s not the sort of thing most fans want to go through before a football game, but the NFL wants the 16.6 million fans expected to attend live regular season games this season to go through ‘enhanced’ pat-downs.
NFL officials did not cite the stun gun incident when they detailed the new security measures, but all 32 clubs have been asked to search fans from the ankles to the knees, in addition the already required waist up, as they aim to improve stadium security.
Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said the change was not based on a specific threat, but is “part of an ongoing effort to provide a safe environment for fans attending the games.”
However,given the contradicting details of the stun-gun account last Sunday, I don’t think a “pat down” would have eliminated the fiasco in its entirety.
According to McKelvey, the man who pulled the stun-gun on Jets fans, he and his fiancée were subjected to racial epithets and other offensive comments merely because they were Cowboys in Jets territory, according to a statement released by his attorney.
Other accounts say the argument spurred from McKelvey refusing to stand during the national anthem and talking on his phone during the moment of silence for victims of September 11th.
Regardless of the disputed details, eliminating weapons is not enough. I think it makes much more sense to focus security on inside the stadium rather than outside. Of the NFL made a push to increase monitoring the crowd inside during the games, rather than delaying entrance to the game, then situations like this could be eliminated altogether.
Sporting events lend themselves to mob-like behavior, so increasing “pat-downs” won’t necessarily correlate to a decrease in sporting-event induced violence in my opinion.
But perhaps the NFL can hire the TSA for their “enhanced pat downs” since they do such a great job.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the NFL is going too far or is the extra security appropriate?