NFL imposes mandatory four-hour online course for fans ejected from stadiums
After the crack-down on the players last year and the NFLPA this offseason, the NFL will be turning its iron hand towards the NFL fans in an attempt to throw out the few bad fish who have been polluting the pond.
The NFL always believes that a good stadium game experience and honorable fan conduct go hand-in-hand. How many times have you felt the taste of ash in your mouth when your hard earned cash goes to waste buying a ticket next to a rival fan who keeps chunking beer at you and using foul language inadmissible in a family place.
In 2008 the league implemented the NFL Fan Code of Conduct to control rowdy fan behavior by ejecting them from the stadium and banning privileges of booking tickets for future games. The new program is an extension of that policy.
The online course was designed with the collaborated efforts of psychotherapist Dr. Ari Novick and MetLife Stadium security director Daniel DeLorenzi. The program is designed to curb rowdy fan behavior which may arise from alcohol abuse, vulgar behavior and anger management issues. Dr. Ari Novick speculated that often fans appear to enter another world where they think all crude behavior is acceptable in the name of sports and as long as they don a jersey of their favorite player or team.
“This program was designed to say to people, 'We want you to have fun when you come to a game, but you have to understand that your actions can affect people and there are rules to abide by,'" stated Dr. Ari Novick.
Dr. Ari Novick added that to deal with the issue of repeat offenders, ejected NFL fans will be personally sent letters of encouragement towards apologizing to the host team before they can move forth with the online course. On failing to meet the terms of the online test the ejected fan can be permanently barred from the stadium and can be charged and arrested for trespassing if found on stadium property.
While many argue the new policy has flaws considering the teams will not be able to keep track of the ejected fans, the NFL director of security Ray DiNunzio stated that each team will mange by their own security systems. Ray DiNunzio even mentioned that facial recognition technology may serve as an option in the situation.
Although in the past several team have made it mandatory upon barred NFL fans to take the online course before being permitted into the stadium, this is the first time all 32 NFL teams will be adopting the policy, in an effort to encourage the best practices from around the league.
Last season, over 7,000 NFL fans were ejected from stadiums. But considering barred individuals will have to pay their way back to the stadium, a few rowdy fans may hold-up any intentions of creating trouble. The payment per online course varies team from team. The Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions are charging up to a low $50 dollars, while New England Patriots will strip the fans of a league-high $100 online course fee.
So be wary this season when you step on those stands to root for your team.