The ever-increasing price of a ticket to a major league sporting event buys a fan a lot of things, but the package doesn’t include a license for obnoxious behavior. Last week, the National Football League puts its fans on notice that bad behavior will be punished. Under its policy, teams can ban offending fans and strip season ticket holders of their right to obtain tickets in the future.
Television viewers sometimes see drunken fans throwing bottles or snowballs at players or referees, but it’s the less frequently broadcast troubles in the stands that this policy has targeted. Included as inappropriate behavior under the policy are foul or abusive language, obscene gestures and drunkenness.
“Here’s the standard,” Eric Grubman, executive vice president of the NFL, told USA Today. “Enjoy yourself, come root for your team., but don’t infringe of the enjoyment of another fan. If you want to come root for another team, that’s OK. But we don’t want somebody pouring beer over your head.”
Unruly fans are bad for business, not only for the NFL but for every spectator sport from pro basketball to high school football. And when youth are on the field, poor sportsmanship and inconsiderate actions in the stands become not only as a threat to public safety, but also serve as a bad example.
As a new season of football and all the other sports that follow during the school year are gearing up, fans would do well to reflect on the rules they are required to follow. You know that coaches are doing the same with their players.