The NFL is enhancing personal searches from the ground up.
On September 11, during the Dallas Cowboys-New York Jets game, a Cowboys fan was arrested after using a stun gun on opposing fans in his section. The man, Leroy McKelvey, got in an altercation with opposing fans, which turned into a fight, which he promptly ended by pulling out a stun gun and tasing three of them. McKelvey now faces three aggravated assault charges and weapons charges.
In a video of the incident, a fan asked how McKelvey got the stun gun into the stadium in the first place – which means he would have slipped it by heightened security present for the tenth anniversary of 9-11. After the incident, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello suggested there would be some changes in security at NFL stadiums.
Now, a new, “enhanced” pat-down rule has been added to the books in an effort to increase fan safety, USA Today reported on Friday. Previously pat-downs have only been from the waist up in search of weapons, alcohol, and other prohibited items. Now the NFL is asking all teams to search fans from the ankles up. NFL officials say the new policy will keep fans safer and hope fans will be patient because of the additional time that will be required for the searches.
Sports fans have already reacted with outrage across the internet – similar to the reaction when NFL pat-downs were first implemented after 9-11. In the past, fans have sued and threatened to boycott the NFL. Forty-three percent of respondents of a USA Today poll on Friday said they feel the new “enhanced” pat-downs are an invasion of privacy.
After 9-11, several teams began to implement pat-downs as part of their security measures, but it wasn’t until 2005 that they were a required security policy by the NFL.
“So as long as there are awful terrorists and guys like [McKelvey], we the people must endure,” an NFL staff writer posted on its Web site Thursday.
photo by slgckgc/flickr