I have to admit, there is a part of me that admires the elegance of this. I’m referring to the NFL Fan Code of Conduct, now endorsed by all 32 franchises. This year, if a fan is thrown out of an NFL stadium for any or all the usual reasons, there will come a letter advising ejected person to apologize to the team. Also, ejected person must register for an online Fan Code of Conduct Class if he ever wants to sis and boom and bah for the home boys again. Failing to complete said online course will mean ejected person is liable for arrest if found on stadium property.
ESPN and all English-speaking media outlets report that not only do you have to take the online course, you have to pay for it. San Diego and most NFL teams charge $75 for the class; Detroit and Atlanta want $50; New England demands $100.
Some outfits go further. Authorities at MetLife Stadium (home of the New York Giants and Jets) have added a second must-do online course to their fan-discipline palette. This course deals with excessive profanity. Profanity Class goes two hours and costs $50.
Here’s the beauty part. Who’s going to object? Who’s going to stand up for the rights of foul-mouthed drunks?
Ray DiNunzio, director of strategic security for the NFL — which, by the way, is one of the all-time puffy job titles — told ESPN that 7000 fans were ejected from NFL stadia last year. Depending on how you do the math, Oakland was responsible for 2400 of 7000 ejectees. DiNunzio said the Raiders have a zero-tolerance policy for smoking, which could account for 300 ejections per game, and that, dear Reader, adds up to 2400 ejections per regular season. This leaves the 31 other NFL teams responsible for 4600 ejections; or, 148 ejections per team per regular season.
It’s a national crisis.
I can see ejecting loud drunks. I can see ejecting quiet drunks. I can see ejecting foul-mouthed people. I can see ejecting people for wearing T-shirts that have “Canada” printed on the front. Banish them all or, maybe, give them one year’s banishment for the first offense, lifetime for the second. But, it is one thing to withhold services from jerks and Canadians and another to make the little tykes write on a detention-hall blackboard “I am sorry, oh, San Diego Chargers” 1000 times, then ordain that the filthy money sinks take a four-hour online course followed by a written test that requires at least 70 percent accuracy to pass. Granted, the test is written down to the “Is-it-okay-to-shoot-my-grandmother?” grade level, but that’s not the point.
If you want to get all shrinky about it, why is anybody at an NFL game in the first place? Speaking on behalf of the American Therapists Association, let me suggest that all NFL ticket-holders see a therapist. You have an issue with violence and another one with watching men grab, clutch, and maim each other. An NFL-approved list of local violence/voyeur–friendly therapists can be found in a rack outside stadium restrooms. In order to use the restroom you must have one on your person.
Perhaps I’m being harsh on the NFL, a lovable monopoly that has increased ticket prices in eight out of the past five years. Let’s be fair and take a closer look. The NFL has partnered with Dr. Ari Novick, who, according to SelfGrowth.com, “...is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Anger Management Professional and trainer and president of AJ Novick Group, Inc. His company is one of the leading anger management providers in the nation.”
Well, I hurried over to the AJ Norvick Group, Inc., website and clicked the Online Anger Classes “Learn More” button. Right away I am given the opportunity to register for an AJ Norvick Group, Inc. anger class.
Choices. Choices. I can take the 8-hour anger class for $195 or select the 12- or 16-hour anger class, or go big and sign on to the 26-hour anger class for the incredibly cheap price of $495. When I’m done, I’ll be awarded a Certificate of Completion! Plus, they have a terrific affiliate program. You refer a student, he completes the course, bingo, you collect $95 and the customer gets a $5 rebate. Everybody wins, and you don’t need to be thrown out of an NFL stadium to enroll.
This is but one star in the AJ Norvick anger-management constellation. For those who find their way into a Fan Conduct Class, presented by the AJ Novick Group, Inc., by way of an NFL ejection, be easy; groveling doesn’t break any bones.