HairOnFire Posted December 2, 2010 Report Share Posted December 2, 2010 (edited) T-shirt gets Bengals fan in troubleDaugherty: Bengals and team security need to remember fans countBy Paul Daugherty • November 30, 2010For three years, a lifelong Bengals fan who wants to be known only as Chris has sat in Section 122 at Paul Brown Stadium, just above the tunnel used by the visiting team, occasionally showing his frustration with the Bengals by waving a T-shirt.Black tee, white letters, printed by a guy who sits in the row in front of him:FIRE BOB BRATKOWSKIIs this wrong?The sentiment is not unique among Bengals fans. Bratkowski’s the offensive coordinator. The offense hasn’t been great. To many, the shirt states the obvious.Think of it as the football equivalent of Save The Planet.Chris and his father Tom have displayed their shirts several times in the last three years. “A way we get rid of our frustration,’’ Tom explains. Until two Sundays ago, it was OK. The offense would go three-plays-and-out by running Ced Benson off tackle right and left and Carson Palmer misfiring on 3rd-and-5. Chris and Tom would mark the occasion by displaying their shirts.Acceptable behavior. Predictable, even. Like the team’s play calling.Until two Sundays ago.That’s when three people employed by Tenable, the Bengals security outfit, decided that Chris and his tee shirt had to go. According to Chris, Tom and four witnesses from Section 122 with whom I spoke, the exchange went like this:Security: “You’re outta here.”Chris: “Why?’’Security: “You’ve been warned three times.”Chris: “What law did I break?”Security: “I’m having you arrested.:”Tom: “Come on, Chris, let’s just go.”And so they left, with about five minutes left in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.Tenable’s Director of Security Operations Nick Whitecotton said Chris left of his own accord. Whitecotton said the message on the shirt wasn’t why Chris was asked to leave. “He was waving it in people’s faces,’’ Whitecotton said, “and he was warned the next time (he waved the tee) he would have to go.”Chris admits to being warned, and he admits to ignoring the warnings. He denies he was in any way abusive, disruptive or profane. He says he hadn’t been drinking. All assertions backed up by others in Section 122.“It was disturbing,’’ said Mike Geis, a 12-year Bengals season-ticketholder. “Chris wasn’t drinking, he wasn’t getting obnoxious. He just held the shirt up. He has been showing it for years.”Added Geis’ brother, Doug, “It wasn’t obscene, it wasn’t offensive.’’Whitecotton said Chris was not thrown out. Had he been, a written record of the incident would have been filed; none was. It’s semantics, say the fans in Section 122: “One way or the other, they were leaving,” said Doug Geis. “Either on their own or the security people were escorting them out.”It doesn’t matter much what you think of the sentiment on the shirt, or even which side of the He Said-He Said debate you’re on. Liberally interpreted, the Bengals’ Fan Code of Conduct does suggest that the team was within its rights to toss the guy.“Failing to comply with instructions from ushers, parking attendants, security or law enforcement … may result in being ejected from the stadium’’ it says, in part.”The bigger issue is, “Why?”Nobody has suggested Chris’ shirt was “obscene, indecent or offensive.” The Bengals offense on occasion merits that description. Not the shirt.Chris maintains he wasn’t “unruly or disruptive.’’ He wasn’t doing anything “illegal’’ or using “foul or abusive language or gestures.’’ Nor was he “standing, sitting or loitering in the aisles” or “standing on seats or chairs.”And so on. Any of the above indiscretions would be reason for the security folks to request his departure. He didn’t display any of them, not according to Chris himself, and four witnesses.“They wouldn’t explain anything,’’ Chris said. “We weren’t being verbally abusive or anything like that. We hadn’t even started chanting ‘Fire Brat!’ yet.”Is this a big deal?Technically, no. For what it says about a team and the way it is perceived to treat its fans? Definitely.The Bengals say they knew nothing about it. On Tuesday, team spokesman Jack Brennan said, “We understand the emotions of our fans. They’re allowed to wear anything they want on a T-shirt as long as its not obscene or disruptive.”Nick Whitecotton says his people don’t usually consult with team officials when considering a fan ejection. Whitecotton said Tenable acted “entirely unilaterally” in Chris’ case.OK, but they work for the Bengals.Here’s why it matters. Here’s a lesson the club has fumbled on numerous occasions over years of mostly losing:Fans count.Read more here: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20101130/COL03/311300097/1007/SPT02/Did-shirt-get-Bengals-fan-in-trouble- Edited December 3, 2010 by HoosierCat Let's all help B24 not get sued. See more here: http://forums.bengalszone.com/topic/21994-posting-of-full-articles/ Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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