CINCINNATI OH - AUGUST 15: A Cincinnati Bengals fan cheers during the preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on August 15 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals won 33-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Lately there has been quite a bit of troubling news involving fans being ejected from Paul Brown Stadium by Tenable Protective Services, the security staff used for the games, for wearing or waiving shirts that have anti-Mike Brown or Brad Bratkowski messages on them.
First, there was the news that Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty broke about a man named Chris and his father being ejected from the Buffalo Bills game for waiving t-shirts that said "Fire Bratkowski" on them. Josh later wrote about Bratkowski's response to the fans getting ejected for waiving the t-shirts bearing his name.
Josh wrote about an email exchange between Chris and Lance McAlister that occurred after the story broke in the enquirer:
"The Bengals apologized (without completely saying Tenable was wrong because of the he said/he said nature of the story) The Bengals told me I could display the shirt as long as it was not obscene (and confirmed Fire Bratkowski was not obscene) and I did not threaten people or wave it in people's faces or appear unsafe.If someone had come to my section and verbally warned me not to display the shirt and told me why I would have gladly put the shirt away. Instead they sent a three person Blue Coat search party looking for the shirt. Once found they grabbed the shirt told me I had been warned three times and asked to leave (but later the guard returned the shirt remarkably)."
That's not the end of the story though.
A man who wishes to only be known as Dave came to CincyJungle with his story in which he was ejected from the Saints game for wearing a shirt that said "Mike Brown Sucks" and a bag on his head that said "Flush Mike Brown Down". Dave also claimed that he was physically accosted by a Tenable security officer who tried to rip the bag off of his head. Tenable could not be reached for comment but this morning Jack Brennan, the Bengals Public Relations Director, responded to me via email.
He said that Tenable has no record of the reported incident and thus they could offer no comment.
All I can add is to re-state that stadium policy allows fans to have any messages they choose on their clothing, as long as the messages are not obscene or in grossly poor taste. The message as described would not be in violation of the policy.
Brennan's statement may be the Bengals official policy on messages written on clothing and signs into the stadium. However, according to these two accounts of fans getting tossed for the messages written on their shirts, there may be some sort of disconnect between Tenable and the Bengals.
While I doubt that the Bengals front office is in any way responsible for removing fans from the stadiums, if these stories are true and un-exaggerated, they may want to keep a better eye on their security staff.