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Todd Portune: Bengals and NFL Should Do More About Fan Behavior

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It's no secret (well, it is around here actually) that I tend to obsess about politics. I find that while politics do affect our daily lives, it's nothing more than a game played by anti-heroes. Well, that's not the word. In fact, heroes probably shouldn't apply here. Maybe the privileged. Either way, I'm not bringing it up now nor will I break my self-imposed political moratorium.

The Bengals recently announced that they will be reserving a family-friendly area for fans who want to bring children. The area won't allow alcohol and there will be additional security to keep the peace. I've been a proponent of this idea; you might opine differently, but an NFL game really isn't a place for young children. Not that Paul Brown Stadium is some scene from Escape From New York or anything. But children should be at these games, if for anything, to groom the newest generation of Bengals fans. It's not like the Bengals organization reach out to children (outside the great community work by the players) in other ways, say like a "Bengals caravan" or anything.

However, the Bengals initiative to allow families to enjoy Bengals games in relative bubblely peace is being used by a certain politician to score awesome political points. Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune wrote a letter to Jeff Berding (Bengals Director of Sales) which reads:

Dear Jeff:

As one of the representatives of the owner of Paul Brown Stadium, Hamilton County, which sits as the Cincinnati Bengals’ Landlord with respect to use of the stadium, I write in reaction to today’s article about the establishment of a family friendly zone at PBS. In a story that turns “the three Rs” on its head, we now have teams and the league needing to take action to limit raunchiness, rowdiness and rancorous behavior inside of NFL City stadia.

Ignoring the obvious – that the fact that you even have to consider this kind of action speaks volumes about the new lows to which a large number of “fans” have gone – setting aside only 300 seats in one of the worst view sections does not, in my opinion, reflect an effective commitment to curb bad behavior. On the contrary, it almost sends the reverse impression.

The whole stadium should be fan friendly. If you’re going to allow jerks, give them the 300 peanut gallery seats. Adopt a policy that any fan exhibiting the kind of behavior that is unacceptable immediately forfeits their seat to a fan sitting in the worst seat in the stadium and authorize your ushers to escort them promptly to that location, in exchange for the fan in the worst seat now getting the better view. Keep the rest for the fans, and their children, that we can all be proud of. 

Todd Portune

Typically, politicians that react to news like this, appearing as a higher moral authority, tends to ring hollow with me. While Commissioner Portune's point that the Bengals aren't doing enough, basically pointing out that Paul Brown Stadium is indeed Escape From New York, I think the overall theme is applicable.

So your question of the day. What should the NFL do if anything regarding fan behavior? Did the Bengals do the right thing, or should they take a more proactive approach? Or is everyone making mountains out of stubby moles and, well, just give me a damn beer you idiot.