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The NFL Wants Fighting Football Fans To Take Online Behavior Courses

There's already been legislation in California to give fist-fighting fans a lifetime ban from stadiums that eject them, and the NFL's getting proactive, too. As the New York Post reports today:

Unruly fans booted from stadiums this year will be required to pass a code-of-conduct exam — or they won’t be allowed back in for another game. ... Fans who get the boot must write [Meadowleads security chief Daniel] DeLorenzi a letter of apology and take the four-hour, $75 online course, available at fanconductclass.com. To pass, they have to get at least 70 percent of the questions correct.

One of the best parts about football games are the bathrooms. Maybe I'm biased because I've spent most of my life going to Redskins games, and the NFC East has some of the most aggressive fans in football, but yeah. In my experience, nothing will destroy your faith in humanity faster than the crowd of frustrated drunks in an NFL stadium's bathroom at halftime. The entertainment is off the charts here (particularly for divisional games like Eagles-Redskins); that said, I'm sure it's also pretty horrifying for anyone who brings their son.

Anyway, with the bathroom as a microcosm ... The number of fights and ejections at NFL stadiums is surprising, but only because it's not much, much higher. Will a $75 online course change any of that?

Of course not. Lifetime bans make more sense, but anytime day-long drinking comes before bloodsport where everyone's paid way too much for tickets, beers, and jerseys, and tensions are running high because of the goddamn [insert disappointing home team here], there will always be fistfights, beer-throwing, and grown men saying horrible things to one another. Lines will be crossed. The only proactive, potentially serious solution would be limiting tailgates or in-stadium beer sales, both of which would cause more NFL fans to watch from home in HD, for free (a trend the NFL's already busy fighting).

Anyway, "unruly" crowds have always been part of the charm for me. Like football. It's completely ridiculous and unhealthy and borderline barbaric, but that's exactly what makes the NFL such an addictive escape from otherwise boring Sundays.

So, if the NFL's really serious about this online course making a difference in rowdy fans crossing lines ... Good luck with that. And if they're really doing it, please please please release the "letters of apology" from ejected football fans, because we'd all love to read a contrite Jets fan explain why he threw a beer all over a Patriots fan at a Monday Night game.