The Washington Redskins haven’t just stripped head coach Jim Zorn of the ability to call the plays. They’ve also stripped their fans of the ability to bring signs to FedEx Field.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins have issued a blanket policy that no fans are permitted to enter the stadium with signs of any kind. This is a new policy — a few weeks ago the team banned only inappropriate and offensive signs — but a Redskins spokesman told the Post he wasn’t sure when or why the policy changed.
The official word from the team is that signs and banners can’t be permitted in the stadium because they could obstruct fans’ views, and the team even says spectators could be injured
by signs. But it’s hard not to think the Redskins made this policy because they
anticipate large numbers of fans bringing signs to the stadium that criticize the team and owner Daniel Snyder.
Whatever the reasons for the policy, the result — as Steinberg documents — is that a number of fans who didn’t know about the policy were forced to throw their signs away before they could enter Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Among the signs that security personnel wouldn’t allow in the stadium was one that said, “Hi to my husband in Afghanistan. Love you.” Steinberg fished that one — and several others — out of a trash can outside FedEx Field.
Obviously, not every sign is going to be as heart warming as a message to a soldier overseas — one fan was removed from the stadium for a decidedly more negative banner — but the bottom line for the Redskins is that they’ve decided they don’t want their fans expressing any opinion in a way that can easily be picked up by TV cameras. It’s probably safe to say the Redskins wouldn’t have a problem with signs in the stands if they didn’t have so many problems on the field.