CINCINNATI -- Bengals fans annoyed by bad behavior in the
stands can now report it by cell phone.
The hot line number should be easy to remember -- (513) 381-JERK.
Fans using too much foul language will first get a warning from
stadium security. Those who continue could be ejected and have
their season tickets and personal seat licenses revoked. More
serious offenses could lead to arrest.
The team doesn't want to become the "curse police," but
expects fans to behave themselves, said Bob Bedinghaus, the
Bengals' director of development for Paul Brown Stadium.
"You need to understand you're coming to an NFL football
game," Bedinghaus said. "On the other hand, we want to make sure
that we're paying attention to those folks who are going over the
When callers report problems such as threats, fights or
drunkenness, security officials will use the stadium's video
cameras to focus on the offenders and then respond.
Fans have complained to team officials that beer is increasing
the problem with misbehavior in the stands.
"They were complaints [of] excessive drunkenness. People that
were kind of falling down drunk," Bedinghaus said. "And there
were some fights last year. Whenever you put 65,000 people
together, you're always going to have some fights. But there were a
few more than normal."
Jeanie Dittrich of West Chester, a season ticket holder, said
she was offended by drunken fans when she took her 12-year-old son,
Austin, to a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A woman
kept spilling beer on her, and a man next to her son was swearing
and helped start a fight.
"We told him beforehand, 'You might see some drunk people, you
might hear some ... swearing.' But at the game, I thought, 'Oh, my
gosh, I'm going to mar my son for the rest of his life by having
him come to this game,'" she said.
Season ticket holders will be notified about the hot line this
week, as well as the consequences of bad behavior. The team will
show a video promoting the new service at home games.
Bedinghaus said the Bengals expect some prank calls.
"If you get 6,000 people calling this line -- 'Hey, [Steelers
quarterback] Ben Roethlisberger is a jerk' -- then it becomes less
effective," he said. "The thing to remember is we have caller ID
on this line."