Too-Rowdy NFL Fans Must Take Online Course

If they don't, they might not get back into stadium

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 18, 2012 6:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – NFL fans who get booted from a stadium for bad behavior might find it tougher to get back in. Starting this year, the league is requiring all ejected fans to take a four-hour online course that covers alcohol abuse, anger management, and crude behavior before being allowed to attend games again, reports ESPN. "This program was designed to say to people, 'We want you to have fun when you come to a game, but you have to understand that your actions can affect people and there are rules to abide by,'" says the psychotherapist who helped design the course.

Not only do fans have to take the class, they will be required to pay for it—at least $50, but some teams are charging as much as $100. The NFL is also encouraging booted fans to apologize to the team. The league isn't saying how it intends on keeping track of unruly fans, but facial-recognition software could someday be one element. About 7,000 fans were ejected from NFL games last season, although the reasons varied widely—the Oakland Raiders alone ejected as many as 300 people per game for smoking.

In this photo from Aug. 20, 2011, fans fight in the stands during a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders in San Francisco.
In this photo from Aug. 20, 2011, fans fight in the stands during a preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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