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Is it even possible to enforce a lifetime stadium ban?

Sam Gardner @sam_gardner
May 8, 2017 at 2:46p ET

Last week, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones blasted the concept of stadium bans, referring to such suspensions as a “slap on the wrist” following the team’s May 1 game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

According to Jones, fans at the historic ballpark taunted him with racial epithets during the Orioles’ 5-2 win, with one throwing a bag of peanuts at Jones as he made his way to the dugout.

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told that 34 fans were removed from the game, including 20 who were tossed for alcohol-related reasons. It’s unclear how many of those ejected engaged in the reported abuse of Jones — or how many fans are kicked out of an average game — but the Boston Globe reported that one fan was banned for life by the stadium.

Regardless, Jones argued that neither penalty is harsh enough to end the behavior.

“It’s pathetic,” Jones said, according to USA Today. “It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check.

“That’s how you hurt somebody,” the five-time All-Star continued. “You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean?”

According to experts in the field, it doesn’t necessarily mean much — and while bans are usually effective, they aren’t a foolproof way to keep troublesome fans from returning, especially if they’re determined to get back in.

Different states, leagues and teams have varying policies, but typically speaking, a violator facing a stadium ban is forced to sign paperwork before leaving the building agreeing to their own prohibition. In addition, any future tickets purchased by that fan are voided, and should that person return while the ban is still in place, he or she would be subject to arrest for criminal trespass.

However, while the threat of incarceration is certainly a deterrent, enforcement can be challenging.

“(Looking out for) ejected fans is a priority,” said Dan Donovan, vice president of security and technology consulting for Guidepost Solutions. “But those guards’ biggest priority is that the screening process is being done correctly and that we don’t have prohibited items coming into the facility.”

To help catch banned spectators, ballparks, stadiums and arenas will often distribute images of banned fans to security staff. But while employees remain mindful of blacklisted fans attempting to attend a game undetected, those faces can be tough to spot among the thousands who flood the building’s gates.

“Security and guest services are there to make the event enjoyable,” sports security expert James DeMeo, founder of Unified Sports & Entertainment Security Consulting, said. “But they also obviously have that duty of care to make sure the fans are safe.

“On ingress, metal (detectors) and screening measures are really important in terms of staff having that situational awareness to look for potentially troubled or dangerous fans before they come into the venue,” DeMeo added. “But the key is for the staff to know the signs to look for with a disgruntled or agitated fan.”

At the University of Southern Mississippi, students and faculty at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security work specifically toward the goal of improving security at sporting events. Launched in 2006 on a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the Center researches the impact of spectator-related incidents nationwide and has provided training and certification to more than 5,000 security professionals and nearly 1,000 universities.

“We constantly look at people, processes and technologies to see if we can try to solve problems,” Lou Marciani, the Center’s director, told FOX Sports. “This incident in Boston will trigger new best practices, it will trigger new rules and regulations from the leagues, and it will drive technology to the lab here, so we can begin to, long-term, solve the problem.

“And that’s really what the center does,” Marciani added. “We’re on the back end of things to make things better down the road.”

Another approach that could take the pressure off hired personnel and help nab unwanted fans is the use of facial-recognition programs and other biometric software, but implementing that emerging technology is costly and is far from a cure-all.

“In order to do facial recognition, first of all I have to have a good, clear picture (of the subject),” Donovan said. “Then I load the picture into my system, I’ve got a database of known offenders, and certain cameras, when set up correctly, are fixed on a focus area, and you can run facial recognition off of that and flag those people.

“This isn’t Jack Bauer in ‘24’ though,” Donovan continued. “You’re not just pulling these faces off any old camera in the stadium. So it’s an investment for the stadium operator, the team, in order to add this capability for the number of doors, the possible entry points to their perimeter. And every building is different.”

With time, such systems will become more commonplace — ”I think it’s coming,” Donovan said, “and it’s going to come quickly” — but for now the onus still rests largely on the security and guest services representatives manning the building’s front line.

Fortunately for the teams and leagues that occupy these spaces, simply asking fans to leave and not come back is almost always enough to keep them away from good.

“Usually the trespass warning cures the situation,” said Ed Boyens, security manager for the City of Orlando venues division, which oversees operations at Amway Center and Camping World Stadium. “And it’s very rare that we do see somebody come back.”

Manchester bombing latest: Teenager among suspects in custody as Isil urges more attacks at start of Ramadan

Danny Boyle 26 May 2017

Counter-terror police investigating the Manchester Arena bombing have carried out fresh raids today, as security services brace for more attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan beginning tomorrow.

Islamic State has called on its followers to rise up in an “all-out war” on “infidels” in the West. Saturday marks the start of a 30-day period of fasting and reflection in the Islamic world, which has in recent years seen a large increase in terror attacks.

As detectives revealed the youngest man in custody over the Manchester attack is 18, early-hours searches were on Friday launched at a Manchester barbershop and a takeaway on Merseyside.

Officers who earlier raided terrorist Salman Abedi’s home discovered a working bomb factory with a huge stash of explosive chemicals and other components.

Possible detonator located in suspect’s left hand Manchester bomb 

Possible detonator of Manchester bomb in a picture released as part of US leaks

It comes amid fears the attacker might have built a second device that is now in the hands of fellow jihadists.

Security sources now believe he assembled the bomb himself after learning his trade in Libya. But the amount of material in his home has led to fears that he could have built more than one device and and distributed them to other British-based extremists.

A security source told the Telegraph: “The worry is there was enough to build two or three bombs and we can’t rule that out.”

Police today revealed that the eight men in custody “on suspicion of offences contrary to the Terrorism Act” in connection with Monday’s atrocity, which killed 22 people – including seven children – are aged between 18 and 38.

Meanwhile, with the General Election campaign resuming, Jeremy Corbyn’s suggestion that Britain’s involvement in military action abroad is linked to the Manchester attack has been condemned as “twisted reasoning” by the Security Minister.

British police have resumed “working closely” with US authorities on the probe after a tense showdown between the allies over leaked intelligence.

After Theresa May warned the transatlantic row risked hampering the “special relationship” between the UK and America, US Secretary of State is making his first official trip to Britain today.

With Britain on critical alert, stay with us for the latest updates today amid the huge operation to dismantle a suspected “network” linked to Abedi.

Stadium deaths: Are Major League Baseball facilities safe enough?

, USA TODAY Sports 7:26 a.m. ET May 26, 2017

At about 10:57 p.m. on May 16, a 42-year-old man named Rick Garrity was exiting Wrigley Field in Chicago when he apparently tried to climb a 36-inch rail on a ramp leading from the upper deck, according to Chicago Cubs and police officials.

He then fell over the rail, plunged a significant depth and died the next day from the accident, becoming the latest death from falling at America’s big stadiums.

“That is a very tragic event that sadly has been seen far too often over the last several years,” said Bob Gorman, co-author of the book Death at the Ballpark.

It’s still quite rare: Out of hundreds of millions of fans in Major League Baseball parks since 1969, there have been 25 deaths from falling in stadiums, including some involving inebriated victims and suicide, Gorman said.

In this case, the Cubs asserted the rail and its height did not contribute to the man’s death at Wrigley. But what if the rail had been 42 inches or higher, as safety experts say they should be? Would that have deterred his actions and the accident?


Major League Baseball in Dec. 2015 recommended its stadiums extend the netting that backs up the home plate area to the near end of the dugouts in an attempt to better project fans from foul balls or flying or broken bats, and a handful of teams have done so.

But the questions regarding rail height feed into a classic debate about safety regulations and the responsibility of individuals: Is it worth raising rails or adding other safety measures to sometimes save people from themselves, even if such incidents are rare?

A similar issue is playing out in court in Atlanta over the heights of rails in high seating areas:

Major League Baseball has “a responsibility to reasonably address the safety of their millions of loyal fans,” said a lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Greg Murrey, who died after falling from the upper deck at Turner Field in Atlanta in 2015. “Raising the height of rails to 42 inches and/or installing netting can be done for a small fraction of the billions of dollars in revenues generated each year by media, corporate sponsorships, and ticket sales.”

In that incident, a toxicology report later concluded Murrey was legally intoxicated when he died. The Atlanta Braves and Major League Baseball said the victim assumed the risk and was responsible for his own injuries. They also noted that the rail heights there — at 30 inches tall — exceeded minimum code standards for seated areas.

“Murrey proximately caused his own injuries and subsequent death,” MLB’s legal response states.

‘We’re honestly beside ourselves’

At Wrigley Field, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the rail in question had a height that was “grandfathered in” and “up to code” at the time it was built, though when that was is not clear. The current railing height standard is a minimum of 42 inches in places where there’s a fall of at least 30 inches, according to the International Building Code cited by the lawsuit against the Braves.

An exception for this standard at stadiums is in seated areas, such as the front rows of upper decks, where rails are allowed to be as low as 26 inches high to avoid obstructing views from those seats. That’s why the Braves and other parks can say they exceed the building code minimums for front-row seats if the rails in front of them are around 30 inches tall.

Yankees security guards reach for a fan who fell ontoYankees security guards reach for a fan who fell onto the net behind home plate in the third inning on May 26, 2000 at Yankee Stadium. (Photo: Bill Kostroun, Associated Press)

The incident at Wrigley was in the back of the stadium and not in a seated area — and it’s unknown whether a higher rail there would have deterred the incident. Details remain sketchy because of an apparent lack of witnesses. Garrity’s father, Richard, told USA TODAY Sports his son “wasn’t a climber” but still doesn’t know exactly what happened. Rick Garrity was married with two young children. There has been no official indication that alcohol was a factor.

“Hopefully someday we’re going to know what happened,” his father said. “We’re honestly beside ourselves here, and it’s still fresh.”

If the Cubs wanted to raise the barrier there to reduce risk, they could, though apparently nothing previously suggested they should have.

“Based on the statistical evidence, there’s no reason to increase railings given the incredibly small incidents of problems, and even this one (at Wrigley) doesn’t fit the pattern of the very few other problems,” said Steven Adelman, an attorney and expert on event safety.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys who are suing the Braves see it differently. They argue in court documents that raising the front-row rails to 42 inches would have prevented Murrey’s death.

They also cite actions taken by the Texas Rangers, who raised front-row railings at Globe Life Park in Arlington to at least 42 inches after another falling death in 2011. In that case, a fan named Shannon Stone fell over a 33-inch rail trying to catch a ball for his son. It cost the team $1.1 million to raise those rails, and the stadium has had no falling deaths since.

Police and fans look over the railing where fan ShannonPolice and fans look over the railing where fan Shannon Stone fell from the stands during the second inning of a game between the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics on July 7, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Stone died from his injuries. (Photo: Jeffery Washington, AP)

Jake Pauls, a building safety consultant and ergonomist, advocates for 42-inch rail heights as a “bare minimum” for safety. That generally would reach the stomach of someone who is 5-foot-9, the average height of an American male.

“In recent years, I have advocated a somewhat higher minimum, based on increasing stature and the age of the science behind the 42-inch criterion, which was in the mid-1970s,” he said.

The suit against the Braves says the Braves and MLB “chose to rely on a 1920s-era building code” that allows rails to be as low as 26 inches if the spectators are seated. It notes that this was designed mainly for theaters and symphony halls to set railings where they wouldn’t impede patrons’ views.

‘You can bubble-wrap everyone’

Other sports have had similar rare fall issues involving front-row railings, including at a college football game at the Georgia Dome in 2012, when a fan died after falling over a 33-inch railing.  Authorities then said alcohol was a factor. But just by virtue of MLB’s number of games — 81 regular-season home games per team — the league is prone to more accidents.

Despite some falls, the suit against the Braves said “no other baseball team indicated it would follow the Rangers’ lead and raise all railings in front of seating sections to 42 inches.”

They don’t have to, because 26 inches is the minimum requirement in those areas, according to the building code. The bigger issue is whether it’s worthwhile to make them higher.

It’s not uncommon for stadiums have front-row railings lower than 42 inches, although only a few baseball teams responded to a survey from USA TODAY Sports about rail heights, including three that only would say their stadium meets or exceeds code requirements. They declined to answer questions about whether they were lower than 42 inches. Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia has ramp rail heights of 48 inches. Rails in seating areas there are 32 inches and angled inward.

Brewers left fielder Khris Davis (18) watches medicalBrewers left fielder Khris Davis (18) watches medical personnel transport a fan after he fell from a seating area into the bullpen in the eighth inning during a June 2014 game against the Twins at Miller Park. (Photo: Benny Sieu, USA TODAY Sports)

In Atlanta, Turner Field had three falling deaths since it opened in 1997, one of which was ruled a suicide. The Braves now have a new stadium, SunTrust Park, which opened this year. But the team and builder of the stadium didn’t return messages this week asking about the rail heights at the new facility.

Current litigation might complicate their ability to talk about it.

As part of the lawsuit, Braves executive John Schuerholz was asked in a deposition last November if he “wouldn’t want to consider what happened at other major league parks in planning SunTrust Park.”

“Yeah, I don’t know. That’s not how I think,” Schuerholz replied, according to the transcript.

Schuerholz also noted then that Turner Field’s 30-inch rail heights exceeded the minimum code and that Murrey’s death was a rare incident. Attorneys for the Murrey family, Michael Caplan and Michael Neff, said they could not discuss the case publicly.

No trial date yet has been set.

“One can always increase safety measures,” said Adelman, the event safety expert based in Arizona. “You always can. It’s literally true. Ultimately, you can bubble-wrap everyone and make them sit in their living rooms not doing anything. That’s the safest thing of all.”

Man dies after falling at Wrigley Field

By The Associated Press CHICAGO — May 18, 2017

A man who struck his head after tumbling over a railing at Chicago’s Wrigley Field has died.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office says 42-year-old Richard E. Garrity of Wheaton was pronounced dead Wednesday at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Authorities say Garrity fell over a railing after Tuesday night’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. Police say he suffered head trauma from the fall.

The medical examiner has scheduled an autopsy for Thursday to determine the cause of death.

New Campus Gun Laws Have Colleges Shopping for Metal Detectors.

New Campus Gun Laws Have Colleges Shopping for Metal Detectors. For Big Schools, the Bills Are Eye-Popping.

Plans call for ponying up $1 million — and that’s just for the football stadium.

by Maura Ewing

·April 25, 2017

Sports stadiums and hospitals will be among the last remaining gun-free areas at public colleges and universities in Kansas and Arkansas when new laws governing firearms on campus go into effect in those states. But the sanctuaries are going to come with hefty price tags.

The campus-carry laws in Kansas and Arkansas go further than those in other states by requiring schools that want to continue to prohibit firearms in certain facilities to install security measures, including metal detectors and barricades.

Officials at three Kansas universities have estimated the cost of updating their primary athletic venues at more than $2 million. That estimate does not include the cost of staffing the new security checkpoints.

Public colleges in Arkansas have yet to release cost projections for the security apparatuses they will be required to buy in order to keep their stadiums and arenas gun-free. But an independent security consultant contacted by The Trace put the price tag of outfitting the University of Arkansas’s flagship stadium with metal detectors at nearly $500,000.

School officials in the affected states say the upshot of the policies are clear: If universities want to prohibit guns in sensitive spaces, they’re going to have to find a way to absorb significant new costs.

“That is no joke,” said Breeze Richardson, spokesperson for the Kansas Board of Regents, which oversees 32 colleges and universities in a state that has curtailed public funding for higher education. “The university system has been cut by $75 million over past three years.”

Starting July 1, anyone over 21 will be allowed to carry a firearm onto university grounds in Kansas. It is set to become the first state where both campus carry and so-called permitless carry are legal. Gun owners will be able to bring guns onto campus even if they have not obtained a concealed-carry license, a process that entails eight hours of training.

Kansas’s campus-carry law says that public colleges that want to prohibit firearms in designated buildings after the law goes into effect must install “adequate security measures to ensure that no weapons are permitted to be carried into such building.” The law spells out “adequate” to include both metal sensors and the personnel to staff them.

Institutions under the umbrella of the Kansas Board of Regents maintain more than 800 buildings.

The largest of those buildings are sports arenas, many of which also serve alcohol. The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University are home to prominent Division 1 athletic programs whose football teams play in stadiums that hold as many as 50,000 spectators each. Accordingly, university leaders have made athletic facilities their first priority as they scramble to keep guns out of the bleachers while ensuring that their schools are also in compliance with the pending law.

On April 19, the Kansas Board of Regents accepted proposals from those three universities for installing security measures at their stadiums.

Wichita State was granted approval for up to 20 mobile metal detectors at an estimated cost  of $72,000.

Brad Pittman, the school’s associate athletic director, sees the expense as less a product of the new law than an emblem of the times.

“It’s not uncommon to go to a large sporting event and go through a metal detector,” he said. “It will have a financial impact as we start up, but we made the decision that this was the right thing to do.”

Kansas State University in Manhattan got the go-ahead for 70 mobile detectors for its two sports stadiums, as well as two other event halls and the campus art museum. After the meeting, an official from the school’s athletic department estimated the cost at $1 million.

The University of Kansas’s plan calls for purchasing the necessary equipment to secure events with anticipated attendance of 5,000 or more. Jim Marchiony, the university’s associate athletic director, said his department also anticipates costs running into the seven figures.

“We think it is very important,” Marchiony said of upgrading security. “Our first priority at sporting events needs to be the safety of fans and coaches and athletes.”

Also underway at the University of Kansas, according to attorneys for the school, are plans for  preserving the gun bans in place for child care centers and certain areas of the university’s medical center in Lawrence.

The schools are taking on the added costs even as state rollbacks to higher education funding have them contemplating academic cuts and possible tuition hikes of up to 5 percent.

Richardson, the spokesperson for the Board of Regents, said funding for security equipment at stadiums would likely come directly from athletic departments, which are less reliant on state support because they generate revenue from ticket sales and private donations.

“With careful budgeting and careful spending,” Marchiony said, “we will be able to do this without disadvantaging any of our existing programs.”

Kansas’s campus-carry law was passed in 2013 as part of a broad bill to allow guns in public places. While the law went into effect months after it was signed, universities were given a lengthy extension to comply. An effort by Democratic lawmakers to permanently exempt universities failed this spring. Higher education officials in Arkansas, by comparison, have had far shorter notice. Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed his state’s campus-carry law on April 4, and it will go into effect on January 1.

The campus-carry law in Arkansas sparked turmoil after an earlier version that opened all campus areas — including stadiums — to concealed guns. Facing outrage from constituents and officials worried about the prospect of sanctions from the Southeastern Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association against the University of Arkansas’s sports teams, legislators quickly passed an amended version of the law.

The final statute incorporated an opt-out provision similar to that of Kansas: public colleges that want to keep “firearms sensitive” areas gun-free have to pay for security features and have a safety plan approved by the State Police.

Nate Hinkel, a spokesperson for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, the state’s largest public college, said the administration has not yet drafted a proposal for adding security measures at the Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, which seats 72,000.

While the University of Arkansas prepares its plan, The Trace sought a ballpark figure (as it were) from Jeff Miller, who serves as executive vice president of New York-based MSA Security and formerly advised National Football League teams on venue safety.

He estimated the costs for equipping Razorback Stadium with metal detectors at upwards of $450,000. He arrived at that figure by following the general protocol of allotting one metal detector per 1,000 attendees. A going rate for a walk-through detector is around $6,500, though Miller noted that prices vary by manufacturer.

Though Idaho’s 2014 campus-carry law does not mandate metal detectors for gun-free facilities, Boise State University took the step of installing them anyway.

The 54 metal detectors it purchased for its 14,500 capacity football stadium ran $250,000, according to John Uda, the university’s assistant director of event security.

Setting up and staffing the machines costs $20,000 per game. Renting tents to cover the metal detectors runs another $3,500. The barriers that corral fans as they wait to be screened add another $2,500.

“If you’re going to do it, do it right,” Uda said.

He had a prediction for his counterparts in Kansas and Arkansas when the first full invoices arrive.

“They’re in for a shock,” he said.

MLB reviewing stadium security

By The Associated Press

This article was published May 4, 2017

BOSTON — Major League Baseball is reviewing its security protocols in all 30 stadiums after Orioles outfielder Adam Jones complained of fans shouting racial slurs in Boston this week and other black players reacted by saying it’s a common reality when playing in several cities.

It’s not yet clear what changes might be made, but league officials are starting by figuring out how individual clubs handle fan issues and complaints.

“We have reached out to all 30 clubs to assess what their in-ballpark announcement practices are regarding fan behavior,” MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said. “We are also reviewing text message and other fan security notification policies that are operating in the event there is an incident.”

All MLB teams have a mechanism for fans to alert security to issues, but individualized ballparks mean different protocols and practices in each stadium.

In Boston, Jones complained Monday night that he heard the N-word several times and that someone threw peanuts toward him in the dugout. Boston Red Sox officials apologized and said that only one of 34 fans kicked out of the game was ejected for using foul language toward a player, and it wasn’t clear whether that was toward Jones. Boston police said the peanuts hit a nearby police officer and Fenway security kicked the man who threw them out before he could be identified by authorities.

Commissioner Rob Manfred quickly condemned the incidents and said the treatment would not be tolerated inside any ballpark.

But after Jones spoke out, black players around the league made it clear that what he experienced is an ongoing experience during road trips, varying by ballpark.

“Everybody knows what those cities are. It’s bad. You’ve got security guards there and people there and they just sit there and let it happen,” Braves outfielder Matt Kemp said. “That to me is just crazy.”

Kemp said the vitriol in some parks has become a talking point among the dwindling fraternity of black players.

According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the number of African-American or African-Canadian players dipped from 62 each of the previous four years to just 58, or 7.7 percent, on MLB’s opening day active rosters.

Dusty Baker, the Nationals manager who played 19 seasons, said Jones’ complaints weren’t surprising because he’s been targeted with racial slurs in almost every city he played in.

“Minor leagues, big leagues … from L.A. to New York, it’s more apparent in some places than other places,” Baker said.

Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia said he heard racial slurs from fans when he pitched for the Indians in Boston, but has never had a problem with New York, where security guards follow players out to the bullpen and maintain a visible presence.

“I don’t know what you could do. It’s easier for us because we have our security guards,” Sabathia said. “Maybe teams should travel with security guards. That’s made a huge difference since I’ve been here.”

Kemp said he spoke to security officials about a week ago about how things were getting out of hand.

“I don’t know what kind of precautions or what they’re doing to get things under control but I hope something is going to get done,” he said. “Of course the racial slurs are out of line, and that’s big, but there’s a lot of other big things happening as far as people threatening other people’s families.”

One model could be in some European soccer leagues, where clubs are held responsible for the actions of their fans. Soccer authorities have spent decades trying to eradicate racism from stadiums, with limited success. Sanctions were strengthened in 2013 after a high-profile incident in Italy saw Kevin-Prince Boateng lead his AC Milan team off a field after facing abuse from fans.

Parts of stadiums can be closed during matches after a first instance of abuse, while repeated abuse can result in fans being locked out of games completely.

Still, during a Serie A game in Italy on Sunday, Pescara player Sulley Muntari complained he was being racially abused by Cagliari supporters and the referee’s only action was to penalize Muntari for his protests and show him a second yellow card as he walked off the field — which amounted to a red card kicking him out of the game and his team’s next game. The league didn’t punish Cagliari because it said only 10 fans were hurling the abuse, despite a clear sliding scale of punishments for four years.

FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has also given leagues the power to dock points or relegate teams for serious repeated racist incidents. Players also face a minimum 10-game ban in Europe if they racially abuse opponents.

But FIFA has been criticized for disbanding its anti-racism task force even as it prepares to take the World Cup in 2018 to Russia, where racism continues to blight matches.

Hall of Famer and Yankees senior adviser Reggie Jackson said improving security at ballparks might not be a magic wand.

“I don’t know how you control that,” he said. “You throw someone out of the stadium, you have them leave. And it would be interesting to see if fans really cheered.”

Boston Red Sox permanently ban fan caught using racial slur at Fenway Park

Yahoo, May 4, 2017

Boston Red Sox permanently ban fan caught using racial slur at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox have permanently banned from Fenway Park a man they said used a racial slur, a separate confrontation from the insults directed at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones a night earlier but one the team says it is taking just as seriously. “I’m here to send a message, loud and clear, that the behavior, the language, the treatment of others that you’ve heard about and read about is not acceptable,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said during an impromptu update for reporters in the back of the press box during Wednesday night’s game.

We have to recognize that this exists in our culture. It’s not indicative of Boston. … It’s a handful of ignorant and intolerant people.

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy

One night after Jones spoke out about being called the N word by a fan in the Fenway stands, rekindling the debate about the city’s mixed history of racial tolerance, the ballpark was the site of another racist encounter. Calvin Hennick, a Boston resident bringing his son to his first Red Sox game as a present for his sixth birthday, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday night that a neighboring fan used a variant of the N word when referring to the national anthem singer — a Kenyan woman. Surprised, Hennick asked him to repeat it, and the other fan did. Hennick, who is white, was at the game with his father-in-law, who is originally from Haiti, and his biracial son. At first he assumed the other fan mistook him for a kindred spirit, Hennick said, but now he believes the man was reacting to the uproar over Jones.

I was sitting there with my mixed-race family. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a deliberate thumb in the eye. He wanted to prove that he could say whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

Calvin Hennick

Fans to have faces scanned by police at Cardiff Champions League final

Fans to have faces scanned by police at Cardiff Champions League final

Fans attending this season’s Uefa Champions League final will be scanned by face recognition cameras in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium as part of a police operation.

Faces will be scanned at the arena – formerly the Millennium Stadium – and Cardiff’s central railway station. South Wales Police said the image can then be matched against hundreds of thousands of ‘custody images’ stored by regional forces.

The stadium can hold around 74,500 spectators, while a further 100,000 fans are expected to travel to Cardiff for the June 3 game. The Champions League semi-finalists who could reach Cardiff are Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Monaco.

The BBC news website said police intend to use the system to scan faces at various locations, but it will not be a condition of entry to the stadium.

Police said the operation is an attempt to further test Automated Facial Recognition (AFR) technology.

“The Uefa Champions League finals in Cardiff give us a unique opportunity to test and prove the concept of this technology in a live operational environment, which will hopefully prove the benefits and the application of such technology across policing,” South Wales Police said in a statement.

“This will be one of the largest security operations ever undertaken in the Welsh capital and the use of technology will support the policing operation which aims to keep people safe during what will be a very busy time in Cardiff.”

The operation will build on previous police use of AFR technology by the Metropolitan Police during last year’s Notting Hill Carnival.

Speaking to the Motherboard tech news website, Tony Porter, the UK Government’s surveillance camera commissioner, said that police must use the technology in compliance with the UK’s surveillance camera code of practice.

“My office has been in touch with South Wales Police to help them ensure that when deploying AFR they are complying with the code [of practice],” he said.

“I have seen the use of AFR increase [over] the past few years and a recent report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology indicated that facial recognition is a difficult challenge. Getting the best, most accurate results for each intended application requires good algorithms, a dedicated design effort, a multidisciplinary team of experts, limited-size image databases, and field tests to properly calibrate and optimise the technology.”

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