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US Bank Stadium security company faces employment probe

Monterrey Security, the company that provides various security services at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is to face a state-led investigation over its hiring practices.

According to KSTP-TV, sources close to the matter have said the probe involves falsification of government documents, failure to conduct proper background checks and hiring people with a criminal record without full clearance.

KSTP-TV added that the investigation involves hundreds of staff at the firm.

The Star Tribune newspaper reports that Monterrey is in the first year of three-year contract with the US Bank Stadium, which only opened in July last year. The venue is home to NFL American football franchise the Minnesota Vikings.

Ongoing investigation

The company came under fire during a Vikings game earlier this year when two protestors were able to drop down from scaffolding at the stadium to unfurl a banner with a slogan opposing a pipeline.

In a statement, SMG, operator of the US Bank Stadium, said: “We expect that Monterrey Security will cooperate fully with state officials for the ongoing investigation.

“Upon the completion of this investigation, SMG will take appropriate action. … The safety and security of all guests and employees of US Bank Stadium continues to be our top priority.”

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is not due to meet again until June 22, but chairwoman Kathleen Blatz said she does not expect any action to be taken against Monterrey.

Blatz added: “I would assume they know what they’re doing; I can’t believe it’s just wholesale neglect of the rules.”

Modern Distractions And Big Hitters Like Judge Make Extra Fan Protection A Must

Palladino: Modern Distractions And Big Hitters Like Judge Make Extra Fan Protection A Must

It’s Time For The Yankees And Mets, Along With Rest Of MLB, To Extend Protective Netting To End Of Dugouts June 5, 2017 8:00 AM
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

The Yankees are knocking balls over the outfield fences at an astounding and highly entertaining rate. But it’s the ones that don’t fly out in fair territory that should concern their loyal followers.

This has been such an entertaining season that it would be a downright shame if someone in one of those expensive field level seats along the foul lines wound up in the hospital because they took an Aaron Judge liner in the teeth. Yet, as has been seen around the league in recent years, the incidence of spectator injuries has risen.

Kids and adults have both been carted out of their seats in varying states of consciousness because of such mishaps. Numerous lawsuits have caused the powers of Major League Baseball to encourage their clubs to extend the protective netting found behind all backstops to the end of the dugouts, a suggestion recently taken a step further in New York by Brooklyn councilman Rafael Espinal, who called on the city to mandate netting from backstop to foul pole in both ballparks.

Still, what seems like such a simple, cheap, common-sense measure to keep fans’ heads intact has yet to be implemented. Neither the Yanks nor Mets have netting beyond the home plate area at this point. In fact, only eight of the 30 teams have extended their netting beyond home plate.

And a lot of that pushback has come from fans, themselves, who believe a few threads of black nylon in front of them will take away from the total stadium experience.

They have a right to their opinion, of course. Those seats in both Yankee Stadium and Citi Field cost a lot of money, and fans who dish out that kind of bread should get as full a view of the proceedings as possible. But, really, they don’t care as much about the action as the chance at corralling a foul ball. It’s the reason so many thousands of corporate giants over baseball’s history have risked getting cokes and mustard splashed over $700 suits as they have pursued those $5 baseballs.

But times have changed. Many of those businessmen now sit in luxury boxes where, in total safety, they can indulge in the latest societal distraction, the smartphone. The problem is, the folks who populate the field level seats have the iPhone and Galaxy, too.

They are not so safe. In fact, those seats at just about any major or minor league stadium have become danger zones. More than 1,700 injuries were reported from pro parks on all levels.

It’s not unusual to see a bunch of fans with their heads stuck in the smartphones as the action rages on the field. It makes sense. In an age where people are getting hit by cars because they’re texting their buddies in the middle of the street, it’s not far-fetched that people in the line of fire at the ballpark would do the same thing.

That means, though, that they’re not paying attention to the game. Thus, the possibilities of taking a hot, foul line drive off the noggin increase exponentially.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York YankeesYankees outfielder Aaron Judge breaks his bat as he hits a single in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 3, 2017. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Now take it a step further. The Yanks have arguably the most exciting young player in the majors in Judge. It seems that every fly ball he hits goes 400 feet or more, and even his groundouts are bullets.

He’s not a dead pull hitter. But still, his utter strength represents a major danger to anyone sitting down the line. He need only get in front of a changeup and send a cannon shot into the stands to create a potential tragedy.

Thankfully, that hasn’t happened yet. But why chance it — anywhere. With players getting stronger, pitchers throwing harder, and fans’ attention spans shortened by hand-sized technology, the chances of coming away from a game with a concussion or busted cheek bone have increased.

Hitters like Judge present scary enough propositions for pitchers. But that’s the fun of baseball. It would be a shame if an errant liner off his bat dampens any of the excitement he’s generated.

It’s time for all of baseball to get with the times.

Turin bomb scare sparks stampede, leaving 1,500 injured

AFP, June 4, 2017

Turin (Italy) (AFP) – More than 1,500 people were injured, three seriously, after a bomb scare triggered a stampede among Juventus fans watching the Champions League final in Turin, local authorities said Sunday.

In an update on Saturday’s dramatic events in a square packed with supporters watching the Cardiff match on a giant screen, the local prefecture said 1,527 had been treated for mainly minor injuries.

Three people were in a serious but not life-threatening condition, including a young boy. Local media described him as a seven-year-old and said he was in a coma with serious chest injuries after being trampled in the crush.

AFP reporters who witnessed the scenes said the panic seemed to have been triggered by fireworks, followed by one or more people shouting that a bomb had exploded — a notion that quickly filtered through the crowd.

The incident compounded a miserable night for fans of Turin-based Juventus, who lost the final 4-1 to Real Madrid.

It also underlined the impact recent acts of terror are having on a jittery public across Europe, and the dilemmas now faced by organisers of any mass gathering of people following the Bataclan, Paris and Manchester concert attacks.

“This is a city that lives with anxiety and panic is something that is very difficult to control,” said Turin Prefect Renato Saccone.

– Beer bottles –

The scare in Turin came just minutes before another deadly attack unfolded in London with assailants driving a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then going on a stabbing spree before being shot dead by police.

“Even if there have been no Islamist attacks in Italy, the panic of last night shows they are achieving their objectives even here,” said Roberto Calderoli, a Senator for the Northern League.

Several thousand fans had turned up to watch the match in the Piazza San Carlo in downtown Turin.

As fear took hold, a rush towards exit points quickly accelerated and the square emptied so quickly it was left strewn with hundreds of shoes ripped off people’s feet as they ran.

The square was still dotted with shoes, clothes, bags and patches of blood on Sunday morning. The high number of cuts was blamed on beer in glass bottles having been freely available before and during the match from unlicensed vendors.

“We heard a noise, then there was a movement of people like a wave and everyone started falling over each other,” said Luca, one of the fans caught up in the drama.

“I have got blood on me from the people who fell on top of me, people were screaming, jumping over each other,” he told AFPTV. “It was really awful – we really thought it was Manchester again.”

– Heysel memories –

Some of the injuries occurred after a railing around the entrance to an underground car park beneath the square gave way under the weight of the crush, causing some of those injured to fall up to two metres (nearly seven feet) onto tarmac.

Local media cited older Juventus supporters present as saying the panic had evoked painful memories of the 1985 Heysel disaster, in which 39 mostly Italian fans died when they were crushed by a collapsing wall before the start of that year’s European Cup final, against Liverpool.

Another fan, Giulio, said he had been knocked to the ground. “Everyone just trampled over me. I got separated from all my friends. I don’t have the slightest idea what happened.”

Fellow supporter Filippo took refuge in a restaurant in a neighbouring square. “They gave us something to drink and we stayed there until it was calm outside and we went back to find the shoe my daughter had lost.”

“It was very stressful,” added Gaetan. “With everything that is going on nowadays, it’s only to be expected. We just panicked and tried to get out of there.”

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