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Skins Code of Conduct: Don't Guzzle

This is not drinking responsibly. Sip, don't guzzle, friends.

As has much been discussed, during the past offseason the NFL instructed each of its teams to create fan codes of conduct, in an effort to reduce some of the in-stadium crassness that received so much publicity last year. My colleague Mark Maske wrote about the new policies in Sunday's paper:

The National Football League, with annual revenue approaching $8 billion, has become the most popular professional sports league in the country in part because of the zealousness of its young-adult male fans, many of whom spend hours before games tailgating and drinking before going inside stadiums to be loud and boisterous. This season, however, the NFL is asking itself whether the rowdiness has gone too far and is alienating other fans.

At the behest of Commissioner Roger Goodell, all 32 teams have announced a fan conduct policy in an attempt to make their stadiums more fan-friendly. Goodell said he believes fans should be able to watch without being subjected to abusive language, obscene gestures and other forms of rude behavior.

I mean to post the Redskins new fan policy before I left for China, but I forgot. Here are highlights; the full code was sent to every season ticket holder.

* Sip your drink, don't guzzle it. Remember, it's about quality, not quantity.

* To stay hydrated, always drink water after each alcoholic beverage.

* Always eat before you drink.

* Never accept a drink from a stranger.

* Always plan ahead before you drink, and know how you are going to get home. Assign a designated driver or keep a taxi number and cash handy. Whatever you do, plan to get home safely.

* Always treat your fellow fans in a courteous and respectful manner. This includes refraining from foul or abusive language, obscene gestures, fighting, taunting, inappropriate and obscene signs or clothing, or threatening remarks and gestures.

This being the Redskins, the Code of Conduct has a sponsor (Diageo), whose corporate execs helped devise the fan policies. I talked with Diageo Executive Vice President Guy Smith about the code, and he mentioned the HBO Real Sports segment that showed members of the Dead Tree Crew pounding Crown Royal--a Diageo product--before a Skins game.

"That created some imagery that wasn't good for the Redskins, it wasn't good for Redskins fans and it certainly wasn't good for Diageo, and it was some distance from what all of us want to show," he told me. "As Redskins management was looking at what's the best way to communicate to our fans, we worked with them on the fan code of conduct and the development of the content. They were comfortable with us working with them, because the figured the largest alcohol company in the world knows a little bit about that sort of thing."

I expressed surprise that a company best known for its hard liquor holdings would be involved in an NFL "don't guzzle" campaign, since I would have assumed most guzzlers are defaulting to cheap domestic beer.

"If you take the 100,000 people in the average football stadium, there's gonna be more people in gross numbers that default to a domestic beer," said Smith, whose company has also sponsored safe rides programs in D.C. and messages promoting responsible consumption inside FedEx Field. "But what we found is that the football fan base, the NASCAR base, the NASCAR dad, the consumers in that category are very much open to and looking for new experiences. Which is why you can go in FedEx field and buy a Margarita made with Cuervo, you can buy a Bloody Mary in the club level made with Smirnoff vodka."

And I also wondered whether fans would argue that you can't have NFL football without tailgating, and you can't have tailgating without occasional moments of alcohol-related excess. Smith said the feedback they've gotten from Skins fans thus far has been positive, and that he isn't expecting any sort of backlash.

"There's a million ways to have a great tailgating experience without guzzling alcohol," he said. "My personal view and our company's view on that is pretty much zero tolerance--be responsible or don't be there--and I suspect the Skins feel the same way. If you want to guzzle, go somwhere where you're not going to be bother anybody. If you're sitting next to somebody who's done that in the stadium with your child, it really sullies the experience. We don't want any part of that, and I know the Skins don't either."

Violators of the Redskins new policy could be subject to having their season tickets revoked, according to a team spokesman, which might make Sunday morning a fairly interesting time in Raljon.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 9, 2008; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  NFL , Redskins  
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Next: Media Members Fight Donald Brashear, Each Other


The chances of the team actually enforcing those rules are about the same as the chances of it winning the Super Bowl this year.

Posted by: Matt | September 9, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Mayor of Fed Ex goes nuclear in 5...4...3...2...

Posted by: | September 9, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"The chances of the team actually enforcing those rules are about the same as the chances of it winning the Super Bowl this year.

Posted by: Matt"

I'd say lower.

Posted by: Crabhands | September 9, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the mayor is being outvoted on these rules.

Or maybe he is sleep in the Mayor's office.

Posted by: Chimaera | September 9, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

All it is going to take is one time when some football fan who was tailgating and drinking from 10am to 430pm drives away from the stadium and kills some folks.
MADD will have a field day.

And the team and stadium will face liability.

I havent gone to a game or race in over a year. I am sick of seating next to some aggresive obnoxious drunk. Dont like getting beer spilled on me. And all though I love to use the F word in context listening to a bunch of fools yelling it in every other word gets real old.

If Bud, Coors, Miller and other sellers of alcohol weren't big sponsors they would take serious steps to curtail this.

I enjoy a nice microbrew, single malt or well made margarita but getting shi*t faced and obscene isnt called for.

And I hate when ushers and security folk at Verizon or Fedex wont do squat. But they will come when you defend yourself.

PG County pigs should run sobreity check points and arrest folks for PI. Metro cops
should arrest and detain anyone under the influence rding Metro.

Banning alcohol sales and the possession sale of it at sporting events is beginning to sound like a real good idea.

All major league sports to include NASCAR are losing the family fan and their future fan base. The cost of tickets and drunk fans make going to a game a very expensive
hostile and not fun experience.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

This is a toothless PR stunt. But if anyone in the DTC could actually read, they would probably be pissed.

Posted by: Leggo my Riggo | September 9, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. Football games are loud and boisterous. If occasional profanity and drinking are things you don't want to expose your kids to, well watch the game on the tube.

Expecting a football stadium to be as "Family Friendly" as Chuck E. Cheese is stupid.

If I feel like guzzling my brewski outside the stadium (6 pack of Corona for $7) so I don't have to buy a $7 cup of Bud or Miller, that is my long as I don't ruin anyone else's experience, who cares?

Posted by: Keino | September 9, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with drinking. I've no problem with tailgating. Heck, I drink a few before I go to a game.

But just because some rather get trashed, doesn't give them the right to infringe on my enjoyment of the game.

Hiding behind the argument that you shouldn't expect to see that at a game is just trying to compensate for what shouldn't even be up for discussion.

There's a specific difference between drinking a lot and going to the game, and drinking a lot and acting like a fool. The second part is where it is a problem. If you can't drink and then yell out the F bomb every other word, then you shouldn't drink. If you can't drink and fight some fan from another team, you shouldn't be allowed to go to games. If you can't drink to the point of where you're not spilling all over people and look like Amy Winehouse, you shouldn't enter the stadium.

Posted by: Chimaera | September 9, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn likes to ride the bike. By February, Dan Snyder will be saying 'On Yer Bike mate'

Posted by: Norv | September 9, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure a drunk can get going fast enough to harm anyone in the post-game parking lot that is the beltway.

Posted by: mr69 | September 9, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Quote: "cheap domestic beer."? I question your Patriotism!! You can take your Crown Royal and stick it!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

If you want family friendly seats...sit in the club section, half those people aren't redskins fans anyway. If you really think drinking will be stopped in the NFL you are an idiot... wise up, and start drinking with the rest of us

Using the F-word as a noun, adjective, and adverb gets much more intersting the more you drink.

Posted by: Hating Terrorists since 1992 | September 9, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The Mayor will be releasing his official statement in response to this in the next 24 hours.

Dan Steinberg will be given both a written and video response.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: From the Mayors Office | September 9, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Well Dan, sounds like you've become the Baghdad Bob of the DTC. But I implore you, if the promised "video response" contains any of their patented, gawd awful rapping, please burn after viewing...

Posted by: Hoo boy.... | September 9, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

instead of banning and cutting down on beer, let's just ban the PG rednecks and other white trash who can't hold their booze.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Can we still burn oposing teams jerseys?

Posted by: G20FdaCowboys | September 10, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Cheap domestic beer no longer exists:

Yuengling doesn't qualify, as it is merely an inexpensive domestic beer, that isn't distributed nationally, and actually tastes like beer, as opposed to the watery offerings from those below.

Budweiser (Busch, Michelob, Natty Light, etc) will soon be Belgian owned.

Miller (Milwaukee's Best, Icehouse, etc) are now part of Coors (Blue Moon, Keystone Light, Killians, and who are large contributers to the extreme right-wing think-tank/group "The Heritage Foundation"), are now one and the same with Molson as well, and all 3 are now London-Based.

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 10, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

if they were to ever inforce this then literally half the people wouldn't attend

Posted by: lol | September 12, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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