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Redskins allow critical t-shirts at FedEx Field

I'm told this is security confronting someone over a t-shirt.

With so many people talking about free expression at FedEx Field, it's worth clarifying the team's policies. Signs of any sort are not permitted. T-shirts and other sorts of clothing, however, are permitted, as long as profanity is not involved. Apparently, "[Stinks] does not always count as profanity in this context, so a "Dallas [Stinks]" t-shirt would be permitted under this policy. You can read much more at Matt Terl's Redskins Blog, where Redskins Chief Operating Officer David Donovan said this about the shirts:

"Our policy regarding messages on T-shirts and other clothing is simple: if it doesn't display profanity, it's fine," he said. "It's not our policy to regulate clothing based on the message it displays. We've heard the anecdotal reports that some stadium personnel were being over-zealous in their handling of this matter Monday night. We apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced as well as fans who were distressed by the reports, and we'll be working with all stadium employees to be certain that the policy is correctly enforced at future games at FedExField."

He also addressed the issue of security messing with fans' shirts on 106.7 The Fan's Mike Wise Show, saying "Look, I don't know if that's anecdotal, because listen, I'm ultimately in charge of stadium operations, and we don't make anybody turn shirts inside out." And later, he said this:

"With respect to t-shirts, unless there was something obscene on t-shirts, then somebody with our security got a little overzealous and I'll make sure that doesn't happen again....What these things commonly are as you guys both know is one story gets told and then somebody else tells the same story and then pretty soon you've got four people recounting the same event as if it was four separate events."

So we can all agree that this is a good thing. You can put pretty much whatever non-profane message you'd like on a t-shirt, and no one will make you leave, or make you turn it inside-out, or threaten your season tickets.

As for Monday Night, I'm just not sure how much of this is a small number of anecdotes being retold and exaggerated, and how much is an accurate reflection of what actually happened. I've heard from a few fans who say they personally saw this stuff happen, but this clearly isn't scientific.

The first guy who mentioned this to me, longtime Skins fan Mike Broderick, sent me this summary of his night, during which he and his friend were wearing Dumb and Dumber tees.

"Just before half-time we made our way to the upper deck (to see some friends) when a stadium security guard stopped us and told us to take off the shirts. When I told her no and that I didn't understand why, she called the PG Police! We had 8 officers show up!!! All she said to them was that we needed to be removed from the stadium. They made it simple, leave or turn the shirts in-side out. I had to give my id to the stadium security per demand from the officer she said that I may lose my season tickets. In the meantime....a lot of people gathered round (prob. due to the large number of officers) to start booing and taking pictures....One of the officers pulled me to the side to tell me to contact the Post or TV to tell what is happening at FedEx because they are sick of the nonsense. His comment was they have must better things to do with their time at the stadium."

Another reader wrote with this:

"I was in section 105. I saw four people get taken out of the stadium for signs, and several other people in my section had to turn their shirts inside out of leave the game."

And another wrote with this story, without names or section numbers:

"Some friends in a section on the Redskins sideline called me to tell me that security made some folks turn their shirts inside out under penalty of ticket revocation not just ejection."

These are not exactly mass reports, and with the policy now more clearly explained, we can hope that the t-shirt issue won't come up again.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 28, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: UPDATE: Geico Redskins signs ok at FedEx Field




Since we have a bye week, how about taking a bye week by not posting anymore Redskins related stuff. Enough already! It's too much!

Posted by: ivyleague | October 28, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Just looked at the schedule - the Skins are staring at 3-13 - lots of opportunities for creative free expression by the fans; conversely lots of billable hours for Snyder's legal corps to quash said free expression...

Maybe he could sell to Leonsis?

Posted by: jhorstma | October 28, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What IvyLeague said goes for me, too.

"Since we have a bye week, how about taking a bye week by not posting anymore Redskins related stuff. Enough already! It's too much!"

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 28, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey Donavan, I hope you're reading this and I'm sure you are because I see you quoted whining about all the press like a spoiled little Bich.



Posted by: VeloStrummer | October 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

it's hilarious how people are suddenly sick of seeing Redskins coverage now that all the coverage is negative.

when everyone toed the line and worshipped the ground the Redskins walked on like they were supposed to, no Redskins fans ever had any complaint about the disproportionate level of coverage the Redskins get in comparison to other local teams. If fans of the Nats, Caps, or Wizards ever had the gall to complain about their sub-standard coverage, the standard Redskins fan response is "This is a Redskin town, they deserve all the coverage. shut up and deal with it."

but now that the Redskins coverage is mostly negative, it becomes "enough already, its too much!".

Well, this is a Redskin town. They deserve all the coverage. Shut up and deal with it.

Posted by: MrMadison | October 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

they asked my girl friend to take her shirt off, not turn it inside out. man, should I have done something?

Posted by: TheDubb | October 28, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

but now that the Redskins coverage is mostly negative, it becomes "enough already, its too much!".

Well, this is a Redskin town. They deserve all the coverage. Shut up and deal with it.

Posted by: MrMadison | October 28, 2009 11:48 AM

No, it's because the Bog made its mark doing non-Redskins related stories about the Caps the Wiz. Usually about hairstyles, facial hair, Mike Miller's monkey, Sidney Crosby urinal cakes, UMD anti-Duke signs (will those be banned next from Comcast Center?), etc.

The readers who became dedicated to Steinberg over that kind of coverage don't like all the recent Redskins coverage because it's not what they are used to from Steinberg. To them, Steinz is "selling out, man" (toke).

Posted by: hithere1 | October 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Someone just emailed me this Memorial service program:

Memorial Service
Washington DEADSKINS
Sunrise: 1932 - Sunset: 2009
Washington DEADSKINS FedExField
Landover, Maryland
Brian Mitchell
Rick “Doc” Walker
John Riggins
LaVar Arrington
Joe Jacoby
Trevor Matich
“Hail to the Deadskins”
Hail to the Deadskins,
No victory.
We can’t score touchdowns,
We just take the three!
Run or pass and score, we need a lot more,
Portis doesn’t practice ‘cause his foot’s sore.
Gripe on, gripe on ‘til Vin-ny’s gone
Shame in Wash-ing-ton
Boo, Boo, Boo!
Hail to the Deadskins,
No victory.
Let’s grab Dan Snyder
Hang him from a tree!
Funeral Arrangements (Ten Years in the Making)by Snyder/Cerrato Funeral Home
Ashburn, Virginia
The Washington Deadskins, born the
Boston Braves in 1932, passed away in
October 2009, following a ten-year long
illness inflicted upon it by team owner
Daniel M. Snyder and pseudo-general
manager Vinny Cerrato. After several false
alarms and faint glimmers of playoff
hope, the once proud franchise developed
a fatal aversion to the end-zone, and
succumbed in a slow, painful death. The
team leaves behind thousands of
disgruntled fans, angry tailgaters, and
despondent season ticket holders, as well
as tons of unsold Deadskins merchandise,
one puzzled quar terback, and an
emasculated head coach.
Oh, how the once mighty have fallen!
Order of Service
Hymn .............. “Hail to the Deadskins”
Testimonials ....................
Norv Turner, Terry Robiskie,
Marty Schottenheimer,
Steve Spurrier, and Joe Gibbs
Apology to Fans ......... Daniel M. Snyder & Vinny Cerrato
Eulogy ....... Jim Zorn (this could take a while)
Hymn ................ "Amazing Disgrace”
Benediction ......... Brian Mitchell (got to have the last word)
Burial at FedExField
(Just short of the north end-zone)
followed by a torch and pitchfork march to the homes of
Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato.
Repast at Johnny Rocket’s overpriced burgers and shakes.

Posted by: squidly666 | October 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse


Maybe your girlfriend is just hot? ;-)

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | October 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Since we have a bye week, how about taking a bye week by not posting anymore Redskins related stuff. Enough already! It's too much!

Posted by: ivyleague | October 28, 2009 11:33 AM

I disagree. Dan is reporting on the men who are killing this franchise - it's important. The Revolution will be Bogged.

I'm enjoying the heck out of the reports on Wizards Insider about the excellent win in Dallas last night. What exactly is Dan supposed to write about that? He wasn't there - and I doubt he's had a chance to speak to any Wizards in person about their opening night win.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Dan, I'm shocked that the Skins haven't threatened to revoke your press pass given your "relentlessly negative" coverage!

Posted by: timleary_20016 | October 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Like when I said, "What IvyLeague said goes for me, too"...what hithere1 said goes for me, too (also).

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, we hope they won't come for us next. Sound familiar?

Posted by: Megskin | October 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the Wiz & the Caps both won. I hope that both of them do great things this year.

However, the Redskins are so much more meaningful to the D.C. region that the Wiz and the Caps, at least for now.

If Snyderatto keep this garbage up, the Redskins could be relegated to national irrelvancy like the Nats and Orioles. As a member of the Redskins massive national fanbase, I'm hoping that doesn't ever happen.

We should cut and paste these comments and send them to Donovan. We're not being provoked into expressing our anger towards Snyderatto because we read an article in the Washington Post.

We're disgusted by the product on the field, a 4-11 record in the last 15 games with such an expensive and talented roster. An underachieving team that is run by people who are more concerned about their PR image than winning. Pathetic!

Posted by: dmorgan6617 | October 28, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

To explain further, Mr.Madison; I'm not a football fan. I haven't watched a Super Bowl in more than 30 years. Not only have I never worshed the ground they trod, I couldn't name three players on the team. I simply don't care about the Washington Redskins

(I do care about freedom of speech so this recent dustup has caught my attention. But not for anything to do with the games being played on the field, rather, for the games being played in the stands and the parking lots.)

So while I don't follow football at all I do care about other sports, and I have enjoyed Dan Steinberg's posts, and that is why I wich and hope Steinz could go back to covering other things rather than entirely devote what used to be pretty good DC-area general sports coverage to post after post after post about the bad ownership of one boring team playing one boring sport.

Posted by: greggwiggins | October 28, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Please keep blogging on the Redskins' train wreck Dan. The franchise's situation hasn't been this interesting in a long time.

Posted by: Longgoneposter | October 28, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I love the Caps and Wiz, and I want to read about them too. But this is a story we CANNOT let go of. It's absurd, and it needs to be addressed. Keep up the good work Dan!

Posted by: Tank2 | October 28, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

More from Terl's Redskins Blog comment section:

And then there is this personal rebuttal of some of Donovan's claims regarding suing fans by one person blogging over at Hogs Haven:

It would seem that Donovan can say suing club seat season ticket holders is "not a business practice" to imply there is no concrete policy of suing fans trying to get out of multi-year club seat contracts, and shield himself and the organization from the possibility (actuality, according to Ken Meringolo at the above Hogs Haven link) that individual employees have threatened fans with legal action for trying to get out of these contracts. In other words, "not a business practice" = plausible deniability.

In other words, = "miscommunication up the chain of command."

In other words, = rogue employees acting alone without official sanction from team management.

Sure is a lot of miscommunicatin' goin' on over in Ashburn and Fedex field!

Posted by: hithere1 | October 28, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

And still more from Terl's Redskins Blog comments:

Thanks again for responding. I see your point, and am swayed...somewhat.

I think the inclination to say they (management) is trying to control the message comes with the combination of censorship stories about signs (being banned mid-season), t-shirts, and chants. The common thread between these three types of expression? Some anti-management messages were met with security trying to stop the expression. Ergo, inclination to think sign ban = control the message that ESPN cameras broadcast on Monday Night Football.

Regarding the sign ban, I wonder about the timing of this ban. You are saying that the sign ban has nothing to do with the messages on the signs, and that the ban went into effect this mid-season - after 10 years of people bringing signs to Fedex field - because there were complaints of people being hurt by signs, and of signs obstructing views. Were there any of these types of complaints in previous years? If so, why not impose the ban on signs at the beginning of this season? Why this particular timing for the sign ban?

Can you get us readers any statistics on the number of fan complaints about signs this year?

Probably not. But can you understand why I might ask?

My inclination is to think that there is more than fan safety at issue here with this ban, given its timing.


Terl never responded, but in fairness responded to a lot of other questions I posed already directly to him.

Full disclosure: my ID on Terl's blog is FalloftheSnyderEmpire.

Posted by: hithere1 | October 28, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The only viable solution to this problem (besides not going to the games, which feels more like punishing us than Snyder) is for everyone to gather on the mall and protest the current state of the Skins.

We can't do it at Fedex because it's semi-private nature gives Snyder some semblance of control over our behavior. He also has the ability to revoke our season tickets for pulling something along the lines of the Millen Man March.

Let's pick a date, make some signs (that he won't be able to throw in the trash), and march for some change. If the teabaggers can do it, Lord knows we can. Redskins Nation Unite!

Posted by: rucks35 | October 28, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

David Donovan = Baghdad Bob

Posted by: laxbigj | October 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know if you bring in a sign and they actually do revoke your season tickets, do they let you out of they next 5 years of your contract. Highly unlikely I know, but I have to ask. Donovan would rather see me bankrupt then be able to send my kids to school.

Posted by: cjzimm | October 28, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I can wear any tshirt I want, and carry any banner I want, when I'm watching the game at home and not giving Snyder any of my money.

The people who continue to "support" the team by going to FedEx are the biggest problem. If you really cared about the team, you'd stay away until Snyder got the message.

If you really love football, and the Redskins, sacrifice a few of your Sundays for the long haul. If you can't do that, and you continue to show up and buy beer and hotdogs from the guy, you deserve to be treated like Snyder's you know what. And that's the sad, simple truth.

Posted by: bryc3 | October 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

After we expose this injustice maybe we can turn our attention to saving the whales, global warming, animal cruelty and the price of babysitters nowadays!!!! These injustices must be exposed to the public!!! Boggers unite!!!!

I wish there was a way for me to know when this Injustice Brigade was over so I could stop giving this Bog page hits.

Seriously? Flyers at MCI and Wiz season opener and no bogs?

Stein, lets get you a protege.

Posted by: fushezzi | October 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

And its Verizon now, I know, I know....

Posted by: fushezzi | October 28, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

When I said enough already, I wasn't complaining about the negative coverage of the Redskins, I am not THAT much of a fan anyway. I just meant I am sick of hearing of the foolishness coming out of Redskins Park. IE. Snyder,Cerrato, Snyder,Cerrato etc. NO signs,take off your t-shirt yada,yada. I would like a little brevity in coverage now that hockey and basketball season has started. After all, we do have three more professional sports league in DC. I am just sick of all things Redskins right now and need a break from the sign foolishness. (read the all of the articles below and you will get my drift)

Posted by: ivyleague | October 28, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr donovan is a giant (French word for shower ) bag. He claims it's not policy to make people remove anti snyder tshirts desipite more than anecdotal evidence to the contrary. So either he's s big liar, or an incompetent manager. I find it hard to believe security took it upon themselves to develop a policy against such tshirts.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | October 28, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

easy to solve this problem, just everyone who brought a critical sign or wore a critical shirt to any game this year, just never go to any more games this year.

and don't renew the ticket order for next year.

with as many people are out of work I'm amazed at how many showed up for that game on monday.

otherwise you're going to keep getting the same crappy team and same stadium abuse from Dannyboy.

Posted by: greatteamdan | October 28, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"These are not exactly mass reports, and with the policy now more clearly explained, we can hope that the t-shirt issue won't come up again."

Collaborationist! You seriously believe the explanation of D. Donovan? "Overzealous employees did it." It's almost criminal to be that naive.

On with the Revolution! Free the Redskins!

Posted by: eyestreet | October 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"And another wrote with this story, without names or section numbers:"

Really Steinz? Journalism school should be sending YOU money. But hey, you received the story, so it HAD to be true.


Posted by: Section117 | October 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by laxbigj: David Donovan = Baghdad Bob
LMAO!!! This crap reminds me of the policy Snyder implemented a few years back preventing fans who parked at the closed down Landover Mall parking lot (for a much cheaper price) from crossing Landover Road to gain access to Fed EX. The Skins explanation at the time was Landover Rd was way too dangerous to cross. However after the games, fans leaving Fed Ex (many who were sloppy drunk) were allowed to cross. Today the parking lot is ripped up & blocked off where no one can gain access. Coincidence, or conspiracy? Hmmmm!!!!

Posted by: akjproductions | October 28, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"These are not exactly mass reports, and with the policy now more clearly explained, we can hope that the t-shirt issue won't come up again."

Collaborationist! You seriously believe the explanation of D. Donovan? "Overzealous employees did it." It's almost criminal to be that naive.

On with the Revolution! Free the Redskins!

Posted by: eyestreet | October 28, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was some excellent snark on his part, actually.

Posted by: walkdwalk | October 28, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I was wearing a burgundy t shirt with Snyder Sucks written in gold on the front. before the game while I was in the parking lot, I was told by a security guard that I would have to take the shirt off when I entered the stadium. The security guard was polite yet firm, and I was polite yet disagreed.
Not much happened though because I got cold and put a jacket on over the shirt.

Steinz keep writing this stuff, dont listen to the Fusheezi's.

Posted by: jpfterps | October 28, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The "new improved" shirt policy is simply too little, too late! Monday’s harassment was the last straw, and not the reason I am no longer a “fan.” I stood there cheering my Redskins through their poor performance and not once boo’d them. Through the first half, on the way to and from my seat in section 104 I passed the usher and joked with him often about the fact that he was a Dallas fan working for the Redskins! I showed the guard my “Fire Vinnie Cerrato” shirt with pride from the moment I got there for pregame introductions.
Sadly as was the case with so many at Fed-Ex Field, when I returned to my seat after halftime I was stopped and surrounded by a half a dozen yellow jackets and told to give them my shirt or leave the stadium. I was not willing to begin a civic rights lawsuit so I relinquished my shirt for retrieval after the game.
At that moment I decided that I was done. I was no longer a Redskins fan. I should have simply left rather than give up the shirt. I felt sick to my stomach even trying to root for them knowing that I am simply perpetuating a horrible situation.
I will not watch the Redskins in person or on TV again. I will not purchase anything with a Redskins logo on it, whether it is a 99 cent cup of coffee or a $200 jersey. In addition to the team itself, I will also be boycotting FedEx, Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, Pepsi, Siemens, and E*Trade Bank. The sponsors of the Redskins are as culpable as the owner.

Posted by: patrick72 | October 29, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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