You Can't Take Pictures Here (Cont'd): Redskins Edition
The Washington Redskins haven't invoked national security to justify their latest efforts to control what fans do at home games--but stand by, that may yet come.
Whether it's a developer in downtown Silver Spring or a secretive federal agency operating out of an Arlington office building, it's become all the rage for property owners to confiscate cameras, force innocent passersby to erase photos, and generally ban photography in places that have always been open to all.
But while we all know how hard it's become to take a family snapshot in downtown Washington or near any government building, you'd think a football fan would still be free to take a snap at a sports event. You'd be wrong. Check out what happened to a University of Maryland student who went with some friends to take in the Redskins' home opener at the House That Jack Kent Cooke Built.
Reza Farhoodi, 20, was sitting with two friends in Section 341 of the club level in the second quarter of the Skins-Dolphins game--in the same seats he had enjoyed several times previously--when two security officers approached, removed the young man from his seat and took him to the concourse, where they questioned him about his camera.
"'Who do you work for? Why do you have this camera? Do you have any credentials with you?" the officers asked, according to Farhoodi, who told the security men that he had brought his personal SLR camera to get some pics of himself and his friends at the game--with no journalistic or business connection and no intent of selling any images. The security guards out at the entrance to the stadium had seen Farhoodi's camera and waved him right on in, just as they had several times in the past, without any problem.
Now, Farhoodi says, the officers inside the stadium told him it is forbidden to have any camera in the club level "except for the tiny ones," which the student took to mean the little point-and-shoot digital camera "with zooms so minuscule that there'd be no point in taking pictures with them." Farhoodi's traditional SLR camera was equipped with a zoom lens.
The fan was escorted to Guest Services, where his camera and camera bag were taken from him for pick-up at the end of the game.
When Farhoodi returned to his seat, other fans were appalled to learn that his camera had been confiscated and that ordinary fans were now not permitted to take pictures of the game.
After the game, Farhoodi got his camera back and spoke to a Guest Services representative who defended the security officers' actions and reminded the fan that not only were "professional" cameras not permitted in the stadium, but signs outside alerted fans that cameras would not be allowed inside.
Farhoodi went straight out to those signs and sent me pictures of them: They say not a word about cameras.
On his way out, Farhoodi saw at least two other fans carrying SLR "professional" cameras.
Farhoodi says he's disappointed by the team's policy and actions. He says: "I went to watch a Redskins game and take casual pictures for my own personal use, and ended up being embarrassed in front of everyone around me because of my supposedly disbarred camera, which ended up detracting from my enjoyment of the game."
Redskins spokesman Karl Swanson did not respond to telephone and email requests for information or comment on the incident or the team's policy.
The Redskins have led the league in developing ways to do end runs around the commercial news media and to assert control over coverage of their team in one medium after another. In addition to launching their own radio stations and owning and producing their own TV shows, the Redskins have aggressively criticized outside media organizations that provide independent coverage of the team. And the team is a pioneer in creating fan communities on its own web site.
Oddly enough, the Redskins' site includes extensive galleries of photos and video shot by fans at games. So it's pretty clear that not all cameras are banned and that the team owners don't object to some degree of fan photography. But Farhoodi's experience indicates that something--whether it's security paranoia or, more likely, a deep and pervasive hostility toward outside media not controlled by the Redskins--is driving guards to enforce some unstated rule barring some kind of photography.
Has anyone else had such troubles at the stadium?
By Marc Fisher |
September 18, 2007; 7:50 AM ET
Previous: Jim Moran's Tiresome Attack/Apology Routine | Next: Maryland's Gay Marriage Ruling: Can You Spell Confused?
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Stephen Braunlich | September 18, 2007 8:37 AM
Posted by: Jonathan | September 18, 2007 8:48 AM
Posted by: John | September 18, 2007 8:49 AM
Posted by: John | September 18, 2007 8:51 AM
Posted by: Bryan | September 18, 2007 9:01 AM
Posted by: Dan | September 18, 2007 9:14 AM
Posted by: Mr. Playa | September 18, 2007 9:33 AM
Posted by: Rock | September 18, 2007 9:37 AM
Posted by: josey | September 18, 2007 9:40 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2007 9:51 AM
Posted by: EricS | September 18, 2007 9:58 AM
Posted by: blackspeak,DC,USA | September 18, 2007 10:12 AM
Posted by: Cliff | September 18, 2007 10:14 AM
Posted by: Stick | September 18, 2007 10:19 AM
Posted by: ajsmithva | September 18, 2007 10:19 AM
Posted by: Fan with a camera | September 18, 2007 10:24 AM
Posted by: Petey | September 18, 2007 10:28 AM
Posted by: Kim | September 18, 2007 10:29 AM
Posted by: BDWESQTM | September 18, 2007 10:35 AM
Posted by: Stick | September 18, 2007 10:59 AM
Posted by: Petey | September 18, 2007 11:00 AM
Posted by: Agreeing Fan | September 18, 2007 11:02 AM
Posted by: Bill | September 18, 2007 11:33 AM
Posted by: Dave R | September 18, 2007 11:38 AM
Posted by: Arlington, VA | September 18, 2007 11:59 AM
Posted by: Petey | September 18, 2007 12:33 PM
Posted by: Vincent | September 18, 2007 1:02 PM
Posted by: mikes | September 18, 2007 1:19 PM
Posted by: MrJay | September 18, 2007 1:58 PM
Posted by: Ken | September 18, 2007 2:20 PM
Posted by: MrJay | September 18, 2007 2:34 PM
Posted by: toogood | September 18, 2007 3:23 PM
Posted by: cc | September 18, 2007 3:27 PM
Posted by: Gentry | September 18, 2007 3:58 PM
Posted by: John | September 18, 2007 4:05 PM
Posted by: Dan | September 18, 2007 4:07 PM
Posted by: shek | September 18, 2007 4:13 PM
Posted by: JR | September 18, 2007 4:21 PM
Posted by: JP | September 18, 2007 4:43 PM
Posted by: csdiego | September 18, 2007 4:48 PM
Posted by: Jed Dougherty | September 18, 2007 11:01 PM
Posted by: MrJay | September 19, 2007 11:43 AM
Posted by: DCGaymer | September 19, 2007 12:38 PM
Posted by: Dave | September 19, 2007 12:40 PM
Posted by: Dave | September 19, 2007 12:41 PM
Posted by: Josh | September 19, 2007 2:02 PM
Posted by: Steven | September 19, 2007 5:17 PM
Posted by: melfvrmtbg | October 15, 2007 9:45 PM
Posted by: Peter | October 25, 2007 3:03 PM
Posted by: morph00 | November 5, 2007 1:40 PM
Posted by: Jak | November 6, 2007 4:30 AM
Posted by: Mister | November 9, 2007 7:13 AM
Posted by: Kilkoi | December 22, 2007 11:54 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.