Cincy fans can call 'Jerk' line to report unruly people
CINCINNATI -- Bengals fans annoyed by bad behavior in the stands can now report it by cell phone.
The hot line number should be easy to remember -- (513) 381-JERK.
Fans using too much foul language will first get a warning from stadium security. Those who continue could be ejected and have their season tickets and personal seat licenses revoked. More serious offenses could lead to arrest.
The team doesn't want to become the "curse police," but expects fans to behave themselves, said Bob Bedinghaus, the Bengals' director of development for Paul Brown Stadium.
"You need to understand you're coming to an NFL football game," Bedinghaus said. "On the other hand, we want to make sure that we're paying attention to those folks who are going over the line."
When callers report problems such as threats, fights or drunkenness, security officials will use the stadium's video cameras to focus on the offenders and then respond.
Fans have complained to team officials that beer is increasing the problem with misbehavior in the stands.
"They were complaints [of] excessive drunkenness. People that were kind of falling down drunk," Bedinghaus said. "And there were some fights last year. Whenever you put 65,000 people together, you're always going to have some fights. But there were a few more than normal."
Jeanie Dittrich of West Chester, a season ticket holder, said she was offended by drunken fans when she took her 12-year-old son, Austin, to a playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. A woman kept spilling beer on her, and a man next to her son was swearing and helped start a fight.
"We told him beforehand, 'You might see some drunk people, you might hear some ... swearing.' But at the game, I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm going to mar my son for the rest of his life by having him come to this game,'" she said.
Season ticket holders will be notified about the hot line this week, as well as the consequences of bad behavior. The team will show a video promoting the new service at home games.
Bedinghaus said the Bengals expect some prank calls.
"If you get 6,000 people calling this line -- 'Hey, [Steelers quarterback] Ben Roethlisberger is a jerk' -- then it becomes less effective," he said. "The thing to remember is we have caller ID on this line."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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