September 29, 2011
To stand or not to stand: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the crowd to suffer the boredom and passivity of sitting down or to stand up against the wishes of outrageous management, and by opposing, get kicked out. To stand, to sit? No more.
With the help of noted Cleveland Browns fan Bill Shakespeare, we present the star-crossed tale of Rob Stipe, a Dawg Pound fan who dresses up for games in a wig, face paint and shoulder pads and was recently kicked out of his seat at
Cleveland Browns Stadium for standing up too much during games.
Stipe, a ticket holder of 25 years, was told by security personnel to sit during the first quarter of Sunday's game when he was standing during a third down. Later in the game, he was standing again and was asked to leave his seat due to a new rule that immediately boots second-offenders.
Stipe insists his standing isn't excessive. Adam Wright of The Chronicle-Telegram explains:
According to Stipe, "excessive standing" has become a bit of a no-no at Cleveland Browns Stadium over the last few seasons. Last year, he was also scolded for the offense and three sheriff's deputies were sent to meet him outside the bathroom to tell him to use his seat more.
"We do not stand all the time," the 35-year-old explained, referring to the as many as 12 friends and family who share season tickets. "We stand on first down, we stand at the beginning of this game, we stand at kickoff. We stand. We are standers, but we're also courteous to other people. If somebody says, 'Hey man, will you sit down?' Sure, I will love to sit down for you. No problem."
A Browns official told the newspaper that the standing rule is enforced only if other fans complain and that security personnel aren't scanning the crowd for standers. Stipe, who said he always honors requests to sit, admitted later in the story that he'd prefer everyone to stand.
"I hate the people who sit down at a game," he said. "It's not that I try to stand and [expletive] everyone off. I want everyone to stand so that when we're on national TV we don't look like lumps on a log."
National TV? We're talking about the Browns here, right?
Look, I sympathize with Stipe. I much prefer standing to sitting while at games; it makes me feel like I'm into the game more. It also looks much better on television. But the decision to stand or sit is a collective one made by the crowd. If the people behind you aren't standing and aren't taking cues from you to stand, you're a jerk if you keep doing it. Stipe tells a sob story, but I'm guessing his one-sided account leaves out some key details about the extent of his standing, the annoyance of the crowd behind him or his reaction to security personnel. If his version is the complete truth, this is a preposterous miscarriage of ticket-holder justice. More likely than not, he wasn't booted for standing as much as he was for refusing to sit.
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