The NFL has begun requiring fans who are ejected from a stadium to take an online course before they are permitted to come back.
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The program’s four-hour course is an extension of the NFL Fan Code of Conduct launched in 2008 to address unruly fans according to a report Saturday by ESPN.com. Course content focuses on anger management, alcohol and crude behavior.
About 7,000 fans were ejected from NFL stadiums last season, the report said.
Here’s how the program works:
Fans who get thrown out of stadiums for bad behavior will be sent a letter that encourages them to apologize to the team and complete the course at their own cost. If they fail to do so and are caught on stadium property, they are told they could be arrested for trespassing.
The cost of the online course varies by team. According to the report, the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons charge the least at $50, while the New England Patriots charge a league-high $100.
When a fan completes the course designed by psychotherapist Dr. Ari Novick, the team is sent a notification.
A small number of teams experimented with the course in recent seasons. The remaining teams adopted the policy this offseason. The Chicago Bears note the rule on their website, but a random check showed several other clubs have not yet added the policy to their posted codes of conduct.
"This program was designed to say to people, ‘We want you to have fun when you come to a game, but you have to understand that your actions can affect people and there are rules to abide by,’" Novick told the website.