Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bengals "Jerk-line" Debuted


For those who don't know, the Cincinnati Bengals have installed a hot line for fans to call from their cell phone if they have unruly fans around them during home games.  This came after complaints during several games [read: Steeler games] of fights, bad language and just an overall hostile experience some people had.

First off....this thing is both good and bad.  It is good for those really bad fans who need to be reeled in.   We've all gone to sporting events and had that drunk guy ruining the entire experience for everyone but cursing all loud around our kids or family.....or the group of guys combative against the other team's fans.  In a world of transplants, there are many fans of different teams living within new cities.  I am a Redskins fan living in Cincinnati...so I'm sure I'd be treated rudely during a Skins-Bengals game here in Cincy.  It is to be expected.....but sometimes it is darn near terrorism and downright scary.  Imagine what Steelers and Browns fans must go thru!

Also, Cincy had a little issue with a guy who wandered on the field and stole the ball from Brett Favre [pictured above]. 

If the hot line rids the good fans of the jerk who's spoiling everything....it is a great thing.

The problem is that people have different versions of what a jerk is.

This is America...Land of the Don't Bother Mes and full of NIMBYs.  Meaning, we all don't mind a lot of things....as long as we don't have to look at them.  We need more prisons!!!  Just not in my back yard.  If there is a chance to get something free out of some bull crap [like suing for no reason]...we do it.  Go to a movie theatre....and most people there feel like they are at home and that everyone else is meaningless. 

That's what worries me about this.  You may be a normal fan....get a bit tipsy and may scream a profanity towards Ben Roethlisberger.....which would be fine with about 70,000 people in the stadium.  Ah, but you were within earshot of the one person who brought his 100 year old grandmother to the game who didn't appreciate it and called the Jerk-line to complain about you.  And off you go.


I know this...and you do too....because it's happened to all of us.  I used to work in retail, and sometimes you can really be condesending and a jerk to a customer or two.  I've done it on those bad days.  But, those never get you in trouble.  No, you get in trouble when someone nicely asks you for something...and you politely say "I'm sorry, but we are currently sold out".  They didn't like the fact that you didn't bend over backwards to (a) look for it even though they are the 10th person who's asked for it since you sold out....(b) try to locate it somewhere else for them....or (c) didn't console them in their time of disappointment.  That really happened to me.  It was the day after Thanksgiving [Black Friday in the retail industry] and everything in the ads sells out in an hour.  And with about 20 people around me, some lady walked up behind that mob and said "do you have any more of the TVs in the ad??  Ya know, the ones for $5 [that's an exaggeration on the price, but you get the point that there is no way that cheap TVs last more than an hour]".  I nicely said, "no ma'am, we are sold out"...and continued with the 20 customers I had already.  I then got a phone call from the manager on duty who said she had complained about me for...well, I don't know.  He understood and said that she seemed rather stuffy...but had to check into it. 

That's the issue I have with the jerk line.  It may not be you who is over the line....but someone else with a stick up their backside.


Here is an article on the initial test...ESPN.com - NFL - Bengals' 'Jerk' hot line gets mixed signals in debut

Most of the people who called the Cincinnati Bengals' new hot line for reporting unruly fans just wanted to see if it worked -- or hung up.

About 100 calls had come in to the hot line, 381-JERK, by the end of halftime at the Bengals' preseason game Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The team set up the hot line to allow fans to report excessive foul language, fights and other bad behavior in the stands.

Hamilton County sheriff's deputies were dispatched to handle rowdy fans at least once because of a call to the hot line, said Bob Bedinghaus, the team's director of development for Paul Brown Stadium.

One security guard manned the hot line's sole telephone during the game. The line doesn't have call waiting or voicemail, so some fans might have gotten a busy signal.

Bedinghaus said that's likely to cause complaints, "but we're not going to put 25 people down there to answer phone calls." If the line is busy, fans can ask a security guard or police officer for help.

A call to the hot line alerts security to check out the complaint on camera, then in person if action is warranted. According to Bedinghaus, the team has 38 cameras in the stadium.

"It was a great tool to call attention to something we're trying to address: unruly fans," he said.

Bedinghaus said the team probably will review the hot line's effectiveness after the second home game of the regular season, on Oct. 1 against the New England Patriots.

"If 90 percent of the calls we're getting are prank calls," he said, "we need to re-evaluate this."


No comments: