Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Gordon Johnston vs. The NFL Who Cried Wolf

Gordon Johnston didn’t want to be frisked. So as the 60-year-old high school teacher approached the gates of Raymond James Stadium here for a Buccaneers football game last month, he lifted the team jersey he was wearing to show it wasn’t necessary. He was concealing no bombs. It didn’t work.

So reports the Washington Post in “In Tampa, Fan Sues Over NFL ‘Pat-Downs’.”

Johnston is claiming “a constitutional right to put at risk tens of thousands of citizens of Hillsborough County because he prefers to watch NFL games live, in the stadium, rather than on television,” Richard M. Zabak, an attorney for the sports authority that owns the stadium, wrote in court papers. “A terrorist attack at a stadium during an NFL game could kill or maim thousands.”

Really, Mr. Zabak? Could you expand on that statement? What exactly could Mr. Johnston conceal under his shirt that could kill thousands?

The NFL may have a case here. But they sure don’t make it by scoffing (Washington Post’s term) at Mr. Johnston questioning their policy. There may even be reasonable reasons. I suspect if there were, they would have been put forth.

[Please feel free to comment in a respectful manner. Many of the comments that you see are on, or perhaps even over the line, but I’ve left them for now. Calling people idiots, or calling for their death, doesn’t advance the debate. Please feel free to explain why someone’s ideas are foolish. I’m particularly curious to learn why long lines of people waiting to be frisked are seen as a worse target than the inside of the stadium.]

7 comments on "Gordon Johnston vs. The NFL Who Cried Wolf"

  • Adam says:

    Oh, and what’s a “sports authority?” Is that like a company, only owned by the government, not accountable to the taxpayers who are on the hook for its debts or mis-management, and claiming exemption from the Constitutional rules which govern the behavior of government bodies?

  • Ben Nagy says:

    My favourite quote from the article is this (emphasis mine):
    “The NFL policy calls for every ticket-holder to stand with arms extended to be patted from the waist up.
    What a perfect example of stupid security.

  • J D Sheets says:

    God forbid something should happen and a person sneaks a bomb in and causes a disaster, how will Mr Johnston feel then. I would hope that if that happenes he and the aclu would be sued. I know I certainly would file suite against them both.

  • Adam says:

    God forbid someone sets a bomb off while people are in line waiting to be searched? Would you then sue the NFL?

  • AB says:

    I am afraid that I cannot agree with Mr. Johnston’s stand against pat-downs before sporting events. Large crowds present the perfect opportunity for terrorist to inflict major harm upon innocent citizens. If Mr. Johnston feels that strongly about pat-downs perhaps he should stay home and let the pat-downs continue. He won’t be affected and those that are will perhaps be a little safer. These are perilous time and we must always be on guard. The good of the many STILL outweighs the good of the few.

  • Steven VonMaasz says:

    JD Sheets, You not only don’t understand the Constitution or what it means to be an American, you are entirely ignorant concerning tort law, as you will discover when you try to sue the heroic Gordon Johnston and the ACLU. Protect and defend the Constitution, and let the cowards move to Red China!

  • scott says:

    I hope that Mr. Johston and those who agree with his stand are stting next to the bomb when it goes off and not one of my family memebers. The liberals always want it both ways.

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