During the Redskins' 23-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 3 at FedEx Field just outside Washington, Cable says, an obnoxious Steelers fan kept waving a "Terrible Towel" in the 47-year-old Cable's face and screaming, "Redskins suck!"
Rather than escalate the confrontation, the Lusby, Md., resident quietly sent a text message to the stadium's security command center. Security people responded quickly. When the Steelers fan gave them a hard time, he was ejected.
"It worked great," Cable says.
It also reflected how fans are embracing new text-messaging systems that allow fans in NFL stadiums to inconspicuously report unruly neighbors without confronting them, a provocative tactic many of the league's 32 teams are using to enforce the conduct code announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 5.
Some worry about the Orwellian implications of this technique:
Nick Gillespie, editor of the libertarian video site reason.tv, is "worried about overzealous enforcement on the part of security." Fans snitching on each other only adds to the "surveillance state that's America," he says.
This is a ridiculous complaint. No one is entitled to privacy while misbehaving in a public place. Additionally, upon receiving complaints, security watches the reported person from a discreet distance to observe the reported behavior for themselves before addressing the unruly fan. If they need to take action, they do. If not, "no harm, no foul."