I sent the following letter to my season ticket rep tonight after the D.C. United game. I wanted to share it here to encourage others to voice their opinions or concerns about what happened outside of the stadium tonight (I've redacted mine and my season ticket rep's names)...
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:22 PM
To: Season Ticket Rep - Seattle Sounders FC (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Security Missteps
Season ticket rep,
I know the security issues before the game today were not your fault, but you’re my season ticket rep, so I’m sending this mail to you. Please forward this on to whomever has control over this.
I was extremely disappointed with the way these new security policies were administered before the D.C. United match tonight. I followed my normal pre-match commute schedule and arrived at the stadium at 6:30, a half hour prior to the kickoff time of 7pm. Normally this give me time to spin the Autograph Ally wheel with my kids, buy food, and still be in my seats for the national anthem. However, today when I got in line to go through the security checkpoints, I waited 10 minutes in a "line" (actually just a mass of people with no order at all) before I took this picture…
I had brought my 5-year-old son and my 12-year-old daughter to the game. The mass confusion was unnerving as I tried to keep track of my children. As the frustration of the crowd built, many began booing loudly and chanting "Give us your full 85" repeatedly (implying that we’d all get in 5 minutes after kickoff) and "Police State" (for obvious reasons). People began to press tighter together. Some people began walking backwards through the crowd away from the stadium. When I asked why (wondering if there was another, more efficient entrance) they said they’d rather watch the game in a bar than deal with this mess.
Finally, about the time the fireworks were going off for the end of the national anthem, the security personnel gave up on the metal detectors and just let everyone through. This is the moment where I felt mine and my children’s safety was most at risk. Everyone was rushing and pushing to get through the gates hoping not to miss any of the game. I nearly lost my 5-year-old son in the chaos. As a father trying to keep track of 2 children, I will say that it was terrifying.
I know that Sounders FC has added these security measures because they believe that it improves security (I won’t bother debating the nuances of "security theater" which this obviously was since they gave up and let everyone in), however I can definitively say that this is the game where I have felt the most danger of any Sounders event I’ve attended since 2009. Ironically (and sadly), the danger was a direct result of the security "improvements."
I am writing this letter to request that the Sounders suspend all changes to security at least until more thought has been put into the logistics of how to administer the changes. I can assure you that if my safety or the safety of my children is put in danger in this way in future matches this season, the least of the actions I will take is to discontinue my season ticket purchase.
Thank you for your attention and concern on this very serious matter,
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