Dunlap: Heinz Field Mask Rule Dependent On Self-Policing

By 93.7 The Fan

Wish I could have more faith in the citizens of our fine country. Sorry, but I just don’t. And it says nothing of the wonderful people of western Pennsylvania or, more to the point, Steeler Country. But I have my serious doubts.

In theory we can give you nice things. But I’m afraid you are not going to know how to handle them carefully.

You’ll just drop the nice things and they’ll shatter into a bazillion pieces.

To wit: The Pittsburgh Steelers sent a correspondence out to season ticket holders explaining what could be happening for the upcoming season. It doesn’t look like there is any possible way there can be a full house. And you can get a refund on your season tickets if you just let them know you don’t want to be one of the people in the stands. But there was something else in the letter that struck me.

It went like this: “Our goal is to still have fans at Heinz Field this year with the understanding that social distancing, as well as all fans being required to wear masks, will play a role in the capacity to ensure a safe atmosphere …” OK, got it.

The Steelers want people to wear masks. They are actually demanding it. This I can get on board with. Whether it is 20,000 people, 10,000 people, 5,000 fans or even 100 admitted to Heinz Field on game day I can understand the concern and the want to do the right thing.

It’s what we must do to mitigate things now.

It’s the smart thing to do.

It’s the safe thing to do.

It’s also something I absolutely, positively don’t trust football fans to end up doing. Sorry, I just don’t.

Over the past few months --- and especially the past few weeks --- what has given you the indication that people can and will do the right thing when they are asked to police themselves in the fight against COVID-19? I sure haven’t seen it.

Look, I would love to say I trust every person who walks in there to pull on his or her mask, strap up that black and gold face covering and conform to the order of the day. Hell, use your extra Terrible Towel and affix it to your face somehow.

But, heck, we see the videos all the time. Some people can’t even do that at the damn supermarket --- and that’s when they are assumed to be sober. Can you imagine the “I ain’t-wearing-my-mask!” tough guy act that you will find inside of Heinz Field from someone who has their entitlement ramped up a bunch of notches by a dozen Yuengling and a football game in front of them?

I sure can. Oh it will be ridiculous.

And who would be policing this? Those security guards at Heinz Field.

You think they really signed up for this?

Now I can see the turnstile, where everyone is checked and made sure to have their mask on upon entry. But after that … ?

Again, do you think those security guards signed up to deal with some less-than-compliant testosterone monger who ain’t havin' no one tell him what to do!?


In a perfect society we could probably just read the order the Steelers sent out and shake our heads in agreement and say, “those are their rules and it is their house. If I want to go to a game, I have to leave my mask on the whole time.”

But I’m here to tell you that’s not how a lot of people think. Don’t believe me? Just take a gander at social media sometime.

People have lost their minds over this mask stuff.

And people will simply tell a security guard to buzz off. That’s the way too many are wired now ---- we simply don’t respect each other enough.

All we have shown recently is that when the bars and restaurants have opened back up, you ran back into them and didn’t social distance. You flocked into the places and couldn’t follow the rules and, more than that, there were documented cases of owners of those places who refused to enforce rules.

And that’s why we are right back where we are.

We were handed back freedoms and abused them.

Just like they are trying to hand us back --- in smaller numbers of course --- the ability to go watch the Steelers in person.

Are you confident we can make it work inside stadiums?

I’d love to be, but I’m not.

There is nothing that has given me any indication people will be compliant. They’ll find a way to screw it up. It’s probably just best for the games to go on now ---- without fans.

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