Sports Law • Risk Management

April 16, 2011: Violent Opening Day Provokes Changes in Security Measures for the Dodgers

Opening day creates excitement and joy amongst many baseball fans; that is unless you go to a stadium wearing the jersey of a visiting team. This was the unfortunate scenario, which occurred in the parking lot of the L.A. Dodgers’ stadium when two Dodgers’ fans physically battered a man who was wearing San Francisco Giants’ apparel. Even though the Dodgers’ won the opening day game against the Giants, it was not enough satisfaction for two of the home team’s fans. Those fans took it one step too far and now several weeks after the beating, the victim is still in the hospital listed in critical condition with severe brain swelling.

In response to the incident, the Dodgers have agreed to pay for more Los Angeles Police Department officers to patrol the games, according to yesterday’s KTLA.com article. Also, the Dodgers made other changes; one of those changes is no longer permitting fans to tailgate. Presumably the Dodgers anticipate if tailgating is banned that fans will less likely become intoxicated, which may reduce outbreaks of violence amongst spectators.

Additionally, lighting has been added, likely in anticipation that crime will more readily be prevented or at least more easily detected. Another anticipated change is that the Dodgers will be eliminating a promotion involving the sale of discounted beer. Despite the more immediate changes, the Dodgers have also hired a professional to assess security policies and procedures to make recommendations for further change.

Unfortunately no arrests have been made in connection with this heinous crime. It is sad that a review of the Dodgers’ safety policies and procedures has come on the heels of a terrible act on its property. However, other facilities can learn from what happened in Los Angeles and take it as a reminder that security measures should regularly be reviewed and revamped to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents.