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Wednesday, October 24, 2007 Column on NFL Pat Downs and Sheehan v. 49ers

I have a new column on Sports entitled "Questioning Legality of Pat Downs." In addition to examining pat downs in general, it looks at Sheehan v. The San Francisco 49ers, a pat down case that will soon be heard by the California Supreme Court.

I had the good fortune of interviewing a number of experts for this piece, including NFL VP of security Milton Ahlerich, two ACLU lawyers (Ann Brick and Rebecca Harrison Steele) working on pat down litigation, Princeton University psychology professor Emily Pronin, and Sports Law Blog's own Luis Cassiano Neves, an expert in international sports law.

I hope you have a chance to read the piece.



Another great article!

I really like how you tied Luis and the international angle into the article, but I think there is a big distinction to be made when discussnig pat-downs here and in Europe. At europeean soccer games (both at the league and national levels), fan violence is very common. It is not uncommon for the organized fan groups to have unofficial groups within the fan base that are responsible for violent acts. Just this past season, the Swedish soccer league handed out severe penalties to several teams where fan violence had gotten out of control. these penalties included forcing some teams to play a few games with NO SPECTATORS! Pat-downs in europe are critically necessary to ensure the safety of spectators and players, since the culture of spectator violence is so deeply rooted.

Just wanted to throw my two cents in.

again, great article!

Blogger Jimmy H -- 10/25/2007 10:52 AM  

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for those kind words. I also appreciate the distinction you raise about European soccer.

Blogger Michael McCann -- 10/26/2007 10:42 PM  

I have a hard time finding that a non-discriminatory search violates personal privacy. What would the plaintiff's reasoning be if a terrorist (a suicide bomber that could've most likely been detected through a cursory search) act did occur, and there was even a small chance that a pat down would've uncovered the plot? I'm not trying to say that a pat down would be very effective when dealing with more advanced methods of terrorist tactics, but it does seem to provide some mode of deterrence.

Blogger Jordan Bird -- 11/01/2007 12:52 PM  

To me, it's kind of like Megan's Law, the Patriot Act, or mandatory drug testing. It IS invasive -- and borderline unconstitutional. But the argument is that it's also necessary. And a lot of people seem to agree with that rationale. But that doesn't necessarily make it right.

In what other context would you allow a stranger to put their hands on your body to feel you up -- Ok, make that, pat you down -- even between your legs? It's pretty much only at the stadiums and the airports, isn't it? In some other situation, you'd be up in arms over it.

So while I'm probably OK with the policy from a safety standpoint, I don't really have a problem with the ACLU challenging it to protect my constitutional rights either.

Blogger cjsamms -- 11/02/2007 12:00 AM  

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