The NFL has plenty of policies consistent across NFL stadiums, but one that is not the same everywhere is a policy on bringing in signs for games. In the NFC West, for example, the San Francisco 49ers (Levi’s Stadium) and Los Angeles Rams (LA Coliseum) have a strict no sign policy. The Rams will allow them in with prior management approval, but otherwise it’s no signs. The Seattle Seahawks (CenturyLink Field) and Arizona Cardinals (University of Phoenix Stadium) do allow signs, although they have some restrictions on size and whether or not they obstruct views.
I bring this up because Levi’s Stadium has had some issues recently with an inconsistent approach to enforcing their no sign policy. On Wednesday, two 49ers fan posted via Instagram saying they were told to throw away her pro-Colin Kaepernick signs. It became an issue because of inconsistent enforcement around them. One person said people in front of her were able to go through security with a Fire Baalke sign. The other person said someone in front of her had a sign mentioning a GoldRush cheerleader, and was able to take a picture with a cheerleader before going in with the sign.. I’ve posted the two Instagram posts below and you can read their entire statements there.
If you go to the Levi’s Stadium prohibited items page, it includes signs, banners, and poles. So, no signs are allowed. That’s pretty simply. The problem comes in executing the policy. I spoke with the 49ers and they emphasized that it has been a policy for years to not allow signs. There are concerns about blocked views and people getting poked in the eye. They acknowledged that people do sneak signs in, but security works to confiscate any signs once they’ve been seen, found, or reported by somebody.
While I like seeing creatives signs on TV as much as the next person, I get why a team might choose to not allow signs. However, the problem comes in inconsistent execution of the policy. I see enough signs on TV, on Twitter, and in our photo tool (see the picture above) that I fully believe these fan who said people in front of them had signs that were out.
Now, do I see a conspiracy against Kaepernick? No. I could be proven wrong, but I do not think the 49ers have told stadium personnel to confiscate pro-Kap signs. However, the problem that arises is inconsistent enforcement. And when a person is told they cannot bring in a sign after seeing another person bring in a sign, I will not blame them for thinking they are being singled out. Consider one of the women saw a “Fire Baalke” sign. If there was a conspiracy, I feel like they would be more likely to prevent that kind of sign over a friendly Kap sign.
We have two examples, so obviously the sample size is incredibly small. But taking these two examples under consideration, if there is not an inconsistent approach, it is entirely possible that a security person who has a problem with Kap might choose to more firmly enforce the policy for those signs. That is not necessarily what was going on, but poor implementation of policy is going to lead to problems.
All I would ask is that the 49ers and their stadium management company work with the employees to ensure that the rules are consistently enforced. It is on management to make this situation right for all fans enjoying games at Levi’s Stadium.
Kaepernick Fan Says She Was Told To Throw Her Sign Away At Sunday’s Home Game | via ThatBayGirl on twitter: So I have to say what happened to me at my 2nd ever @49ers game this past Sunday. I bought my tickets to come see @Kaepernick7. I even got a Kaepernick jersey finally so I was beyond thrilled. I knew I was going to make my sign for him and I did. The sign was simple but said, "WE LOVE KAP" with his #7 drawn on it. I was so excited, I was going to hold my sign up with my @Kaepernick7 jersey on and my fist raised high. With everything going on I knew I would get backlash but I didn't expect it from fellow #49ers fans. But Idc I stood my ground & talked back. And I hadn't even gotten to the stadium yet. But I was determined to not allow simple minded people to break my spirit. Then I got to the stadium, mind you there was a young white couple ahead of me in the line that had a "FIRE BAALKE" sign. They got through security easily, no question with their sign right in the face of the security and employees checking them in. Then it was my turn. Of course they looked and read my sign looked at my jersey then told me I couldn't come in the stadium with my sign. That they didn't allow signs in the stadium anymore. I argued about the couple they just got allowed in and of course they gave me attitude and said its not about them that they are talking to me. At this point I am devastated and heartbroken. I refuse to get rid of my sign that I made to show love. Yes, it's just a sign and I'm a grown woman but it was more then that. Well security was mad and said throw it away or go check it in. The game had already started and the line was already long and I was prideful, mad, hurt and beyond livid. I was ready to leave. But I couldn't let them take seeing @Kaepernick7 away from me. So I went in after walking back to check my sign in. I missed all of the first half and most of the 3rd. This was so unfair I'm still shocked it happened. So many people had signs. I counted 10 before I got too upset. This wasn't right and opened my eyes even more. It ruined me ever going back to a game.
Repost from @hehurst13 (originally posted on Monday): Yesterday before the game and in front of Levi stadium!! Got to the stadium gate I was told by security that I couldn't bring my sign in. I was pissed. What made me more mad was that I saw the security guy that told me I couldn't bring and chewed him out. He said, "my supervisor told me no signs" but then I told him you just let a guy and a GoldRush cheerleader take a picture with a guy that had a poster that said "all I want for Christmas is a picture with savanna." I told him that is not right and why does this stadium have this rule because at all the other stadiums in the NFL you can bring a sign in. @kaepernick7 @yourrightscamp