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Your T-Shirts Are Okay With FedExField. Also, Lots Of Mike Wise and Dave Donovan

Posted by Matt Terl on October 27, 2009 – 6:32 pm

It’s not often that the Redskins Chief Operating Officer, David Donovan, finds himself battling the host of a local sportstalk radio show. So when it happens, I figure it’s worth going into stenographer mode for at least a chunk of it. The discussion was wide-ranging and, especially during the second half, lively bordering on heated.

It was also long, and one thing that got alluded to but not resolved were the questions about what is and isn’t allowed into FedExField, which has spiraled on blogs and message boards into questions of stadium censorship and drawn exciting comparisons to fascist dictatorships.

I figured I should start by talking to Donovan about those things, just to get them squared away moving forward, so here they are as clearly as I could determine them.

Banners and signs are not allowed FedExField. Yes, as Dan Steinberg spotted, this policy has undergone a change; I’m told it’s because banners were blocking people’s view, jabbing at people, and just generally getting in the way.

(Donovan says as much during the interview, in fact, in a portion that isn’t transcribed below. So here it is: “The banners, we do have a prohibition against signs and banners in the stadium, and we don’t care what they say. We take them down. They get in the way of other people viewing the game, and people get poked in the head — that stuff happens. We have an absolute prohibition; we don’t care what they say.”)

Whatever the reason, this is pretty cut and dried at this point. No banners.

However, your T-shirts are allowed as long as they don’t feature profanity, and much of what reportedly went down Monday night with the confiscating of shirts should not have happened. Here’s Donovan’s direct quote to me:

“Our policy regarding messages on T-shirts and other clothing is simple: if it doesn’t display profanity, it’s fine,” he said. “It’s not our policy to regulate clothing based on the message it displays. We’ve heard the anecdotal reports that some stadium personnel were being over-zealous in their handling of this matter Monday night. We apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced as well as fans who were distressed by the reports, and we’ll be working with all stadium employees to be certain that the policy is correctly enforced at future games at FedExField.”

There. Now that THAT’S sorted out, on to the transcript. What’s here is the second half of the interview; the first half primarily concerned how many Redskins fans were in attendance Monday night, compared to what the Washington Post — for which Wise is a sports columnist — predicted. I’ve omitted that, because I’ve already written my thoughts on the subject.

But the second half is where things get prickly, where Donovan and Wise start debating the Post’s coverage of the team — including the stories about sales to ticket brokers and suing fans — so that’s what’s after the jump. Read more »

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