The worst stadium in the NFL (by far) lived up to its reputation/reality on Sunday, when a railing gave way and nearly wiped out Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Hurts was lucky. Others weren’t. They fell to the ground. While none suffered serious harm, injuries occurred.
There’s also a dispute as to whether FedEx Field officials offered medical assistance to those who fell. Said the Washington Football Team on Sunday night, “To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered onsite medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord. We’re very glad no one appears to have been seriously injured. The safety of our fans and guests is of the utmost importance and we are looking into what occurred.”
One of the fans who fell disputed that contention.
“They didn’t ask if anyone was hurt, and they sure as hell didn’t ask if anybody needed medical attention,” Andrew Collins told Tim McManus of ESPN.com. “The only thing the staff said to us was to get the F off the field.”
Mike Naimoli agreed with that assessment, calling the statement from the team “completely incorrect.” Per McManus, Naimoli claims the fans were told this: “‘Everybody get the F off the field,’ and [they] quickly grabbed us away from Jalen and shooed us up into the stands.”
McManus reports that Prince George’s County EMS personnel treated those who needed medical attention. One media member was carted off. McManus adds that one fan suffered a cervical strain and a head injury, as well as elbow and knee contusions.
The league told McManus that it is investigating the situation, as it should. Whatever the reason for the collapse of the railing, it should not have happened. It’s a matter of basic safety engineering and risk assessment and elimination. And it’s probably not the first time that there had been concerns about the railing in that area as fans clamored to catch the attention of a player from the visiting team. (And, yes, there probably are emails about it.)
People complain about lawyers (until they need one, that is). But it’s litigation and the threat of litigation that forces companies to ensure the safety of products and the security places of public accommodation. While some companies overreact with warning labels that provoke ridicule of the lawyers who previously made those companies compensate victims of past harm arising from negligence or recklessness, the significant financial impact that can arise from liability for injuries to paying customers provides a clear incentive to keep people safe.
Ideally, those companies would be primarily motivated by doing the right thing. Far too often, that’s not enough. In this case, whatever fair payment must be made to those who were injured hopefully will prompt the powers that be to fix this problem before it happens again.
Or, better yet, to abandon the dump where Washington currently plays its home games.