October 25, 2005

NFL wheelchair cushion searches upset crips

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

TAMPA, FLORIDA--About 60 Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans received letters from the Tampa Sports Authority explaining that their wheelchair seat cushions would be inspected for safety reasons, and asking them to provide updated personal information -- including a list of medical needs from their doctors.

According to the Tampa Tribune, the National Football League's new security requirements call for pat-down searches of all fans, including wheelchair users.

The Council for Disability Rights said it opposes the cushion inspection because it represents a higher level of security than what fans who do not use wheelchairs face at the turnstiles.

"They're victimizing a whole group of people," said executive director Jo Holzer. "That cushion is part of the wheelchair."

Authority officials said they want to work with fans.

"We're bending over backwards to accommodate them," said Mickey Farrell, the stadium's operations director, who mentioned that officials could bring in drug-sniffing dogs as one alternative. "There's nothing sinister."

"Wheelchair Search Upsets Mom" (Tampa Tribune)

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Posted on October 25, 2005