A football fan endured a gunshot wound to the head outside of the Cowboys-Patriots game Sunday evening despite the NFL’s well-publicized efforts to make their venues gun-free zones.
AT&T Stadium’s “prohibited items” list includes “firearms and weapons of any kind, “[k]nives of any length,” and “[a]ny other item or action deemed dangerous or inappropriate.” Like every other NFL venue, the Arlington, Texas, stadium prohibits guns. But the Cowboys, who boast an NFL attendance record at 105,121, remain relatively powerless to check each incoming vehicle entering their lots for firearms.
Police suspect that neither the victim nor the suspect in Sunday night’s shooting even entered the stadium, where metal detectors and security greet incoming fans. A spokesman for the Arlington, Texas, police told the Dallas Morning News that the alleged perpetrator and the victim now in critical condition “might have been tailgating for a while.” WFAA.com reports that police sources told them that the fans possibly enjoyed the festivities in the parking lot rather than watched the game inside the stadium. The shooting occurred nearly two hours after the conclusion of the Patriots-Cowboys game and during a Blue Jays-Rangers playoff game at Globe Life Stadium. One report claims that a mob “egged on” the shooter.
The NFL’s prohibition on guns does not extend to alcohol. Anheuser-Busch remains an official sponsor of the NFL and provides the unofficial ingredient in a large percentage of fights among fans. The brewer signed a six-year, $1.2 billion sponsorship deal in 2011. The beer companies make the league more money through concession sales, advertising within stadiums, and dollars paid to networks for commercials that indirectly make their way to the NFL in television deals.
In contrast, the league bans advertising from ammunition and weapons manufacturers. Along with strip clubs, cigarettes, casinos, and other sindustries, munitions and weapons companies remain unwelcome during the broadcast breaks of NFL games. The league leans on NBC, ESPN, CBS, and Fox to bar such commercials. “Firearms, ammunition or other weapons” appear on the “Prohibited Advertising Categories” list, “however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.”