Security Absurdity: Putting Up With Pat-Downs

The homeland war on terrorism impacts relatively few terrorists. Security concerns necessarily inconvenience the masses.

It’s the nature of asymmetrical warfare. It’s also the price we pay not just to improve our chances of avoiding an atrocity and staying alive – but living our way of life.

Having said that, we can still do some pretty stupid things in the good name of national security and self preservation. The National Football League’s pat-down policy comes readily to mind.

It’s perversely egalitarian; everybody gets searched. As a result, you have 2-year-old tykes, senior citizens in wheelchairs and Cindy Gruden submitting their hips, bellies and backs for frisking. You never know who may be packing mass-destruction heat.

About the only thing more outrageous is the Bucs asking the Tampa Sports Authority to pay for it. Most NFL teams cover the increased security that comes with a post-9/11 world. But Malcolm Glazer isn’t most owners. The TSA is paying $9,500 per pat-down game at Raymond James Stadium. And it’s still out $237,000 for past unpaid security bills since 2001.

To be fair, the Bucs have a technical case. Its stadium agreement, which dates to 1996, stipulates that the TSA pay for security. The TSA construes that to mean the 1996 level of security. No one was anticipating the post-9/11 ratcheting of security measures.

That was then and this is now, says the TSA. That was then, and this is an extension of then, say the Glazers.

To be fairer, still, the Bucs should at least compromise with the authority. There’s plenty of precedent around the league for teams doing a lot more. But the Bucs remain public-relations and good-will challenged when it comes to their bottom line. Even for relatively chump change.

Obviously, Malcolm Glazer would rather be checked for explosives than write a check.

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