words // Nick Engvall

Last night the United States received word from President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Without getting into the politics of it all, as the news spread it quickly became a part of the sports world. Specifically, the New York Mets and Phillies game at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia where fans began to patriotically chant, “U-S-A…U-S-A,” louder and louder as the news spread throughout the stadium. For those watching the moment was powerful, regardless of beliefs. According to ESPN for example, Pedro Beato, who was a freshman in high school in New York during 9/11, was informed of the news just before entering the game and pitching 3 scoreless innings.

Image courtesy of YahooHowever, in that same stadium almost a year ago today was one of the most controversial sports moments in recent history. A 17-year old fan, who had gotten onto the field illegally, was tasered by by a Philadelphia police officer. The debate on right or wrong went on for weeks, and really came to no conclusion, simply because it’s all a matter of opinion. However, whether things have become tighter with security in sports since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, is not debatable. Everything has become a little closer watched and bit less convenient, sporting events are no exception.

Today, after last night’s news, the NBA announced that security for the remaining playoff games would once again be elevated to another level. For the first time, the use of metal detectors at the doors will be mandatory as fans head into the stadiums. Beginning tonight in Chicago, as the Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks, and for the remainder of the playoffs, fans will be at the mercy of the wand when trying to support their team.

While increased security does add a sense of safety for some, it also increases the level of concern for others. For those headed to any of the remaining NBA Playoff games, and potentially games further down the road, heightened security will likely be the norm from now on. Whether that’s good or bad is definitely debatable.