Football Fan Aggression: Online Anger Management Course

Whether you’re into football or not, you’ve probably heard about the recent outrage over replacement refs in the NFL and their botched calls—it’s been front-page news this week. But have you heard the news regarding football fan aggression and what now happens to angry football fans whose offensive behavior gets them ejected from the stadium? Therapy. Kind of.

The new NFL policy is to make a four-hour online anger management course mandatory for such folks. According to ESPN, this is a new addition to the 2008 NFL Fan Code of Conduct, which was “designed to set clear expectations and encourage a stadium environment that is enjoyable for all fans.”

If things go the way they did last year, this means about 7000 unruly fans could be affected.

The developer of the course is psychologist and Certified Anger Management Professional Ari Novick, who explained to ESPN that ousted fans this year will receive “a letter that encourages them to apologize to the team and complete the course. If they fail to meet the requirement, and they are caught on stadium property, they are told they could be arrested for trespassing.”

The course, available at, includes info about such topics as alcohol abuse, anger management, communication, and stress management.

Novick is a proponent of this type of anger management therapy in general. In an online article, he states:

If the thought of talking directly to a therapist fills you with dread then an anger class online might be the perfect solution for you. Anger classes online can give you the theory, knowledge and skills that you need to get your anger under control, and find other outlets for your excess energy and/ or aggression. With time, these classes help in many areas of life. With anger classes online you are allowed to progress privately, and in your own time. Anger management classes prevent relationship destruction, both in your personal and professional life, giving you back your confidence and self esteem, and helping you to enjoy the pleasurable things in life again.

What’ll it cost each sufferer of football fan aggression to take such a course? It varies. At least a few NFL teams are charging $55, whereas at least one other, the New England Patriots, is asking $100—though $45 of that goes to a charity that promotes the use of sober designated drivers.

So, think twice before you yell, punch, bully, and otherwise let your anger get out of whack at the football game. That kind of violence is for the players only.

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