The railing was part of an ADA-accessible seating section designed to hold six persons in wheelchairs and six companions. At last night’s game, the section was full of excited Eagles fans, reaching over to high five Hurts. The Washington Football Team’s spokesperson did not comment on why so many people were on the ramp intended to hold only twelve. It is unclear whether the collapse was caused by poor crowd control by security, a structural fault, or a combination of both.
For years, sports commentators and athletes have commented on FedEx Field’s embarrassing state of disrepair. Quarterback Kirk Cousins said it “doesn’t look like a professional field should.” Seahawks Fullback Michael Robinson felt even stronger about the horrible conditions, saying the “field should be illegal,” “that’s like working in a sweatshop to me.”
FedEx Field was built in 1997, and it had its first major renovation in May of 2021. Even after replacing drainage systems and other parts of the field’s infrastructure, it remains a hazardous environment for fans and athletes alike. In September, just four months after the significant improvements to irrigation systems across the facility, fans were drenched with dirty rainwater after a pipe broke above them. A little over a month ago, sprinklers drenched fans in the executive suites. Thankfully, these two incidents did not cause any severe injuries, but it is troubling to see such serious issues at a facility that regularly holds over 82,000 people.
The January 2nd railing collapse is not the first time serious injuries have occurred at FedEx Field. In 2018, GLG’s client, a United Press International photographer, was thrown to the ground by an NFL security officer. When Redskins Quarterback Alex Smith got hurt, medical staff rushed him off the field. The UPI photographer began taking pictures from his permitted position on the field, alongside many other photojournalists. The security officer violently attacked him for no justifiable reason, severely injuring his person and damaging another photographer’s valuable equipment. Amazingly enough, he captured a great photo before getting tackled. GLG achieved a substantial settlement in 2019 for the award-winning photographer.