The National Football League is urging players and fans to follow the guidance issued Tuesday by the league office in Atlanta, following the recent death of NFL safety Charles Woodson.
The NFL says it has reached out to all NFL clubs, coaches, players, the medical staff, NFL security and safety departments, as well as local police, the FBI and state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that every person, regardless of their ability to pay, will be able to attend a football game and play with their loved ones.
“It’s a reminder to all of us to take precautions, especially for those with mobility challenges, to be safe,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said.
Goodell also issued a statement on Twitter: “This is an important time for the league to communicate our thoughts and concerns to our fans and the entire league.
We will continue to work with our teams to identify and address any issues.”
Goodell said he wants to be sure that the NFL community knows that the safety of its players, coaches and fans is the NFL’s top priority.
“We’ve made significant progress in recent years to help protect the health and well-being of our players, fans and communities, and we have not stopped there,” Goodell said in the statement.
“In the meantime, we continue to encourage our players and our fans to be cautious when attending sporting events and to remain vigilant when making any decisions, especially when it comes to traveling.”
The league office issued a safety advisory for its games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, with the caveat that players and/or fans are encouraged to be extra vigilant and follow safety instructions.
“As always, we encourage all our fans, players and employees to remain alert and consider all of the potential risks that come with traveling,” the NFL statement read.
“For fans, it is important to stay away from certain areas of the stadium, particularly the south end zone and the west end zone, and to exercise caution in areas near the end zone as well.”
The NFL said that it has made safety training and training sessions available to its employees.
“There are multiple safety initiatives that we’re taking, including the use of video replay, and safety awareness and education programs,” the statement continued.
“All of our employees are being trained to use cameras throughout the stadium to monitor and record any safety issues and conduct awareness training to ensure safety during all aspects of the game.
We’ve also updated our website and app to include video of all safety-related incidents.”
The Atlanta Falcons, who host the New Orleans Saints in their season opener, are scheduled to play Sunday at 6 p.m.
Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said Tuesday that the Falcons will make “every effort” to make sure the stadium is clear of crowds and “make sure everybody is well-behaved.”
“We’ll be very mindful of everyone in the stadium,” Quinn said.
“I would say it is a pretty big event.
It is going to be a huge game.
There is going be a lot of excitement.
We want to make everybody aware of what’s going on, what’s happening.
We’re going to make every effort to make that as clear as possible.”
NFL players are expected to be in attendance to celebrate a win in the playoffs on Sunday, and the league said that all teams will have a “safety-first” culture.
The league said it will also offer free shuttle buses for fans to access the stadium.