What does it take to get kicked out of a Baltimore Ravens game? Mary Kate Morris and Nicole Marchetto say it was merely kissing in line at a concessions stand. But reps for M&T Bank Stadium say it was a much larger infraction: stealing a plastic cup.
At halftime during a Sept. 26 Ravens game against the Cleveland Browns, Morris and Marchetto were kissing casually while waiting in line to buy beer and french fries. They grabbed a plastic cup on the counter to pour ketchup into. But then a security guard spotted their PDA, asked them to “stop making a scene,” repeated his warning twice, and then demanded to see their driver’s licenses before insisting they leave, accusing them of also stealing the beer. The police got involved (and shot down the beer theft theory; the women had receipts) and three officers escorted the couple out of the stadium.
“Straight couples were kissing all around us,” says Morris (on left), who was at her first Ravens game. “[S]ome fans were not only approving but cheered us.” But what about that STOLEN CUP!
After checking with security personnel, Jan Hardesty, a media spokesperson for the Maryland Stadium Authority, said the ejection was a result of “unauthorized removal of inventory,” referring to the plastic cup. According to Hardesty, an employee of Aramark, the company that operates the concession stands, witnessed the removal of the cup to pour ketchup. Each item must be accounted for, Hardesty said.
What Hardesty does not mention is that Morris offered to pay for the cup.
Marchetto went to buy french fries and walked away with a cup for ketchup. Morris says she meant no harm and offered to pay for the cup, but the same security guard who told them to stop kissing wanted them out. “He was like we have a problem. You stole the cup that you’re eating your fries out of. Well Nic was like, ‘Are you kidding? How much do you want for it? I didn’t know cups were this sacred here,” Morris said.
So how are the Ravens dealing with the controversy? They’re not: “We’re aware of the incident, and we’re satisfied with the action taken by the concessionaire, security and police,” reads a statement from Kevin Byrne, senior VP of public and community relations.
Let’s not pretend there is any controversy over a stolen cup. Concession stand workers will hand you an extra cup if you ask for it, so you can share your soda with a friend, or fill it from the water fountain. What’s sad is that’s the best defense the Ravens have: the burglary of a 3 cent piece of plastic. Instead of focusing on the less-than-petty crime, the Ravens had the option of admitting fault — that the security guard should have never intervened, and escorting them out of the stadium was a gross overreaction to a non-issue.
Instead the team decided it would treat gay fans as less than, which professional sports teams already have been getting away with.