The Portland Trail Blazers have issued a press release correcting what they perceive as misinformation regarding entrance to, and exit from, the Moda Center during tonight's Blazers-Indiana Pacers game. The text of the release follows:
There were media reports tonight that Moda Center was in lockdown to prevent entry and exit by guests attending the Portland Trail Blazers game versus Indiana. These reports were false. As with any event, ticketed guests gained entry into the building. And when guests were ready to leave, they were allowed to exit. When the game ended, complete egress from the building was guided through safe and convenient exits.
Tonight's heightened police presence in light of the anticipated public protests was a safety precaution for our guests and property. We greatly appreciate the men and women of the Portland Police Department, and our own internal Security, Guest Services and Operations staffs for their professional management of tonight's events. We also thank our Trail Blazers fans and Rose Quarter guests for their cooperation and understanding.
A couple of things stand out:
1. They're unclear as to whether, and how, access to the stadium was controlled. "Cooperation and understanding" of what, exactly?
2. While it's understandable that they'd issue thanks to the police and their own security staff, it's an interesting move since protests across the nation involve critique of just such forces. This is not to impugn Portland's police officers nor to suggest that the Blazers should take sides, rather that their statement could be perceived as taking sides in a deep, complex, and charged issue...narrowing it down to their own needs and concerns. It'll be interesting to see whether this press release (to the extent it gets reprinted) will be taken at face value or will be seen by some as detachment from the issues being contested. One wonders if they wouldn't have been served by devoting a line of their statement to those who perceive themselves to be fighting for justice and issues far larger than basketball.