NE Philly pol looking to outlaw hoagie ban

BRINGING A hoagie to an Eagles game should be every fan’s right, according to a Northeast Philadelphia legislator.

State Rep. Michael P. McGeehan, a Democrat from Holmesburg, is gathering co-sponsors for a state law to block the Birds’ BYO food ban at the new Lincoln Financial Field.

Dubbed “Joe Sixpack’s Own Food Rights Act,” it already has more than 30 co-sponsors in the Legislature, McGeehan said yesterday.

“It just got under my skin,” he said of the team’s well-publicized hoagie ban. “The arrogance of team owners . . . They’re up here rattling their tin cup, looking for public funding for the darn [stadium], and part of their presentation was they wanted to provide family-oriented entertainment.

“Then, at the first opportunity, they want to gouge the very people they said they were representing.”

The hoagie ban has prompted a widespread outcry from fans across the region. Already, more than 1,500 people have signed a Daily News petition asking the Eagles to rescind the ban.

The team, though, has held fast, saying its BYO food prohibition is a necessary post-9/11 security measure.

McGeehan isn’t buying that.

“I’m mindful of security,” he said. “We’re going to be inconvenienced in our daily lives now when we enter public buildings. That’s unfortunately modern life after 9/11.

“But I can walk onto an airplane with a hoagie, I can walk into the state Capitol with a hoagie.”

The team’s security concerns, he said, are “a red herring for them to shut down one more avenue for people to save money.”

An Eagles spokesman had no comment on the measure.

McGeehan’s bill would prevent taxpayer-financed stadiums and sports arenas from banning outside food.

The Eagles received $150 million from the state to build the new stadium in South Philadelphia.

“They’re using Joe Sixpack’s tax dollars to fund that stadium, and then they ‘re sticking their finger right in his eye,” McGeehan said.

“This is an assault on the tradition of football. This isn’t the opera, this is a professional sport. It’s part of the game.”

Though Gov. Rendell has said he agrees with the ban, McGeehan said: “I know he’s a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan. When push comes to shove, he’s siding with the fans . . .

“There’s not a representative in Harrisburg who will side with the owners over the fans,” he continued. “This is all about making rich guys richer at the expense of the public and their tax dollars.

“All they want is pat in the skyboxes. They want the diamond crowd. They don ‘t want people from Tacony and Wissinoming and Mayfair, painting their faces.

“All they want is a polite golf clap and a $6 beer.

“I think this is all about gouging the public and getting every last dime from them. Unless we do something, they’ll get away with it.”


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