The NFL is changing the way it handles identification of and security for reporters covering this year’s Super Bowl. Specifically, reporters covering Super Bowl LII will have to give their racial identification.
In previous years, the NFL conducted all its own security checks for media personnel and let the FBI conduct checks for vendors and other workers. However, this year, the FBI will be doing all the checks.
And apparently, the FBI feels that race is “crucial” for identification purposes.
Crucial, but not required
League spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Washington Post that the FBI’s process for the press was “consistent with checks that are done for others who receive a working credential,” including the racial information.
However, the FBI said that it had never required the information, despite asking for it. While the FBI considered racial identification important for sight identification, it was still possible for people to choose not to give that information.
“Consistent with the support we have provided in the past for special events such as the Super Bowl, the FBI will conduct name checks as requested using personally identifiable information,” an FBI spokesperson said in a statement. “We seek to do this in a manner which is efficient and effective, yet minimally intrusive. Identification of race is not required to complete these checks, and we are working to reduce any confusion about this issue.”
Previously, journalists were asked to provide a Social Security number, passport information, or a photo ID as their identification for security purposes. However, the Post reported that law enforcement agencies are increasingly asking for racial identification.
Still, it’s hard to ignore the timing of this change or the fact that the press information for the Super Bowl requires racial identification despite the FBI’s insistence that it’s not required. After all, the NFL has been wracked with controversy with the #TakeAKnee movement and has accused protesting players of wrecking their ratings.