After a wail of protest from fans, cowbells will again be permitted at Winnipeg Blue Bombers home games.
“After listening to our fans, we would like to inform everyone that over the counter purchased cowbells will be permitted at home games this season, but homemade noisemakers such as empty paint cans with rocks inside or any other device that may be deemed unsafe by our security staff will not be permitted,” said Bomber VP Jim Bell in a prepared statement.
Despite the sudden change in policy from the Bombers, Bell insists the team is not back-peddling and said he only received one email complaining about the new policy.
“You can call it back-peddling if you like. We choose to call it proactive on behalf of the club. We got together this morning and decided what is best in terms of safety for the most loyal fans in Canada.”
Bell said any noisemaker that appears to be made at home will not be allowed in the stadium.
Bell also responded to accusations that fan complaints are on the rise and that is why they have had to create more policies.
“I would say the complaints are less, but you don’t sit on it. We try to get better off the field with all of our policies.”
Bomber spokesperson Darren Cameron originally told media the club received numerous complaints about things like cowbells, drums and other noisemakers and the club had moved to ban the noisemakers.
Elliott High, 36, said he was bewildered. “I don’t see the point of (banning noisemakers) in the first place, but I understand issues could happen. If there’s a guy in the upper deck and he drops something onto the crowd in the lower deck, I guess I can see it.”
High, a five-year season ticket holder, said he’s never been annoyed by a cowbell at a game. “I think the noise and yells from the crowd far, far outweigh the noise from a cowbell.”
The reaction online Monday morning, however, was swift and negative.
“Pretty choked about the ‘no cowbells’ rule considering the Bombers were selling the things just last year,” said @jasonkressock on twitter.
The Bombers also plan to ban flag poles, water bottles from outside the stadium.
-With files from Dave Baxter/Metro Winnipeg
Read the full list of prohibited items here: bluebombers.com/page/game_policies
Bans in the CFL:
Montreal: Air horns, laser pointers and frisbees/beachballs
Saskatchewan: No specific policy on their website
Toronto: Air horns, laser pointers and frisbees/beachballs
BC: Air horns and laser pointers
Edmonton: Air horns and laser pointers
Calgary: Air horns and laser pointers
Hamilton: Air horns, laser pointers, flag poles longer than 4 feet in length
Winnipeg: All homemade noisemakers, flag poles, outside water bottles
Update, 10:15: Adds statement from Bombers retracting the cowbell ban