Posted on January 19, 2018

NFL Asks Reporters to Specify Their Race for Super Bowl Press Passes

Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, January 17, 2018

The NFL is requiring journalists covering Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis to provide racial identification when requesting credentials to be admitted to the Feb. 4 game.

Journalists for years have been asked to provide either a Social Security number or passport number and a photo for security checks for the game but have not been asked to specify their race, a field that is mandatory in the online press pass application form.


For this year’s game, the league asked the FBI to perform security checks on all credentialed personnel, including members of the media, McCarthy said. The NFL’s security department, which controls the composition of the application form, attempted to make the press credentialing process “consistent with checks that are done for others who receive a working credential,” which includes requesting racial information.

The FBI has said that while providing racial information is helpful to conducting security checks, it has not been, and was not intended to be, a required field on the application form.


Applicants may select “American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, Unknown, or White, including Hispanic” in the race field.

Racial identification is crucial for “sight identification” for law enforcement personnel, said James J. Wedick, a retired FBI agent of three decades and security consultant. Large event venues increasingly are asking for racial identification in recent years, but most of the time, providing that information is optional.


The NFL and FBI did not respond to questions about how that data would be stored.