“No authoritative body seems willing or capable of addressing the situation, and security personnel that witnessed the harassment appear to have turned a blind eye,” Codey wrote in the letter to Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, the State Police superintendent, and to Dennis Robinson, who is scheduled to take over next month as president and chief executive of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.
An article in The New York Times yesterday described how hundreds of male fans on a ramp near Gate D shouted at women to expose their breasts, and then threw plastic beer bottles when they did not. “It seems like for some Jet fans, that Gate D stands for drunk and disgusting,” Codey said in a telephone interview.
He called on the state police and the sports authority to investigate the fans’ behavior — which, according to many fans and some stadium workers, has been a halftime staple at Jets games for years — and to implement steps to ensure that the harassment stops. Codey also spoke with N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell and Woody Johnson, the Jets’ owner, to express his displeasure.
Matt Higgins, the Jets’ senior vice president for business operations, said: “We feel we have an obligation to create an environment for our fans where they can enjoy the game. Now some of that, we don’t have direct control over, like security. But that does not mean in any way we shrink from our responsibility to create that environment.” He added that the Jets would do “whatever we can” to improve security.
Officials from the Jets and the sports authority will meet to discuss the issue next week.
George Zoffinger, the outgoing president and chief executive of the sports authority, disputed Codey’s contention that the authority had turned a blind eye to the fans’ behavior.
In a telephone interview, Zoffinger said that the security staff at Giants Stadium had received the highest marks from the N.F.L. for the safety it provided. He added that 280 security guards and 90 state troopers regularly work N.F.L. games at Giants Stadium.
In talking about what the sports authority knew about the fan behavior on the pedestrian ramp, he said that his security staff had never received a letter of complaint about women being harassed and that he was unaware of whether this type of behavior was ongoing. But he then indicated that he was cognizant of previous incidents.
“We’re aware of this,” Zoffinger said. “We’ve had numerous arrests. We’re doing everything we can in conjunction with the teams to make sure that people’s experience at the games is a proper one.”
Zoffinger added that there was little that could be done to stop large groups of men from chanting obscenities, other than reasoning with them. Blocking access to the ramps is one step being considered.
In the first six Jets home games this season, he said, 7 of the 148 ejections were women who were kicked out for indecent exposure. Of the 174 ejections at the five Giants home games this season, one was a woman for indecent exposure, he added.
Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the State Police, said that uniformed troopers will be reallocated at future N.F.L. games at Giants Stadium to provide a greater presence at all spiral pedestrian ramps. Jones said that the State Police had not turned a blind eye to harassment.
Greg Aiello, an N.F.L. spokesman, said that as far as he and other league officials knew, the type of behavior exhibited near Gate D has not been a problem with other N.F.L. teams.
“The conduct described is unacceptable,” Aiello said in a statement. He added, “We are confident that the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will address this matter in an aggressive and appropriate way.”
In Codey’s conversation with Goodell, the commissioner told him that he expected the Jets to “step in and do the right thing,” Codey said.
Codey said that Johnson, the Jets’ owner, told him: “‘If any fans engage in this conduct, we’ll have their tickets revoked. And if it’s a violation of law, we want them arrested.’”