The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they are reducing the number of training camp open practices to one. Not only is it restricted to one practice, but now you have to pay admission to go. It’s a baffling move.

When training camps were at West Chester and Lehigh Universities, every day was an open practice. You could go and spend the day watching your team and maybe be able to get an autograph or talk to your favorite player for a minute or two. In 2013, with everyone’s favorite little control freak “Oompa Loompa Chip” in charge, that all changed. Training camp was moved to the Nova-Care Complex and they changed the open practices to three separate events held at the Linc and Franklin Field. In 2015 they changed it to two practices both at the Linc. Last year, after the Super Bowl victory, you needed free tickets to attend, and as of today there is now one chance to see the Birds practice. Only one. 

The Eagles also decided that charging $10 a ticket is also a good idea. They claim the money is going to their Autism Challenge. Please do not read this as I am against giving money to charity. I am all for anyone who wants to donate as much money as they want to whatever charity they want. I love charities and donating to good causes. What I do have a problem with, is the Eagles taking what was an awesome free event for many people who cannot afford to go to a game, and now charging $45 (don’t forget Ticketmaster fees) for a family of four to go see their favorite team practice with a slim to none chance of getting an autograph or getting to talk to anyone on the team. 

The face you make when you force people to donate to your charity, but you don’t have to give a dime. Photo by Wayne Terry/TPL

You see, the Eagles are not donating their money, they are donating your money. There is a major difference there, and if you haven’t caught, it read the statement again. I realize that $10 per ticket will most likely not break the bank for most fans, but there will be fans that went previous years that cannot go this year. The obvious conclusion is that the Eagles do not care about their low income fans who, in every year before this year, were able to come out and see the stadium that they cannot afford to go to on game days and also get to see their favorite team in person. The Eagles only want the fans who can shell out some more cash while there. 

There are so many ways that the Eagles could have actually made this a good event that raised money for their Autism Challenge, and kept it as a free event. They could have had a 50/50 raffle during the event to raise money, or if the actually wanted to donate some of their own money, they could have matched donations for the charity, or donated profits from concession or merchandise sales. In reality, the Eagles are not donating a dime of their own money to their charitable cause during this event. 

Again, I am not against anyone donating to charity. I am all for it. I am against forced donations for an event that has been free since 1933. There is a word for when an almost $3,000,000,000 organization is forcing the lower income fans $10 each to come see a practice, without donating anything of their own. It’s greed. And it’s truly sickening. 

Eagles, you really missed the mark on this one. Taking away free events from fans and then charging admission for the remaining one that is left is not a good look and smart fans will see right through it.