A Sikh man reported that he and his Denver Broncos-supporting companions were refused entry to a Broncos-Chargers game because of their turbans.
Verinder Malhi and some friends, including other turban-wearing Sikh men, drove to San Diego from Fresno last Sunday (December 6) to see the Broncos take on the San Diego Chargers. According to ABC 10 News San Diego’s interview with Malhi, a security guard at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium initially refused to let the group enter:
“Three of my buddies, they had turbans on, and it (was like, you guys got to take the turbans off,” Mahli [sic] said.
They were finally allowed inside Qualcomm, but Malhi claims a security supervisor told him that if they ever come back, they cannot wear turbans.
“It’s bad, I mean, this is embarrassing for me, because we are Americans at the end of the day. And we are not supposed to be afraid of fellow Americans.”
The troubles continued for Malhi and his friends. Police confirmed to 10 News that a fan called to report three men with turbans fiddling with items in the parking lot. Another tailgater took a photo of a bomb-sniffing dog searching Malhi’s car, which police reported was “cleared.” Malhi said that they simply put a bag back in the car after realizing that they couldn’t take it inside the stadium.
Many Sikh men like Malhi and his friends wear turbans and maintain beards as part of their religious commitment. Hate crimes against Sikh Americans and community institutions often stem from perpetrators misinterpreting them as Muslims. Last week, a Sikh temple in Orange County was tagged with references to ISIS.