The NFL Has Been Making Unruly Fans Pay To Take Anger Management Courses From A Shady Therapist

Yesterday's New York Times featured a story about the NFL's ongoing struggle to keep fans from acting like maniacs and beating the shit out of each other at games. One step the league has taken has been to tell fans that have been ejected from games that they must complete an online anger management course (which costs $55) before they are allowed to attend any future games. Not the worst idea, aside from one problem: Ari Novick, the guy who designed the anger management course and is cashing in the $55 fees, isn't the most reputable of therapists. From the Times:

An examination of Novick's practice, however, shows that his claims about his professional credentials - membership in the American Psychological Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy - are either false or out of date, according to officials with the organizations.

[...]

The course for N.F.L. fans relies on material from Novick's co-authored, self-published 2005 book on anger management. But significant portions, often several paragraphs long, of the N.F.L. fan conduct class appear elsewhere online. Sections of Novick's exam content appear to be little more than a compilation of material from the National Institutes of Health, a number of mental health Web sites, government sources and a drug abuse guide designed for teenagers. None of those sources are cited.

The material either was directly copied or was substantially copied with minor changes - substituting the word "alcohol" for "drug," for instance.

The Times was able to reach Novick for comment, and his responses to the issues raised above don't do much to establish his credibility. The whole thing is worth a read, if only because it reveals that Novick used to work as a sales rep at Timberland, and of course lied about what his position there was.

[NYT]