As St. Louis' new Ballpark Village entertainment complex was set to open Thursday, the huge sports-themed events center found itself embroiled in controversy over a dress code that some say targets African-American youths.
Ballpark Village, a joint venture between the Cardinals and co-developer Cordish Cos. of Baltimore, has a 35-foot television, a retractable glass roof and red leather bench seats surrounded by various sports bars and establishments, and while the village itself doesn't have a dress code, eight of the village's bars and restaurants dress codes are "nearly identical," wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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They include no sagging pants and exposed undergarments on men, no profanity on clothing, and no "excessively long shirts." The Budweiser Brew House, the Post-Dispatch noted, prohibits hats on its second level.
Other Ballpark Village rules are that minors must be accompanied by a legal guardian of all times and that no one under 21 will be admitted after 9 p.m.
Similar rules at Cordish establishments in Louisville, Ky., and Kansas City, Mo., led to accusations of racism and selective enforcement, and this month attorneys filed a class action suit alleging a pattern of discrimination at the Kansas City center, the Post-Dispatch reported.
"It is our goal to welcome all guests," Ballpark Village said in a statement, KTVI reported
. "In the rare event that a guest is not permitted access due to a dress code violation, he or she will be offered a refund on Ballpark Village parking expenses (if any) and a free valet voucher for the Ballpark Village parking lot for a future visit."
Some have complained about the dress code on social media.
Others voiced their support for the dress code.
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