Universal Studios Delays Entry Because Shirt Said 'Retired Officer'

I’m the son of a retired police officer. My old man wore a police uniform all of my childhood. He didn’t retire until I was wearing a uniform of my own (a Navy uniform, to be specific), and so I still think of my dad as a cop. I grew up around police officers, as well. Their kids were my friends from early in my life. My first girlfriend was another cop’s daughter.

As a result of all of that, I understand what the job is like as well as anyone who hasn’t worn the badge can.

I also get bothered by anti-police sentiment. I get people being upset with a bad cop here and there. I despise bad cops as much as anyone. However, I’m not ready to blame the entire profession because of a handful of miscreants.

What really bothers me, though, is when anti-police sentiment goes beyond a few gripes.

A 55-year-old law enforcement veteran was stopped from entering Universal Studios for nearly an hour because the front of his grey long-sleeved t-shirt read “retired police officer.”

Former Ormond Beach officer Vincent Champion tells the Orlando Sentinel the experience left him confused and angry. He vows never to return to the theme park.

That’s not good. That’s not good at all.

Well, maybe they have a good reason for this. What did Universal Studios have to say about it?

Universal officials said in a statement they have tremendous respect for law enforcement, but guests could have confused him for an actual police officer. Security attendants asked him to remove the shirt before entering the park Nov. 1.

Wait a second here. The shirt said, “retired police officer,” right?

If that’s true, then who in the world could possibly have confused him for a working officer? Is Universal Studios arguing that the patrons at its park are so completely stupid that they can’t tell what the word “retired” actually means?

That does seem to be the case, doesn’t it?

However, I have my own ideas of what transpired. I think the problem is that Universal Studios is not only knee-deep in anti-police sentiment, but they also are fearful that someone might be so upset by seeing a shirt with “retired police officer” written on it that they didn’t want Champion in the park with that shirt.

It was a cop-out (pun fully intended).

The concept of someone mistaking him for an on-duty police officer was just a convenient excuse.

Frankly, I don’t blame Champion for not wanting to go back. I don’t blame him in the least. After all, if I got treated that way, I wouldn’t want to return either.

Hell, Universal Studios has been on my bucket list forever, and this event is enough to make me reconsider it. I’m not likely to experience what Champion did, but I’m not sure I want to spend money somewhere that would treat a guest that way, especially over something so completely idiotic and transparent.

Champion, as a retired police officer, deserves much better than that.

Frankly, pretty much anyone does.