One would believe the NFL would have enough on its plate. First it’s the Labor dispute in court. Second the Lawsuit about the Super Bowl seat snafu. Now the League wants to legislate what fans can or cannot say or do at every venue during games.
Everyone is in agreement that fans pay an exorbitant amount to attend an NFL game. One would think the league would be somewhat liberal in their attitude of game conduct. That’s not the case.
First they attempted to abolish non-family behavior in the new Dawg pound in Cleveland. That was met with the predicted upheaval. Now a fan in San Diego is trying his best to force the NFL security to pay for his transgressions.
According to court documents, Security guards tried to remove Jason Ensign from a Chargers game in the fall of 2009 because they said he was yelling obscenities and flipping his middle finger at other fans. Ensign was charged with misdemeanor battery for punching and biting a security guard.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Gale Kaneshiro ruled there was no justification for removing Ensign because he had a First Amendment right to engage in obscenities and a right to defend himself. That may be true in separate incidents, but even when one causes the other?
San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith believes the NFL has a right to enforce its code of conduct, including ejecting fans for making obscene gestures and using foul language.
At a hearing set for Friday, attorney Mary Frances Prevost will ask San Diego Superior Court Judge Gale Kaneshiro to clear the arrest record of Jason Ensign. Last month, Kaneshiro threw out battery charges against Ensign.
Prevost said all Ensign is guilty of is “defending himself after he was attacked.”
Prevost said the NFL and Qual-Comm stadium code of conduct “is a suggestion, not an order.” The prosecution at trial tried to say the fan code of conduct is enforceable because it was hung over urinals. Please accept all apologies, but now men have to read lawful directions while standing at urinals? Meanwhile, in some cities, talking on the cell phone and driving are illegal.
Imagine if you will being in old Cleveland Stadium. A building long known for its terrible bathrooms and urinals. Now keep in mind while trying to dodge anything coming your way while in the potty, having to read a poster on the wall.
Goldsmith says private entities have the right to remove unruly customers. This is true, but if you want to enforce this law, why have it in the bathroom?
Jeffrey Miller, the NFL’s chief security officer, filed an affidavit saying the code of conduct has reduced fan incidents at stadiums and that he’s not aware of other legal challenges to it besides this one.
Not yet anyway. Just remember to read while in an NFL venue restroom.