Yes, the Yankees Still Suck Ass

Stick this up your ass, Steinbrenner

Stick this up your ass, Steinbrenner

It is no secret that I hate the Yankees, Steinbrenner, and pretty much anything in pinstripes. But for god’s sake, does George have to make it this easy for me to gain converts?

Another thing I hate, which brings us to the current Yankee-hating issue, is the jingoistic empty-headed false patriotism that infected everything in America, starting on September 12, 2001. Patriotism is about loving the principles your country stands for, not stupid magnets on your car, flags on your house, or any other mass-hysteria imposed conformity.

As many MLB fans may recall, the league asked us to “show our patriotism” by standing for “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. They later slacked off from that — I guess we didn’t need to be that patriotic. Now they ask that teams have this faux patriotism event only on Sundays and holidays. Perhaps on those days, godless atheists and non-christians don’t go to ball games.

The Yankees, never to be outdone when it comes to douchebag-ness, are the only team that still requires that its patrons respect the authoritah of the state during the stretch.

Ok, I could live with that. I think it is stupid, but I can live with it. I’d prefer that they place quotes from the Constitution on the Jumbotron or something, but I can live with it.

However, you don’t actually have a choice at Yankee Stadium, as reported by the New York Times.

By mid-October 2001, the Yankees’ implemented a system using off-duty uniformed police officers, ushers, stadium security personnel and the aisle chains to restrict movement. The Yankees pay the city to use police officers as part of the security detail.

[Lonn A. Trost, the team’s chief operating officer] said the ushers were instructed to allow fans with emergencies to move through the stands. Because one end of each chain is held by a person, instead of secured in place, the system is not considered a fire hazard, a spokeswoman for the New York Fire Department said.

Trost said the Yankees have not heard any complaints about either the continued playing of “God Bless America” or the restrictions on movement.(source)

The plan was apparently a reaction to some fans complaints that other fans were not “showing the proper respect” to God Bless America.

So, to celebrate our freedom and patriotism, the scum sucking Yankees have hired police and surrounded fans with chains in order to show them how free we are.

Now a Yankees fan is striking back. Apparently, on August 26, Bradford Campeau-Laurion went to the bathroom when God Bless America was playing, so police officers enforced Yankee Stadium policy and ejected him from the game.

As he headed toward a tunnel to the concourse, a uniformed NYPD officer blocked his path, “indicating that he could not leave during ‘God Bless America,’ ” his Manhattan federal suit says.

Campeau-Laurion told the cop he didn’t care about the song and tried to get past, but was quickly grabbed by the officer and a colleague stationed nearby.

The cops then allegedly twisted his arms back and frog-marched him to the exit. (source)

Bradford Campeau-Laurion claims that “he was made a victim of political and religious discrimination” and filed a lawsuit against the Yankees yesterday. His complaint is available here.

Campeau-Laurion, a Red Sox fan, says that he brought his suit because he is tired of the “forced patriotism” that seems to have proliferated since Sept. 11, 2001. Hmm, he noticed that, huh?

UPDATE: I’ve given this case some thought, and although I’m on Campeau-Laurion’s side, I fear that his legal case may be less compelling than his story.

Isn’t Yankee Stadium private property? I know it was, in part, paid for with public funds. However, can’t Steinbrenner require everyone to wear a blue bucket on their head throughout the whole game, if he wants? It might be within my civil rights to wear a Borat thong, but if a restaurant wants to say “we’re not serving you unless you put on a jacket,” then don’t they have that right?

What of the fact that this guy was certainly on notice of the policy. Everyone knows that the Yankees have this forced jingoism policy. You buy your ticket to the game subject to the rules of the park. If you are disruptive, you’re out. If you drink too much, you’re out. If you try and bring in a knife or a gun, you’re out. Why can’t a private property owner have this stupid rule too?

I am not aware of any cases directly on point, but there have been a few analogous cases in the Fourth Amendment context. In a fan challenge to routine pat-down searches, the Western District of Washington (Seattle) tossed a fan’s suit on the grounds that there was no state action in the case, thus no Constitutional violation. See Stark v. Seattle Seahawks.

This is in contrast to a short-lived but very enlightened opinion of the Middle District of Florida on the same issue. However, the 11th Circuit overturned that on the grounds that the plaintiff consented to the searches. See The St. Pete Times editorial on that decision.

It is true that to have a First (or a Fourth) Amendment violation, you need a state actor. However, a private entity can be a state actor in certain circumstances. For example, if the private entity exercises powers “traditionally exclusively reserved to the State.” Jackson v. Metro. Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 352 (1974). The context in which courts have recognized traditional state functions include administering elections, Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953); and running a company-owned town, Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946).

In the Seahawks case, the Western District of Washington held:

Because neither operating a stadium nor providing security is a function traditionally and exclusively reserved to the state, the court concludes that the pat-down searches conducted by private actors at Qwest Field do not constitute state action.

Similarly, I question whether the Yankees’ policy constitutes “state action.” Yes, the stadium is publicly funded. Yes, the goons who threw Campeau-Laurion out of the stadium were uniformed NYPD officers. However, they were being paid privately by the Yankees and not serving as public officers at the time.

Trust me, I WANT the guy to win. If there are two things I hate, they are faux patriotism rituals and the New York Yankees. I just fear that this guy has some serious issues in this case that he’s going to have a lot of trouble getting past.

8 Responses to Yes, the Yankees Still Suck Ass

  1. Bob Jindle says:

    You Red Sox fans are pathetic. The most important thing in your lives is whining about how much you hate the Yankees. For god’s sake, grow up. Get a life.

  2. TpMS says:

    I fought for freedom in this country, I did so with honor and with the belief that the freedoms I fought for and protected would remain in place for my children.

    BUT…

    after this nation became a nation of scare yellowed belly chickens (911), we have allowed those basic freedoms to be eroded by the Bush administration who initiated the placement of a fundamentalist form of religious government bent on stripping each and every one of us of our basic rights, espicially women.

    They are instilling fear in each of us so I say god bless america [sic], land of the……

    Disgruntled ex-military radical talking….better call HLS. You know us VETS…..

  3. [...] I agree with his complaints, I’m not sure he has a very strong legal case. The update is here. I would be very interested to hear any thoughts on whether the case has any legs at all. I fear [...]

  4. Vincent says:

    The thing that has me puzzled is that they were “uniformed” police officers.
    Not my field of law but it strikes me that improves his claim of state action.
    An off-duty officer can still make arrests and perform the functions of a police officer with the protections of that status in place, if he identifies himself as an officer.
    These guys did so by wearing their uniforms. How was he to know they were acting not as officers of the state but as officers of Steinbrenner?
    Where is the line between enforcing the stadium rules and keeping the peace?
    At the very least one could say the officers used their position as officers of the state to establish authority over the man and eject him over his exercise of his speech.

  5. The uniform sure lends credibility to his claim. But, I’m just not sure it is enough. For example, lets say that I have a serious problem with Zoroastrians. I have a party in a public building, where I rented a room. I discover that a Zoroastrian showed up and I want him out.

    I call the cops and say “I want this guy out of my party, and he won’t leave. ”

    It is a private party. I can toss him out if I want. Even if it is for a discriminatory and unsavory reason. The cops don’t inquire as to why I want him out … and even if they did, they shouldn’t refuse to toss him just because I am a bigot. My party, my rules.

    For the record, I don’t have anything against Zoroastrians at all.

  6. Hugo B says:

    A nod to the DK tune:

    “Yankee Stadium – Uber Alles!”

  7. nick says:

    I love the Yankees, but God Bless America has to be the stupidest song ever written. That person does have a legal case.

  8. Tony sawyer says:

    the yankees own i have been a fan since a little kid and always will be, they just won al east and with the record 100-54 so bam!!!

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