As I dig through journals for interesting tidbits I often find myself far afield from the original topic at hand, which is exactly what happened the other day. I was reading a piece on the influence the color of the box that holds your local traffic signal has on traffic flow – not the color of the light: red, yellow, green, but the color of the box around the light* – and ended up diverted to a Law journal, specifically, the University of Pittsburgh Law review.
Freedom of Speech at Sporting Events.
The article puts forth that your heckling of the opposing team, the ref and even cheering for the opposing team deserve vigorous protection as free speech. The first and most obvious point is that your seats are a public forum.
Second, it argues that professional sports teams and public universities are state actors, the latter for obvious reasons and the former as a result of the pervasive public financing of sports arenas.
Last, but not least, the article uses examples to create legal precedence for protecting “cheering” speech at games.
A diversion well worth the time. So the next time the NHL/NFL/MLB/NBA tells you to pipe down, you tell them that you have a right to free speech in a public forum owned by the state since you’re financing it. If they haven’t already thrown you out by the time you finish that statement, you’ve done good.
*P.S. Don’t paint traffic signals yellow if you want folks to stop.
Photo – one of many celebrations for UNC beating dook.
Other image courtesy of Alberto Restfo at Unsplash