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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sport and speech: The Bobblehead

RickmondayMonday night was Rick Monday Flag-Saving Bobblehead Night at Dodger Stadium. In 1976, two damn hippies (no doubt the common characterization at the time) tried to burn an American flag on the field during a game between the Cubs and Dodgers; Monday, then the Cubs centerfielder (he later played for the Dodgers), snatched the flag away. Video of the incident is included in the link.

Monday discussed it in a 2006 interview:

“That means something, because this wasn’t just a flag on the field. This was a flag that people looked at with respect. We have a lot of rights and freedoms — not to sound corny — but we all have the option if we don’t like something to make it better. Or you also have the option, if you don’t like it, [to] pack up and leave. But don’t come onto the field and burn an American flag.”

While I have argued that the stands of a ballpark qualify for designated public-forum status, the field itself does not, because speech is inconsistent with expected uses (i.e., playing baseball). So Monday is half-right in that last sentence: Don't come onto the field and burn an American flag. Make sure you stay in a public forum.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on August 29, 2013 at 08:13 AM in First Amendment, Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink

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I'm pretty sure you can't burn a flag in the stands either, as there is a content neutral rule against open flames.

Posted by: AF | Aug 29, 2013 10:45:43 AM

Nice post and thank you for share this beautiful Bobblehead image.

Posted by: headbobble | Oct 12, 2013 8:41:02 AM

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