By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia sports fans, known for the infamous throwing snowballs at Santa incident, were agog at the thought of a Southern California Fan Code of Conduct that requires fans to behave nicely. They can’t believe it’s even legally enforceable. Is it?
The Code at the stadiums in California now prevents fans from speaking or wearing swear words, getting drunk, fighting, or otherwise doing what most fans think of as – behaving as if they’re at a sporting event.
In addition to being thrown out of the game, fans can be arrested for the behavior. To many, it seemed like a violation of their rights. Not to mention a total buzz kill. But the fact is that while a stadium is subject to anti-discrimination laws because it lets in the public – so it can’t discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, and the like – it is privately owned and can set rules of conduct for the people who enter.
The police can’t arrest you for cursing, that’s your first amendment right, but the stadium has a right to kick you out for it.
The police can arrest you for violating the law inside the stadium, though. There’s no amendment that protects your right to be publicly intoxicated or aggressive.
You don’t expect people to curse, throw things, or be drunk in a mall, start expecting good behavior in the stands at a stadium and you might be amazed at what a pleasant experience it could be – unless you’re a Phillies fan this season.