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Oakland will no longer enforce Lew Wolff's unconstituonal sign policy

May 4, 2010, 3:30 PM EDT

I missed this one from last week, but given that today seems to be all about Constitutional rights and unruly fans and everything, it’s timely enough.

The Athletics had a fan removed from the Coliseum last month for holding up a sign that said “Wolff Lied. He Never Tried,” obviously referring to owner Lew Wolff’s comments about how he’s done everything he could to keep the team in Oakland as opposed to moving it down to San Jose. No word on whether the fan with the sign was tased in the process of being removed, but he probably deserved it if he was, because the sign could have had a hidden death laser in it or something. You just never know!

Going forward, however, the Athletics are going to have to put up with the critical signs, because the city has decided that the Athletics’ policies against the signs violates the First Amendment. Indeed, Oakland’s city attorney said that “the A’s may not impose restrictions against personal attacks or bad taste — unless the restrictions are explained by a legally compelling reason.”

Since we seem to have so many Constitutional law scholars reading the blog today, I don’t have to tell you that those reasons include the incitement of violence or material that is obscene to local standards. Which, considering this is the East Bay, is pretty much nothin’.

So feel free to fly your Anti-A’s flags in the Coliseum, folks. Even if doing so makes Lew Wolff try even harder to get his team in a private facility where he can control every single thing you do.

  1. tadthebad - May 4, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    And he reaches the point where he begins to insult the intelligence of his readers. You may qualify for BBWAA membership yet!
    I kid.

  2. crotch_jenkins - May 4, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    It’s not their intelligence that he’s insulting.

  3. Professor Dave - May 4, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Your reactionary readers are for more likely to defend the right of the state to oppress (or tase) than the right of the individual to express. I have never understood why some elements of the Constitution seem to matter more than others. Good for Oakland.

  4. tadthebad - May 4, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Perhaps not, but I interpreted Craig’s lines about tasing the sign holder and the Constitutional law scholars as such. I acknowledge he was probably kidding as well. No big deal.

  5. Alex K - May 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Going forward I think all post that have anything to do with tasing should include the tag…”Don’t tase me, bro!”

  6. Will - May 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Speak for yourself, Mac. Trying to equate the trespassing idiot in Philly to someone peaceably waving sign around is pretty feeble. Good for the guy with the sign, good for Oakland, and good for the Philadelphia PD.

  7. hardjuge - May 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    Maybe we should tase Craig to restart his brain. I think he has had so many responses to the Philly Taser crisis it has affected his thinking. From reading a good chuck of them I think I need a brain restart also.

  8. Joey B - May 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Nothing new here. Steinbrenner used to have fans tossed all the time when they brought in signs critical of him.

  9. APBA Guy - May 4, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Most of the A’s bleacher denizens are immune to the effects of tasing, protected as they are by thick layers to combat the cold. Maybe in August tasers will regain their effectiveness.
    Considering all the dirt he’s heaped on Oakland’s municipal government Lew Wolfe couldn’t really have expected the City Attorney to help him out.
    It’ll be fun seeing what the fans come up with.

  10. Ross - May 4, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Why are they so appropriate? “cradling end”
    .
    Steinbrenner was wrong too. Doesn’t matter that it’s nothing new.

  11. Jason - May 4, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Craig,
    According to the poll, it’s pretty lopsided.
    I was going to give your taser joke an A but then you pulled out the death laser which made the joke a D-.
    Would you have a problem with this if he had owned the ballpark?

  12. joe - May 4, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    You know what? I’m just about done reading this blog, or at least posts from you, Craig. I come here to read about baseball, not your snarky little opinions on abuse of power and the first amendment.
    recaptcha: on violating

  13. Professor Dave - May 4, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Freedom is only meaningful if those we find distasteful, annoying, wrong, or even dangerous also receive these freedoms. I am sad you don’t get that, Will.

  14. Jason - May 4, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Do you think this story is about freedom?
    The story is about property rights.
    He doesn’t own the building, so he doesn’t have final say on who is let in or what they can display in the building.
    If he did own the building, he could ban the guy.

  15. Professor Dave - May 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    You are correct and thus it’s a first amendment case. Specifically – The right of people to speak freely in public places. Speaking as a historian: you better believe that right is about freedom, as it is one of the first things to go under repressive regimes

  16. Charles Gates - May 4, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    Perhaps more applicable to a previous thread, yet anyways…Today a door to door salesman came by, rung my doorbell, and tried to sell me some siding for my house. Sure, his intentions seemed pure, but I didn’t know exactly what he was capable of, so I shot him dead. There wasn’t a visible indication that he was going to do me, or my family, any harm, but you never know. He got what was coming to him, because if you, as a grown man, walk up a man’s driveway and ring the bell, you damn well deserve whatever you get.
    Besides that, the state of Delaware just passed a law that says you don’t even have to wait until you’re harmed to inflict injury on someone else in the name of self-defense. You just have to have a reasonable suspicion…

  17. Kro - May 5, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    Charles,
    I had a similar situation once here in California, unfortunately we have slightly different laws here out west. The salesman must enter your home before you shoot him dead, and you must have a reasonable suspicion to believe he’s tasty before carving him up and eating him. Fortunately…

  18. Will - May 5, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Oh, please. Trespassing is not a right. American and English common law have held that people can be banned from private property for centuries, and prosecuted when they trespass.
    And I explicitly said that I supported the signwaver’s rights. That you don’t see a difference between peaceful, orderly protest and garden-variety disorderly conduct is puzzling.

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