Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can you say heckler's veto?

I need to find a better explanation behind this: A fan wore a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey to a Cleveland Indians game at Progressive (ne Jacobs) Field last night and, when fans in the area began chanting shouting profanities and throwing debris at him, he was escorted from the stadium. Fortunately, in the days of pervasive video, we can watch it happen (although I did not see any debris being thrown).

If there is a concern for violence, the police are supposed to halt the people who are threatening violence, not the guy who is doing nothing more than engaging in speech that pisses them off.  And, yes, this guy was no doubt being deliberately provocative; free speech exists so people can be provocative. Unless there was something going on (and I cannot find more-detailed accounts explaining security's decision or action), this looks like a living example of a heckler's veto.

Update: A report from a Cleveland sports blogger about the incident, including a conversation he had with the fan (a Florida-born, Sandusky-residing factory worker named Matt Bellamy).