Sports Law Blog
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Jockeys Sue to Wear Patches: Three jockeys have sued the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority over a rule that prevents them from wearing a Jockey's Guild patch when they race. The jockeys say the rule violates the 1st Amendment right to free speech and free expression. The KHRA was established by the Kentucky governor as the Kentucky Racing Commission (the name has since changed), which means it will probably be viewed as a state actor. This distinguishes this case from other organizations, such as the PGA Tour and Major League Baseball, that restrict a player's uniform.

The outcome of the case would appear to hinge on the breadth and application of the rule. If jockeys are allowed to wear some patches, i.e. for advertisers, but not a patch for the Guild, this appears to be a content-based restriction and could be struck down. If, however, no patches of any kind are allowed, the rule seems to be content-neutral and merely an administrative regulation that would be upheld.


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