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Friday, August 03, 2012
Fan speech and Penn State: A Response

Thanks to Geoff for the shout-out on my writing on fan speech. I wanted to post a quick response.

First, while I agree it would be disgusting for opposing fans to taunt players about the specifics of child sexual assault, I am not as sure that taunting players about the overall scandal at a university and football program of which they are a part would be uncivil. Especially if the message is that PSU is not the holier-than-thou place it pretended to be for 60 years. A little bit of schadenfreude is a core part of cheering speech. Geoff also is right that the NCAA, Big 10, and schools cannot do anything about this (exception, ironically, my alma mater).

Second, I do not have a problem with Penn State fans overdoing it with praise for the involved school officials. I expect it and, in fact, welcome it. One reason to protect speech for uninformed or offensive ideas is to expose those ideas, and those who hold them, to public attention and ridicule.


So it would be equally civil for people to public ridicule those who openly identify as Catholic to give them some good natured ribbing about how child sexual abuse scandals proved that institution is not "holier than thou"? Such speech might be protected in the United States, but to suggest that it's "civil" sets an absurdly low bar for public discourse.

I guess since it's "just" sports it doesn't matter that much. Then again, you write for "just' a Sports Law Blog.

Anonymous Fair process -- 8/13/2012 9:02 PM  

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