Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Thursday, December 04, 2014
The evolution of fan speech

During last night's ACC/Big Ten Challenge game between Virginia and Maryland in College Park, Maryland fans chanted "no means no" and held signs referencing the Rolling Stone report about rape at UVa's campus and calling for the university to be called to account.

Two thoughts. First, how should we feel about an socio-political message that is being chanted to razz the opponent? Is it inappropriate or mean "too political," since it has nothing to do with the game or with any of UVa's players? Or does it reflect the inevitable ties between sports and society--in this case between a problem at the university and the team that represents that university. Second, it shows that we have improved somewhat in our understanding of sexual assault. In the early 1980s, a Maryland player named Herman Veal was accused of sexual misconduct; Duke fans waved women's panties and one fan held a sign that said "Did you send her flowers?" Yesterday's expression at least recognize sexual assault as a serious issue.

By the way, as the Deadspin report shows, there was speech all over that game. Students staged a "die-in" outside the arena to protest the various non-indictments of police officers; the protest included one member of Maryland's football team.


Post a Comment