by Robert G. Yetman, Jr., Managing Editor, The James L. Paris Report
You may have heard that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lebron James was the target of some disgusting vitriol following Game 2 of the ongoing NBA Finals series. It seems that a perfectly nice-looking, young lady…a Golden State Warriors fan…could not keep herself from verbally vomiting all over the basketball superstar as he was exiting the court following the conclusion of a game in which his heroic efforts managed to derail the favored Warriors that evening. While James clearly heard her, he quickly moved on, but the incident brings to the forefront, once again, the matter of how too many people behave at public events these days, as well as, more broadly, the sad, inexorable decline of the culture. (There is video of the incident available throughout the realm of social media, and you can look for it if you wish, but, given what was said, we will not link to it here from Christian Money.com.)
Perhaps the most common “defense” offered by apologists for this sort of behavior is that if one buys a ticket to something, he has also purchased a right to act in just about any manner he pleases. However, the idea that because you pay to attend a sporting event, you have also purchased a license to act boundlessly obnoxious…is a notion bereft of genuine logic; it’s simply an empty, contrived justification for boorish behavior. In an absolute sense, what does one have to do with the other? Here I am buying a ticket to a basketball game, and now here I am screaming profanities and other ugliness at people; there is no reasonable connection between the two, despite the breathless efforts to make one by those inexplicably turned on by the idea of dwelling at the level of the lowest common denominator. A second, also-common justification for these displays has to do with the idea that the usual targets of this filth…the players…are paid well enough to “deal with it.” Again, what’s the connection between the compensation paid to these players for their talents and efforts, and spectators screaming all manner of bile at them? There isn’t one. The simple truth is that anyone proffering as legitimate either of these bases for this behavior…is just looking for a way to help further the cause of incivility, because incivility has somehow become, in far too many segments of society, not just accepted, but cool.
Beyond all of this, what about the rights of the rest of the event attendees to NOT have to listen to the profanities and the ugliness? Why should your privilege to express in that way subordinate my right to not have to hear it? After all, I paid at least as much for my ticket as you did for yours. Anyone with a brain understands that whatever the answer to that question, it’s not, “Because the First Amendment, bro,” as no one is seriously suggesting that people screaming these things should be arrested or otherwise constricted by the authority of the state. The simple answer is that it shouldn’t subordinate my right to not have to hear it, and the private enterprise that is serving as the host of whatever the event at issue is…has not only its own right, but the responsibility, to remove, and even ban from future attendance, anyone who thinks his or her prerogative to engage in very vocal, very public, vile expression is paramount to the prerogative of the rest of us to enjoy the event without the sick outbursts.