Does Blackhawks jersey ban violate the First Amendment? It depends, law prof says
Chicago Blackhawks fans who are lucky enough to snag tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals at the Amalie Arena in Tampa will be barred from wearing team apparel if their seats are in exclusive club seating areas.
The policy, along with another restricting ticket purchases to credit cards associated with Florida zip codes, is raising hackles among Blackhawks fans. The ban on team apparel is also raising First Amendment issues, according to Florida International University law professor Howard Wasserman, who spoke with the Chicago Tribune.
Amalie Stadium is publicly owned and the First Amendment would apply to its actions, Wasserman said. He sees a potential problem if the ban on Blackhawks gear applied throughout the stadium.
He notes that the ban only applies to certain sections, however. “While troubling (and stupid),” he told the Tribune in an email, “if that involves only a relatively small portion of the arena and only a relatively small part of the seats, it may be permissible. Certainly more so than a blanket ban on anyone wearing Blackhawks gear.”