I Guess We've Solved All The Real Free Speech Issues

Illustration for article titled I Guess We've Solved All The Real Free Speech Issues

A Central Pennsylvania town is tackling the pernicious threat of Steelers fans. Now the ACLU's getting involved. This is going to be uglier than tonight's game.


Penbrook is cracking down on one couple's 2x8 Steelers banner. It's hung on their porch and reads "You're In Steelers Country," despite Penbrook being firmly in Ravens country. But the town isn't going after the inaccuracy, but rather the size.

[N]on-commercial messages — either political, religious or personal, are limited to 16 square feet, permitted only for brief time periods and allowed only if they "advertise political parties or candidates for election," "nonprofit, charitable and similar events," or qualify as "holiday decorations."

The Myers family was offered three choices: only hang the sign on game days, pay $40 for a permit, or face fines for every day the banner remains up. They chose option D: sue. They went to the ACLU, who sent a letter threatening a free-speech claim within days if Penbrook doesn't lay off the Myerses.

I wonder why they can't show their Steeler fandom in the traditional ways: drinking crappy beer, thinking Channel 11 News is real journalism, and not remembering anyone other than Terry Bradshaw from the '70s teams.

UPDATE: Penbrook backed down today. Another victory for Sevensburgh.

Penbrook Residents Face Ultimatum Over Steelers Sign [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Borough Backs Down On Attempt To Remove Steelers Banner [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]