Remember a little more than a year ago when George Steinbrenner, inflated with patriotic fervor, imposed a laughable rule that instructed security officials to ban anyone from "excessive movement" during the 7th inning rendition of "God Bless America." Granted, most New Yorkers seemingly abide by it, but sometimes the system must be tested by one man's agnosticism and patriotic indifference. Oh, and he had to piss. Meet Bradford Campeau-Laurion, a 29-year-old man from Astoria, Queens, and a director of web production for a "major website" who made the unfortunate decision to blatantly disregard "God Bless America" and hit the head. He was dealt with swiftly and aggressively by Steinbrenner's Red, White, And Blue Muscle. I left a message with Yankees media relations for their comments on this, but it's probably safe to assume that they'll only react to this if Brad here makes a colossal stink over it. Brad's detailed, irate, email is after the jump.Deadspin Editors, I attempted to get up to use the restroom, rather urgently, during the 7th inning stretch as God Bless America was beginning. As I attempted to walk down the aisle and exit my section into the tunnel, I was stopped by a police officer. He informed me that I had to wait until the song was over. I responded that I had to use the restroom and that I did not care about God Bless America. As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violenty behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. I informed them they were violating my First Amendment rights and that I had done nothing wrong, with no response from them. I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me, repeated that I had done nothing wrong, and that I was not resisting nor talking back to them. One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more. When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying "Get the hell out of my country if you don't like it." Nowhere on the Yankee Stadium ticket policy nor on any posted sign does it say that forced patriotism is a required element to attend a baseball game. Nowhere in the laws of this country would that begin to be defensible. Furthermore, when the two officers returned to their section, Steve who was still in the stadium overhead one of the officers say "We got to watch ourselves. One day we're really gonna get in trouble." They were also spreading rumors with a fan with whom they were friendly that I had said "This country sucks." I do not believe in God, nor am in support of this country to a degree of patriotic fanaticism. The fact that I wanted to use the restroom instead of standing through God Bless America should not be grounds for a forcible ejection from a baseball game. I spoke with Brad on the phone and he seems like a reasonable enough man, albeit one with a little bit of an anarchist bent (and, yes, he's a Red Sox fan) but he didn't sound like the type of guy to either embellish the incident in his favor or make it up. We had a quick e-mail q-and-a just to clarify a few things: DS: Did you feel like you had gave security more reason than normal to act aggressively toward you? No, I did not. Regardless of what I said, I did not act in a threatening manner, nor step toward the officer in a threatening manner. I just made my statement and attempted to continue to walk into the tunnel toward the restroom. I was given no opportunity to explain myself further, nor any explanation from the officer before my arm was being pinned behind my back. DS: Were you aware of the "no movement" policy before you attempted to go to the bathroom? I was not aware. People did not seem to be moving at the time, but I thought it was more a function of the fact that a lot of people at the stadium are rabid patriots rather than an actual policy. DS: How many Yankees games have you attended and have you ever gotten up to go to the bathroom before? I have probably attended an average of 8-10 Yankee games per year over the last 8 years. I have used the restroom countless times, though I do not recall ever trying to do so at the exact moment I did last night. DS: Are you planning on suing Yankee stadium or do you just want them to eliminate the stupid policy? I have contacted Normal Siegel (public advocate - http://normansiegel.com/) and the New York chapter of the ACLU. I have not discussed my options with them and I don't know my long term plans at this time. I want people to be aware of the forced patriotism that is happening here, a clear violation of First Amendment rights and something that should be kept wholly separate from attending a baseball game. To my knowledge, Yankee Stadium is the only stadium in the major leagues with this policy, let alone still playing God Bless America in the 7th inning stretch. UPDATE: So, where did you end up going to the bathroom? Ended up just getting on the train and holding it until I got to my girlfriend's place on 90th and Lex. Probably about another 45 minutes.
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