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Season Ticket Holder Rightfully Sues NFL's Saints

Season Ticket Holder Rightfully Sues NFL's Saints

The Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's located in the business district of that city. (Anthony Aneese Totah, Jr./Dreamstime)

By Friday, 15 December 2017 10:39 AM Current | Bio | Archive

And so it’s begun. Back in September, I wrote an article about how NFL season ticket holders were being impacted by national anthem protests, and how they should be considered stakeholders with a genuine interest in a team’s ability to offer a service. Now, we finally see this issue manifesting in the courts.

Lee Dragna of Morgan City, Louisiana. has recently filed a lawsuit asking for a refund of his season tickets and attorney fees due to protests preventing his family and guests from going to games. Dragna says that he has not attended any games since the Saints opening home game. He claims that due to the team being complacent to and even condoning the protests, fans in his section have become unruly and "borderline dangerous," which has prevented him from enjoying games.

What’s interesting is how this frames the rights of season ticket holders in relation to a team’s actions. As I said in my previous article on season ticket holders, "When fans or season ticket holders purchase tickets, they do so in good faith that the league, the organization responsible for the delivery of a service, will create a venue in which all participants have a responsibility of keeping political controversy off the field and out of the stadium.

After all, the NFL’s "Game Operations Department Manual" is in place for this purpose: "to ensure they protect players and provide the conditions for a fair and fan-friendly contest." There is a strong argument that by allowing and even engaging in the protests, team owners are violating this core principle of what it means to be a service provider in a strictly commercial setting.

Dragna paid around $8,000 for his season tickets, and when he asked them for a refund, they denied it. The denial is in contrast to DirectTV’s stance on the matter, where back in September, they allowed customers to cancel their NFL Sunday Ticket because of the protests. DirectTV usually does not permit refunds, but stated that if the customer’s reason was specifically the protests, they would grant a refund. I think this is where the argument for season ticket holders hold the most weight.

While unruly and "borderline dangerous" fans can be a reason you’re prevented from attending a game, the reason many season ticket holders opposed the protests is not due to the fan reactions. Instead, they are opposed to the unintended message that the demonstrations convey: disrespect for the nation’s collective interest in our uniting symbols.

The issue that the players are protesting is complicated, and kneeling during the anthem (or even before it and then standing during it) has apparently not produced the desired results. Rather, it’s a misfire that has families in a pickle. When their children or grandchildren ask why players who they look up to are kneeling during the national anthem, they are not able to reconcile the need to teach children respect for our uniting symbols and anthems and address the complex issue that the players are protesting.

Ultimately, parents are afraid that if they tie our flag and national anthem to negative concepts, it will corrupt their concept of our unifying symbols. It’s important to have difficult conversations with our children about improving our nation, but that should not also undermine the importance of having unifying symbols and respect for the country as a whole.

I wonder how Abraham Lincoln would view a situation like this, someone who fought for rights with the intention of making a more perfect union, while also holding our unifying symbols dear. Ultimately, while the protests may be well-intended, they are divisive against the essential unifying symbols we hold as a nation, and no ticket holder should have to financially support that.

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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How would Lincoln view this? Someone who fought for rights and making a more perfect union, while also holding our unifying symbols dear. While the protests may be well-intended, they are divisive against unifying symbols we hold dear.
lincoln, louisiana, morgan city, national anthem
Friday, 15 December 2017 10:39 AM
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