The stunning new Yankee Stadium, home of the New York Yankees, was opened this week, though the mauling dished out to the hometown pinstriped multi-millionaires did somewhat spoil the occasion for the home fans. However, the news that a fan is suing the city of New York and the Yankees for being thrown out of the old Yankee Stadium during a game last August has captured the media’s attention. The fan, Bradford Campeau-Laurion, was ejected from the stadium after he left his seat to go to the toilet during the playing of ‘God Bless America’ during the seventh-inning stretch. The patriotic song has been played during every game at Yankee Stadium (old and new) since the September 11th attacks in the city, and the team has a policy of forbidding fans from leaving their seats for the duration of the song.
Mr. Campeau-Laurion, who has stated his objection to having to participate in ‘religious services’ and displays of patriotism, claims that he was grabbed by a police officer whilst on route to the toilet and marched down the ramps and out of the stadium, being informed that he should ‘leave the country’ if he didn’t like it.
It is not the first time that a patriotic row has surfaced at the home of the Yankees. In 2006, the then Toronto Blue Jays Puerto-Rican star player, Carlos Delgado, was roundly booed by fans for refusing to stand for the playing of ‘God Bless America,’ a decision he had taken throughout the season in protest at the US invasion of Iraq. Ironically, Delgado now plays for the Queens’ based New York Mets. He was also the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2006, awarded to the baseball player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”