Yankees will drag you out of the stadium if you try to go to the bathroom during "God Bless America"

The Yankees are serious about their bizarre prohibition on going to the bathroom during the playing of "God Bless America" during the Seventh Inning Stretch: a man was dragged out of the stadium for daring to stand up and move around instead of singing a patriotic, religious song. I really like Tommy Smothers's formulation of the principle at work here: "America, where you're free to say anything you want, and you'd better not say what you're not supposed to!"

The NYCLU seems inclined to follow through with last year's promise to sue the Yankees over their policy of confining fans to their seats during the national anthem and "God Bless America," which is played during the seventh inning stretch. Yesterday Red Sox fan Bradford Campeau-Laurion, a Queens resident, told us about his rough ejection from Yankee stadium at the hands of the NYPD after he tried to go to the men's room during the seventh inning's moment of mandatory nationalism Monday night.
NYPD Defends Ejecting Sox Fan from Yankee Stadium During "God Bless America" (Thanks, Bill!)


  1. What about the people policing the bathroom? They aren’t observing the policy. Do they get dragged out too? And those people… when will end.

  2. how many times have the mouth breathing thugs beat up a diabetic trying to get to private place to inject insulin?

  3. Irony thick enough to use a fork, but use a spoon to get every drop! Yes, God, hurry up and bless the fuck out of America already, fer Christ’s sake. This here flag means more than the ideals it was meant to represent, you see (oh, say, can you?)

    If God hadn’t intended us to urinate at baseball games, he wouldn’t have invented the relief pitcher.

  4. a good american would be more than happy to shit his pant for freedom. i smell a pinko. well, at least i would if i didn’t have to smell myself.

  5. You sing a national anthem during sport events ? Seriously ?!? Why (besides being in a ‘who’s the most nationalistic’ contest with Russia like in the old days) ?

  6. Since when is ‘God Bless America’ our national anthem?

    Our anthem is the secular ‘Star Spangled Banner’

  7. The legal rebuff provided in the article hold water like a sieve.

    Because the Yankees stadium is not government owned then it is not covered by the constitution.

    So if black fols go along to see a game, using the same reasoning they could find them selves in manacles up on the pitchers mound being sold into slavery?

    The law is the law no matter what, no matter where.

    Your country is in serious trouble.

  8. Mandatory nationalism is never good just look all so many countries that do that today are even less free. i can think of china, north korea, iran & previously iraq to name a few. its the principle of it all a man should be able to decide to whom and to what he swears alegiance to if at all without coercion and have the choice to respectfully refrain from any activities that limit his/her fredom to do so by choice. i can also think of many countries whose institutionalized nationalism led them to extremes and no longer exist in their previous more radical forms such as nazi germany, soviet russia ect…. and so on and so forth…

  9. Olaf9000, you were approaching a singularity there. Good save.

    About the post – How is it that nobody has made the obligatory “he provoked it” comment?

  10. I always thought this kind of police terror would only occur in 3r-world corrupt countries. Looks like the blessed USA (c’mon, you US folks request blessing _so_ often) is slipping down into a dictatorial police state as well… sad, very sad

  11. Two myths:

    -Speech is not, and never was, free.
    -The seperation between church and state does not truly exist.

    There are more, but I dare flirt with threadjacking…

  12. ok …. so now all of a sudden I am going to have to pee during any nationalistic sporting event.

  13. @12
    I live in a country that has a state church and enforces that the king and some % of the ministers in a government have to be members.

    This is also one of the least religious countries I’m aware of, so the correlation does seem to be the opposite of what one would naïvely think.

    I’ve seen attempts to explain the effect, and this one looked plausible to me: A state church gives a common and usually not very controversial, probably slightly liberal, religion for most people to agree on. When you get that as the default instead of assorted local variations that feel they have to assert themselves somehow, fewer people end up strongly identifying with religious cases. (And on that background, I’m all for the state church of Norway, even as an atheist. It keeps most of christians reasonably united in a church that doesn’t fight for anything horribly conservative.)

    And all of this makes me wonder if the US wouldn’t have been a less religious country now if you’d set up a state church in the early days and gotten a reasonable amount of support for it (while of course allowing all other religions and denominations).

  14. oh no … I just thought of another thing … what if it is playing on TV while I watch the game?

    Is it ok to pee then? … or should I wait? … Probably wait…

    especially since they mostly preempt this with commercials for corporations that have their hands up my ignorant representatives collective asses …. :(

  15. @DJIN-

    I respect that your country has decided to organize that way. I, however, see a perfectly fine alternative solution. A government that respects what you believe, and knows better than to meddle in matters it has nothing to do with. I see no logical reason that any government in this modern age, would need to agree on a common state religion. I just don’t see the point.

    I realize that my birth country, the US,(I live in Germany now) is hundreds of years away from this reality. I live in Bavaria, where there are 16 national holidays. I believe, but am not 100% positive, that 13 of them are religions holidaze, and 100% of those are Catholic. The entire city of Munich, save some restaurants, shuts down for each and every one of those 16 holidays. Its ridiculous to me, but the people here seem to not have a problem with it.

  16. #15 posted by djn ….

    Answer = NO

    Don’t make me start chucking tea into the harbor! … I hate doing sh!t twice ….

    Most of our early settlers here in America were booted from England for their stance against that very state religion you speak of…. and high tailed their ass across the pond…

    We are supposed to have separation of church and state in here in the US for this very reason …

    Freedom of religion is huge here … though seldom actually practiced…

  17. @17:
    Oh, my preferred situation would be that the state completely pulled out, and that everyone just kept their religion to themselves.

    However, the former won’t lead to the latter (in fact, it seems the opposite is true), so for the time being I’d rather have a low-key, common church for those that are into that than a thousand denominations competing among themselves to be the most conservative and/or visible.
    It’s hard to defend on any other ground than “it seems to work”, though.

    As for the thing with the holidays: It is in a way convenient to have common holidays (you can just stop everything for a bit instead of having some people overworked and some people off at any time), and the christian holidays were just the most obvious ones to take over. Or at least that’s the impression I get here.
    (“Ah, easter – let’s spend the week somewhere nice” doesn’t require any great piety.)

    Oh, and enjoy those 16 days. Go somewhere nice and relax, safe in the knowledge that no one expects you to do anything productive. :)

  18. On reflection, it’s slightly disturbing that this is the same line of arguments that leads to state monopolies on liquor.

  19. When you go into someone’s house/stadium, you’re supposed to follow their rules, aren’t you? The police didn’t arrest him, they didn’t taser him, they simply followed the team’s rules and denied him further use of the team’s property.

    There are two principles that underlie the posting of this story, and both of them are inconsistent with reality.

    First is that non-patriotic (not necessarily unpatriotic) displays deserve more notice and consideration than patriotic ones. If this fellow had unfurled an oversized American flag during the song and the security police had ejected him for disrupting the ceremony so, I doubt that it would be posted here, and I doubt he would receive sympathy in the comments. But if the right to dissent is and ought to be unquestioned, so is and ought to be the right to assent, and to demand those who enter your property do so as well.

    Second is that a single person acting in no capacity other than his own gets preference over an old, rich, corporate entity. But the essence of fairness is that the nature of the parties involved in an action should not matter. If Campeau-Laurion in his home were to switch off the channel when GBA comes on, no one here would question his right to do so. So no one should question the Yankees club’s right to switch him off. The property owner controls.

    If this were a government entity–a court or a school–forcing compliance, then I’d be with you. But nationalism is not worse than anti-nationalism, and mandatory-ness is not worse than voluntary-ness.

    (And since he’s a Red Sox fan, he has no rights to begin with. ;))

    1. If this fellow had unfurled an oversized American flag during the song and the security police had ejected him for disrupting the ceremony so, I doubt that it would be posted here, and I doubt he would receive sympathy in the comments.

      Arguing hypotheticals? Desperation move.

  20. @22:
    The underlying issue of the underlying issues is probably that many (and me) associate nationalism, especially forced, with a history of assorted unpleasantness. That the government wasn’t involved doesn’t quite remove that.

  21. First off, to #5:
    Tradition! We’ve been doing in since World War II, although the Giants (when they were in NY, back before the turn of the century) first started doing it kind-of regularly around 1898.

    Personally I love it. But America the Beautiful being sung at the stretch? I’m sorry but it’s not our National anthem. Us Cubbies know how to do it right: we sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at the stretch, and have done so ever since Harry Carey came to the Cubs to announce. If somebody were to get up and go to the bathroom during that, well, there’s a reason they call it the SEVENTH INNING STRETCH. They SPECIFICALLY put it in MLB games so people could GO TO THE BATHROOM (or perhaps buy more beer).

    Just another example of why the Yankees SUCK.

    GO CUBS!

  22. @24
    It leaves a bad taste, but the rights of businesses to decide who they do business with and how (within reasonable liits) is also something I don’t want the government to regulate too much more.

    This excercise of that right is stupid, but so are a lot of free speech uses that I want to see protected.

    What if you’re a family restaurant and someone wants to walk in with a T-shirt that says “F-ck You all!” shouldn’t you have the right to control the atmosphere and ask him to change or leave?

    The “dragging” part is troubling and the idea is silly and grounded in a mindless flavor of patriotism, but so is baseball.

  23. The National Anthem I can understand…if nothing else just stand out of respect.

    But God Bless America? Come on…

  24. Most of our early settlers here in America were booted from England for their stance against that very state religion you speak of….

    And a few centuries later, that state religion is so widely-disregarded its attendance figures will soon be overtaken by Muslims and Hindus. People aren’t joining other churches either, they just don’t give a damn about organised religion any more.

  25. The stadium may be private property but…

    – It receives MILLIONS in city and state financing ( tax breaks , incentives , the city may have even financed the development )

    – i think there is some federal law that has to do with tickets that are purchased


    isn’t this the same yankees that ‘banned’ sunscreen as a safety measure, only to sell it for an inflated price inside… and a dozen or so other ridiculous rules?

  26. A quick glance at the linked article – surely I’m not the only one who looked – reveals this interesting twist:

    ‘A statement from the NYPD reads, “The officers observed a male standing on his seat, cursing, using inappropriate language and acting in a disorderly manner while reeking of alcohol, and decided to eject him rather than subject others to his offensive behavior.”‘

    I suppose that could be a complete lie, but if it is wouldn’t they be risking looking like idiots when a squad of contrary witnesses contradicted them.

    Sure, I hate heavy handed cops as much as the next guy but what if he got tossed for being a disruptive drunk as they say?

  27. I, for one, am glad our diligent police forces are protecting our freedoms from these Godless anthem-hating terrorists…

    No, I just can’t hold that thought. Much as I hate to say it, the Yankees stadium is private property. You pay for admission, and they have the right to set and enforce any rules they want. If they say you can’t pee while the nationalistic music plays, well, you just have to hold it or get tossed out. Sorry.

  28. The *BIG BIG* thing here is: why is the farking *police* enforcing this policy? If you want to enforce a policy in a private venue, you should contract your own thugs… I mean security.

    Oh, America, the land of the free (as long as you are not in private property) and home of the brave (if you count “wearing a flag pin and putting as sticker in your gas guzzler” as being brave).

  29. Yankee Stadium sells a lot of pee-ammunition… not just beer, but soft drinks, bottled water, bottled lemonade (be careful that it’s non-alcoholic you academics!), etc. So it should be only fair to not restrict access to the washrooms at ANY time.

    I wonder which would get you in trouble with Yankee Stadium security/NYPD more… taking your 8 year old to the bathroom during a break in play (7th inning stretch/mandatory sing-along) or letting them pee in their seat? I wonder, which option the other attendees would like more?

    The ballpark I go to only lets you back in your seat between ½ innings so you don’t disrupt the view for other paying folk. What happens if you don’t make it back in time for the sing-a-long? Can you hide in the washroom until the 8th?

    Or maybe Yankee stadium is going to start selling Depends! (grown-up diapers)

  30. Most of our early settlers here in America were booted from England for their stance against that very state religion you speak of…. and high tailed their ass across the pond…

    IF you refer to the ‘pilgrims’, then you need a history lesson. They were allowed to escape with their lives after failing to impose their non-secular vision on England. When they founded Plymouth you could be beaten for missing church – if you were a member or not.

    Earliest Massachusetts was a de-facto fascist theocracy.

    At the end of his contract, the Plymouth minister (Brewster) left the colony and started a new church about a dozen miles away – and things slowly got better.

    Comparing the earliest Americans to the Yankees does not make the Yankees (the team) look any worse in this matter.

  31. #33: I believe the city owns the stadium and leases it to the Yankees. The new Yankee stadium is being built 50% on the taxpayers dime (not to mention paying for parking, transportation upgrades, etc.). Guiliani bent over backwards in his last days as mayor to get the Yankees a sweet deal.

  32. This is as ridiculous as putting your uncle in cuffs because he had to pee when the rest of the family was singing Happy Birthday to you.

    “Dammit uncle Fred your lack of singing proves you hate birthdays, and my birthday, and we suspect you might even want to ruin birthdays for everyone by blowing up cakes with explosives. Have fun in gitmo!”

  33. That’s ridiculous! The entire point of the seventh inning stretch is to STRETCH. I’m pretty sure it was president Howard Taft who started that tradition, so its by no means not patriotic.

  34. The irony of all this of course is that “God Bless America” was rejected as our National Anthem because it was written by a Jew (Irving Berlin)! But now it’s compulsory in our Christian Nation. If my good Brother Berlin were still here today, I think he’d pull “Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning” out of the mothballs and rewrite it as “Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Seventh.”

  35. Aside from “God Bless America” being a terrible, terrible song, that only got anywhere because of it’s relentless patriotic cheese attack, I would like to point out that not everyone at a Yankees game is ever going to be an American. Forcing US patriotism on anyone is silly, but doubly so when they aren’t US citizens.

    Mind you, if he was being a loud, disruptive drunk… YES kick the bastard out.

  36. I’ve gone to tons of Yankee games and pissed during the national anthem AND God Bless America. No one cares. My god, the cops won’t even stop kids from throwing cups of beer over the railings, I seriously doubt they’d act on something like this.

    To me their story rings true, a drunk Red Sox fan tries to get a fight started during God Bless America to hide his secret guilt that all of 9/11 happened because of crappy security at Logan Aiport.

  37. Ray Bradbury’s The Anthem Sprinters?

    Anyways, fill gel caps with ipecac, store in cheek while going to tinkle, when grabbed, bite down, mutter “got flu”, projectile vomit all over offenders.

  38. the christian holidays were just the most obvious ones to take over

    Besides Xmas, exactly what religious holidays are state sanctioned? Easter is on a Sunday, so it’s not a holiday. Are you counting MLK day because he was a reverend?

  39. As a few others have pointed out, the seventh inning stretched is when you are SUPPOSED to get up and stretch, dammit. (Or go to the bathroom, or get a hot dog or beer or whatever). As a lifelong baseball fan this new seventh inning routine is one of the major fuck-ups coming from out post-nine-eleven mindset.

    I’m sick of all the fucking “patriots” telling everyone else what to do and think. :(

  40. I’d be cursing too if they made me sit through another rendition of “Gawd Bless Amerika” sung by a stadium full of sweaty beer-swilling baseball fans. Somebody got drunk and disorderly at an event where only the mindless intake of watered-down “beer” can help to assuage the tedium? Gawd forbid!

    If marijuana were legalized (Hey, George Washington cultivated it. How’s that for something truly American?) then there’d be much less disorderly behavior, and much less of a need to urinate as well (but then again, the stadium would probably be empty, because people on pot would realize what a boring, slow game it is.)

    While we’re at it, why stop there? Since we’ve extended our “reverence” past the obligatory national anthem, why don’t we enforce your mandatory attention to a few Toby Keith songs? Let’s hear that Lee Greenwood song again? No, you can’t get up to piss, now we’re gonna hear that Charlie Daniels Band song, and we’d better hear you singing over the crowd, or we’re gonna report you as a terrorist.

  41. @28 wrote:

    “It leaves a bad taste, but the rights of businesses to decide who they do business with and how (within reasonable liits) is also something I don’t want the government to regulate too much more.”

    Yankees are one big welfare queen. I think they can observe a few constitutional niceties in exchange for all that public largesse.

  42. Honestly, I find this really bizarre. We have Yankees season tickets and I’ve often gone to the bathroom during God Bless America, and I am nowhere near the only one.

  43. I have some doubts about this. I think there’s more to the story than the guy claims. Whatever the case may be, the Yankees policy of using chains to contain people is awful. If a man needs to pee, let him pee!

  44. someone hold a sheet of fabric obstructing views at a spectator event is far worse than someone trying tho empty their bladder. What’s more important to American principles? Killing people over a scrap of rag and a song? Typical that some can’t distinguish idea and symbol. The American super-patriot would be at home in North Korea clutching their Dear Leader portrait while their family burns inside the house. Idiots.

  45. #31: That made me laugh.

    I agree that this is stupid. Even if this was the antional anthem, their forcing patrons to be patroitic? This sounds like a freedom of speach (or rather a freedom of silence) issue. If it were me, I’d sue for the ticket, inconvience and maybe emotional suffering.

  46. Singing of this song has always bothered me, but especially so when a US team is playing a Canadian team (of which only one remains). It really does seem like some religious event, and that makes a ballgame less fun from my point of view. Does the Yankees organization require visiting foreigners to stand too?

    #23 FLAMINGPHONEBOOK’s comments make no sense except in light of that famous case “the law vs. common sense”; the guy was going to the BATHROOM, not buying beer or pretzels or pornography or copies of The Communist Manifesto. Going to the bathroom. They kicked him out of the ballpark for answering a necessary call of nature. The simple fact that the Stadium is private property doesn’t mean the Steinbrenner’s have the power to make any rules they want– they can’t legalize slavery on their private property. The basic laws of the land apply to private property, and kicking a paying customer out of the stadium for using the bathroom is unreasonable. True, nature of the parties involved in an action should not matter, but this isn’t like me kicking you out of my home for cursing; the Sox fan paid for a seat, and Yankees Stadium is a de-facto public place, if Steinbrenner wanted to make a rule that nudity was OK on Yankees’ property it wouldn’t stand (how’s that for arguing hypothetically.)

    The bottom line here, as others have pointed out, is that the 7th inning stretch was originally designed for people to get up out of their seats and walk around, so the Yankees set themselves up for this problem.

  47. I went to my first major league baseball game when I was eight years old. My uncles explained to me that the ”seventh-inning stretch” was a eupemism for ”piss call”.

  48. It wouldn’t surprise me, however, if George Steinbrenner didn’t know about the seventh-inning piss call; he sure doesn’t know shit about baseball.

  49. there is no god in baseball.

    and it has pissed me off that we’ve had to endure the singing of this song since the buildings came down. at least the Giants (playing in Death Star Park) make the fans sing it only on weekends.

    it’s my belief that the singing of GBA demeans the spirit of baseball which is captured in the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” song. we are supposed to forget the outside. we are supposed to not care if we ever leave the park. it’s about the game were somebody will lose. I’m pretty sure it’s a more patriotic song then the other song that in essence thumbs it’s nose at the rest of the world and what they believe.

  50. Mandatory nationalism is never good just look all so many countries that do that today are even less free. i can think of china, north korea, iran & previously iraq to name a few.

    I’ve said since the beginning those lapel flag pins (which even Obama wears now) are just like the mandatory lapel flag pins worn in the DPRK (i.e. North Korea).

    This incessant jingoism needs to stop.

  51. It’s just another drunken Yankees fan up against that dumb-ass Steinbrenner and his stupid ‘stadium law’ mixed in with a couple of bored and overly-enthusiastic troglodytes from the NYPD who were probably alerted by some other jackass in the stands who couldn’t mind their own beeswax.

  52. One more frivolous event to put on my list of “things to avoid because its not fun anymore”. Being wrestled out of a venue because you need to answer the call of nature is certainly a buzz killer.

  53. @69 Takuan, I don’t hate the Yankees team. On the contrary, I grew up with them and the Mets. Because my parents and grandparents were kind enough to expose me to their own love for the sport, I was able to experience baseball when it still had some romanticism attached to it. Steinbrenner and the other team owners, like the late Marge Schott, have turned it into something that is an anathema to the ‘Elysian Fields’ of old and they all should be sentenced to the ninth level of Hell for and eternity-and-a-half for what they have turned the sport into.

    1. Forgive me for thinking that being manhandled by some NY cops sounds more fun than sitting through a baseball game. The water sports angle only makes it better.

  54. Hey yous guys, I understand and forgive those who don’t like/hate/don’t get/can’t stand baseball. If its not your cup of tea that’s cool with me.

    But to many of us, there is something a little magical about the game. There is a mystique. It fits in with the ideal (admittedly not often the reality) of the long, lazy Summer day. Yes, it is slow. But there is much to love for those who are interested in strategy, anticipation, endless statistics and just sitting there. It is (or used to be for those of us old enough) the gentlest of sports. The skills required to play it well are among those most of us prize: patience, quick reflexes, a sharp eye, thick skin, quick wits, strength, and a sense of humor.

    If you have watched the movies Bull Durham, or Field of Dreams and still don’t like it, then enough said.

    Just please leave politics and ugliness out of it.

    Thank you, drive through.

  55. gee thanks Jake, ya had to go evoke the soft summer night game in the small stadium in the idyllic setting…. how am I supposed to keep a hate on now?

  56. Sorry Tak. Hate the Steinbrenners and Schotts all you want, I’m right there with you.

    Just let me go pee when I want to and you’re solid in my book.

  57. @#10 Marcel: Perhaps, but it’s certain no one else will, so what chance do we poor Americans have except with god?
    @#58 Illich: Maybe this is their secret method of flushing out (so to speak) Muslims and other non-Christians for later profiling/harrassment.

    Speaking of Flushing, do the Mets have the same policy?

  58. New York’s lousy with rules. The stadium admins probably just got bored because they hadn’t made up a new one in a day or two. Next they’ll ban overly-nationalistic displays, or something.

  59. They should also do this when they ask the crowd to sing along with the Team song, whatever it is.

  60. First as the present Yankee stadium was partly
    built with ;public funds it is not exactly so
    private with what you do with your privates
    when nature calls.
    I might add if they stopped my friend at a game
    who has Parkinson’s disease(when ya gotta go you
    gotta go)I could see a lawsuit based on discrimination of the handicapped also when he
    has to go I have to help him in case he has an
    accident.So I guess 2 of us would be thrown out.

  61. Why don’t the security pinheads just give patrons who need to go to the bathroom a toilet seat to wear around their necks? You know, just like how some teachers in our public schools often use them as a hall pass to discourage trips to the bathroom.

    If you ask real nice, you get a hall pass to go to the bathroom. Simple. If your request is denied, you may clench your legs together patriotically. Be sure to smile since frowning at the stadium has been prohibited as well unless the other team wins.

    Should I stay or should I ‘go’?
    If I stay there will be trouble,
    and if I ‘go’ it will be double…

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