The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the owners of the Chicago Cubs are considering enacting a de facto "civility code" at Wrigley field, in response to some Cubs fans who have taken to booing the underperforming left fielder Alfonso Soriano. As Sports Law Blog notes, Wrigley and the Cubbies are privately-owned, so fans don't have First Amendment rights to express their disappointment at their team's defensive performance. At the same time, though, do the owners really think that by ejecting fans who boo the home team, or who make "profane or inappropriate comments" -- as objective a criterion as I've ever heard -- they will eliminate problems of fan disgruntlement? Thought reform through censorship doesn't work in educational contexts -- in fact, it even backfires -- so there's every reason to believe that if Cubs fans are muzzled, their booing will get even louder, and may even get directed toward the Cubbies' owners.
Updated (6/10/08 1:30pm): Readers who access The Free For All through the old site rather than the new site
might see this post misattributed below to Wendy Kaminer because of
software limitations with the old system. The post was penned by James
Tierney, a research assistant for Harvey Silverglate.