Professional Sports Teams[and venues] should pay when the booze they peddle causes injuries.
The lawsuit popped up in the local news last week. John Cooke was attending a Chicago Blackhawks game at the United Center[“UC”]with his brother last year. During the game, another fan, apparently two rows above Cooke grew increasingly loud, drunk, and unruly. The lawsuit alleges that ushers in the area simply ignored the drunk. And, to make matters worse there was no security in the area.
At some point, the Hawks scored. All the Hawks fans celebrate, including the drunk. Unfortunately, the drunk falls TWO ROWS and lands on Cooke, alleging causing serious injuries. So Cooke, through his lawyer, Dan O’Connor, sues the Blackhawks, the UC and At Your Service, the Security Contractor for the UC. No less than Jonathan Turley picked upon the lawsuit. Turley noted in a recent post that the lawsuit was “widely ridiculed”. Not in the articles I saw. Let’s assume, just for a moment, the allegations are correct and the drunk was causing a ruckus and fans complained. Their complaints are ignored by ushers and security. Then this same drunk falls down two rows and causes injury. Why shouldn’t Mr. Cooke sue and hopefully recover? Ushers and security have the responsibility to respond to fan complaints; identify troublemakers and get them out. They apparently failed to do that.
I go to the occasional Hawks, Bulls and Sox games. And when I do, I enjoy a few beers with my friends and cheer on the home team. What I have noticed the last several years though, is that a certain percentage of “fans” see their ticket as an excuse to get silly drunk, yell profanities and otherwise act stupid. A friend of mine[who in his youth participated in his fair share of fistfights] recently told me he flat-out refused to take his young son to the bathroom during the late innings of a Cubs Sox game because of the antagonism and level of drunkenness he observed earlier in the game. The attached article is a bit dated but suggests 1 in 12 fans leaving a professional sporting event is drunk. That figure is probably low. If professional sports teams wish to enjoy the revenue generated by non-stop drinking before, during and after games, let them pony up when the drunkenness they enable causes harm