The Seattle Seahawks have had plenty of reasons to be in the news during this past NFL season and during the off-season. There was a stellar regular season highlighted by their great defense. Then, of course, Richard Sherman made headlines with his antics. Finally, and most importantly, the Seahawks have made news for their 43-8 beat-down of the Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Now however, the franchise is getting attention for a decidedly less than optimal reason. It looks as if the Seahawks organization is being sued by a Nevada man over tickets.
The crux of the matter is that the Seahawks apparently limited the states in which tickets could be sold to NFC Championship Game. Hawaii, Oregon, and of course Washington are some of the states, among others, in which the Seahawks sold tickets. This move was possibly done in order to make it more likely that the Seahawks would have a good home crowd. The idea would have been to limit sales to states where people are likely to support the team.
The problem was that the Nevada man, identified in a couple of articles as John E. Williams III, did not live in one of the team’s target states. Mr. Williams was thus denied the ability to purchase tickets from the team. Now, Williams is filing a lawsuit against the Seahawks organization over the ticket fiasco.
At first glance, this whole issue seems a little silly. It is hard to say for certain what the outcome of this lawsuit will be, but Williams most likely will have an uphill battle. It does not seem initially like the case against the Seahawks is particularly strong.
Williams was quoted as saying that the organization’s policy was unconstitutional. Honestly, unless he can point to a specific part of the Constitution that would have any bearing on this case, then his claims are hard to take seriously. It is not as if he was being singled out on the basis of race or gender. Nor is it the case that the state of Seattle is itself refusing to do business with other states. This was a policy made by an organization, so it will be hard to determine where the constitution would apply.
There is the so-called Interstate Commerce Clause. This appears, among many other topics, in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution. This clause mentions regulating commerce among the states as one of the valid reasons for collecting taxes. Of course, this section of the Constitution has been debated endlessly. It would take a lot of twisting to say that this clause has any bearing on the Seahawks case.
It has been mentioned that the rules imposed by the Seahawks organization were unlawful because the Seahawks’ stadium was publicly funded. Apparently the thinking is that the team must therefore be willing to sell tickets to anyone. Again, this seems like a stretch.
It is unclear how Mr. Williams’ lawsuit against the Seahawks over tickets will turn out. Perhaps stadiums and the like should not be publicly funded at all. It seems that much of Williams’ argument surrounds the public funding aspect. In any case, this is a situation that could have an impact further down the line.
Commentary By Zach Kirkman