Fans offended by kneeling deserve ticket refunds, lawmaker says

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WISH/WAVY) — State Rep. Milo Smith, a Republican from Columbus, Indiana, says if you’re offended by an Indianapolis Colts player taking a knee during the national anthem, you deserve a refund.

Smith is fine-tuning a bill that would require the Colts to issue refunds to offended fans if they ask within the first quarter of a home game.

“My bill doesn’t say you can’t still take a knee. But if you feel disrespected as a ticket owner, you can get in line for a full refund of the face value of your ticket,” Smith explained.

If fans waited until after the first quarter of a home game, however, they would lose the ability go get a refund.

Smith said he was with his daughter at a Colts game in September when he saw some Colts players kneel during the national anthem.

“I’m very patriotic. We live in the best country in the world, in my opinion. We’re not perfect. We need to be respectful of that. Me personally, I felt like we were disrespecting not just our country, but our veterans,” Smith said.

Jane Henegar, the executive director of the Indiana ACLU, said she hasn’t seen the bill, “but I can’t imagine any version of it that would be constitutional.”

“Right now, the Colts are a private business. The players work for a private business. The fans are supporting a private business. Government has no role in that relationship, certainly no role in regulating political speech of any of the actors,” Henegar said.

Smith said the visiting team would not be affected by the bill. He also said he’s not anticipating an uphill battle and expects bipartisan support.

“We’ve heard about the proposal, but have no comment at this time,” Steve Campbell, vice president of communications for the Indianapolis Colts, said Friday morning.