Saints season-ticket holder suing team; wants refund after player protests

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Shutdown Corner

Angered by players protesting police brutality and racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, one New Orleans Saints season ticket holder is suing the team.

Lee Dragna of Morgan City, Louisiana, is seeking reimbursement of his ticket cost, around $8,000.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that Dragna filed a lawsuit in Louisiana’s 24th Judicial District Court on Monday, demanding a refund for his tickets plus legal fees, claiming the protesting players have prevented he and his family from enjoying the games.

Dragna attended the Saints’ home opener this year, against New England, when he says some players were not on the field during the anthem. He has not been to a game since.

Saints players, including coach Sean Payton, kneel before the team’s game on Oct. 1. One New Orleans season ticket holder is suing the team because of the protests. (AP)
Saints players, including coach Sean Payton, kneel before the team’s game on Oct. 1. One New Orleans season ticket holder is suing the team because of the protests. (AP)

According to the suit, when players did come onto the field before the game with the Patriots, “they passed directly in front of where the petitioner and his guests were seated. Many of the fans in that area booed and cursed at the Saints players.

 “Apparently, these players were following the lead of [former 49ers quarterback] Colin Kaepernick by disrespecting the flag, the anthem, the USA and those who have served and are serving the USA in our military.”

It’s not a surprise that Dragna, like many, continues to misrepresent the meaning behind the protests. Kaepernick and other players who have consistently protested over the past year-plus have made it abundantly clear that there is no disrespect meant to military members; many of them have family or friends who have served.

Dragna told The Advocate on Tuesday that the behavior of other fans who are also upset at players protesting, such as cursing and spilling beer, is “borderline dangerous.”

While those fans are likely adults who would be responsible for their own behavior in nearly every other instance, Dragna blames Saints owner Tom Benson.

“The Saints created that behavior by condoning it,” he said. “It’s my thought pattern that they should not be allowed [to protest]. If you sell tickets to a gaming event for entertainment, you should not be allowed to turn it political.”

For the record, while NFL teams could, as private employers, demand that players stand for the anthem, they have not taken that step and instead, at the behest of commissioner Roger Goodell, have held meetings with players and discussed what steps can be taken to help issues of racial and social inequality and injustice.

Earlier this season, after President Donald Trump referred to protesting players, and presumably Kaepernick, as a “son of a bitch,” he re-ignited the issue. Where in the first game of the season relatively few players were taking a knee or raising a fist, Trump’s words were a slap in the face, and on some teams, coaches and even owners kneeled after the president’s insult.

Dragna, as you’d suspect, disagrees with the protests. He says his legal action against the team isn’t for show, calling it “as honest as it gets.”

“They don’t even want to talk about this, but I don’t care,” he said. “One way or another they’ll pay.”

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