We live in a strange country.
New York City will pay $10,001 to settle a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Queens man who was ejected from the old Yankee Stadium last August after trying to use the bathroom during the playing of “God Bless America.” In addition, the team has publicly declared that it has no policy prohibiting fans from moving about during the playing of the patriotic song, which the team began playing during games after 9/11.
The New York Civil Liberties Union had filed a federal lawsuit in April on behalf of the man, Bradford Campeau-Laurion, of Astoria, Queens, saying he was the victim of religious and political discrimination. The suit said he was forcibly restrained and ejected from the stadium in the Bronx on Aug. 26, after trying to walk past a police officer as the song was played.
“God Bless America” is played during Yankees games after the visiting team’s at-bats in the seventh inning, which in baseball parlance is known as the seventh-inning stretch. Most of the time at Yankee Stadium, the rendition is a recording by the singer Kate Smith, though the tenor Ronan Tynan has also been there to sing the song in person.