Re: Perhaps I did not notice this before--

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Posted by Glenn Ribotsky on June 09, 2005 at 10:38:20:

In Reply to: Re: Perhaps I did not notice this before-- posted by David Panza on June 09, 2005 at 09:11:18:

Thank you David, for actually trying to address the issue.

My speculation--and it is only such, though I think it is informed specualtion--is that given the highly patriotic (some might say jingoistic) viewpoints of many members of the Pepper Martin Club/Brighton Kiwanis, and given the Orazem incidents of yesteryear, the race committee would like to reserve the right to deny race admittance to anyone they feel might be disrespectful, as they judge it, to the veterans tribute aspect of the race, or to their version of American ideals.

There are, of course, a number of potential problems with this. The judgement of what is a proper American ideal, or a proper veterans tribute, is certainly open to debate. (I would argue that being open to these different ideas, and not denying the right to compete because someone might have a different political viewpoint than yours, IS an American ideal.)

More problematic, though, is whether such an admonition on the application is even supportable given that the race takes place on public streets and parkland, and that a permit is granted for that to occur. If the race took place entirely on private land, there would be a lot more leeway given the organizers over who to admit and who not (think Augusta National). But there've been a number of high level court cases over the years that have severly resticted the right of event (not just running event) organizers to limit the range of participants that may take part in their events if public grounds are involved. As I mentioned in the first post, the laws of the municipality are generally held paramount, and New York City has a whole range of anti-discrimination laws that could presumably be brought into play if there was a challenge.

Could the race committee ban/disqualify a runner who said s/he would run with a rainbow flag promoting gay rights? (I mention this as I'm sure running with an American flag would be allowed.) One who sported Che Guevara or Karl Marx on a t-shirt? Someone who gave out literature for a Republican candidate (something this race committee would probably REALLY frown upon)?

I mentioned in the first post that the only supportable ground for disqualification/banning would be issues germane to cheating in the race or keeping it from being organized/administered properly--it can't be done "for any reason", and that application provision is probably insupportable. And if someone challanged it, the race would get the type of publicity it certainly at this point doesn't need.

I think that language could be eliminated or altered with little problem for the race, and I don't see why it shouldn't be done.

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