Attorney: Cleveland Browns can’t ban offensive shirts

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Pictures showing vulgar signs and shirts poking fun at Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson’s accusers and his alleged sexual misconduct created a firestorm on social media after the team’s 21-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Some of the comments read, “Ban this guy from the premises”, “We don’t need this garbage,” and “That’s awful.”

The Twitter users were reacting to a picture of a man seemingly selling t-shirts outside First Energy stadium that includes profanity and reads in part: “Give me a massage!”

Another picture showed a man and a young boy holding signs with vulgarity.

“That picture of that gentleman and I presume his son was horrific,” said Rob Glickman, managing partner of McCarthy Lebit.

The signs and messages offended a lot of people, including Glickman, but from a legal standpoint, he says there’s nothing the Browns can do.

“Were the Browns simply to ban them, I think they’d be looking at a lawsuit from the ACLU,” said Glickman.

“Because the Browns leased the stadium from the city of Cleveland, and because the city of Cleveland contributed at least $30 million dollars, arguably it is a public space,” said Glickman. “And it is much harder to prohibit speech, objectionable or otherwise.”

For those outraged by these signs, not wanting your kids to see them at games, you have few options.

“Avert your eyes, that’s one,” said Glickman. “If you don’t like what’s on the tv or the radio, change the channel. The other thing you can do, if you really want to protest it, is don’t go to the games.”

We reached out to the Browns about their policy on offensive shirts and signs but never heard back.

Katie Wilson

Katie Wilson

Katie Wilson is a born-and-raised Clevelander who is thrilled to return back home. She grew up in Solon, Ohio before leaving for Emory University in Atlanta. Before making it back to Cleveland, Katie anchored and reported in Huntington, W.Va. as well as Youngstown, Ohio and Parkersburg, W. Va.