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Fan sues over NFL conduct policy, says he has a right to swear

Minnesota Vikings v San Diego Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Fans hold up flags on the anniversary of 9/11 prior to the start of the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on September 11, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Vikings 24-17. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Last year we passed along word of a legal challenge to the NFL’s conduct policy for fans. Now the fan challenging that policy is coming forward to press his case and say he shouldn’t have been kicked out of a stadium for dropping an F-bomb is filing a lawsuit over it.

Eric Holguin, an off-duty Los Angeles police officer who attended the Cardinals-Chargers game in October of 2010 and wore Cardinals colors at Qualcomm Stadium, said that he was kicked out of the stadium after saying “F--- you” to two Chargers fans who challenged him to a fight. Security personnel removed him from the stadium for the obscenity, and now he’s filing a lawsuit.

A fan has a right to say '[expletive] you’ in public. It’s a public place,” Holguin’s attorney, Mary Frances Prevost, told 10 News in San Diego.

Holguin’s lawsuit seeks an injunction asking the city of San Diego to stop enforcing rules for fan behavior at Petco Park and Qualcomm stadium, including the NFL’s Fan Code of Conduct, which ban obscene and offensive language.

The San Diego City Attorney’s Office, however, has said that it’s concerned that profane arguments can escalate into violence, and that families will be less likely to go to games if they believe they’re going to be subjected to profanity. The Chargers also issued a statement supporting the NFL Code of Conduct.

“The NFL’s Code of Conduct has helped make fans further aware that their behavior has an impact on others, and ultimately has helped curtail the number of incidents league-wide,” the Chargers’ statement said. “The NFL Code of Conduct has been and will continue to be a strong asset to our efforts.”

That is, it will continue if Holguin’s lawsuit is unsuccessful.