"Yankees Suck" Offends Texas Rangers' Delicate Sensitivities

Rangers fan told to change shirt or leave ballpark

By Scott Gordon
|  Friday, May 29, 2009  |  Updated 9:57 AM CDT
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Is the "Yankees Suck" t-shirt profane?

Kristen Knapp-Webb

You may think the Yankees suck, but don't advertise it on your clothes at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

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To Rangers, "Yankees Suck" Shirt is Profane

A security guard told Kristen Knapp-Web to change her shirt or leave the ballpark.

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A Texas Rangers’ fan who wore a "Yankees Suck" shirt to Tuesday's game against New York was told by a security guard to change it -- or she would be kicked out.

"He came down and said, ‘You have to change that shirt,’” said Kristen Knapp-Webb, of Carrollton. “I said, 'But it's not profane. Why do I have to change my shirt?' He said, 'The Texas Rangers organization considers that shirt to be profane.'"

The Rangers implemented a code of conduct for fans several years ago after some people complained they were offended by shirts such as hers, a team spokesman said.

"That particular phrase is one we’ve received a lot of complaints about," said Rangers spokesman John Blake. "That kind of thing is offensive to a lot of people, especially if you have young children and that kind of thing. And I think that's why we have that policy."

Knapp-Webb and her husband, Walter, said they consider themselves loyal Rangers fans.  They even named their dog "Ranger."

They had gone to the game Tuesday to celebrate their 19th wedding anniversary. He wore a Texas Rangers jersey, and she wore the "Yankees Suck" shirt her husband gave her for an anniversary gift.

No other fans seemed offended by her shirt and, in fact, many laughed, she said.

"It's funny," she said. "It's the thing fans do to each other to razz them, to make them laugh (and) have a good time."

But before the rain-delayed game started, she said, a security guard told her she had to turn the shirt inside out, change it or leave the ballpark.

"I understand it's private property," Knapp-Webb said. "But they can't not offend every person who walks in that door. It's not possible."

Under protest, she went to a restroom and turned the shirt inside out. She and her husband decided to leave a short time later, before the game started.

She said she hopes the Rangers clarify their policy.

"I think 'profanity' needs a definition, and I don't think 'sucks' is included," Knapp-Webb said.

The Rangers’ Code of Conduct states, "Any person wearing clothing with language… that may be offensive to another guest may be denied entry into the stadium, or ejected from the stadium without refund."

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