A's Fan Ejected for Heckling Lew Wolff 

Jorge Leon was thrown out of the coliseum for banners that criticize the man who wants to move the team to San Jose.

Jorge Leon has been an Oakland A's fan for as long as he can remember. But he keeps getting in trouble at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. His offense? He brings large signs that criticize A's co-owner Lew Wolff for his plan to move the team to San Jose. On April 7, coliseum security made Leon take down his sign that read: "Lew Wolff Hates Oakland." Then on April 20, when Leon refused to take down a sign that read, "Wolff lied, he never tried," an argument with security ensued and he was expelled.

Before the confrontation, Leon predicted that his hand-made sign would provoke a reaction. And sure enough, after the April 20 game got underway, two security officers demanded that Leon take down his sign. They said it was "because it says 'Wolff,'" adding that "we have the discretion to take off signs."

Leon and supporters countered that security was infringing on their First Amendment rights. "This is a publicly financed stadium paid for by the citizens of Oakland and Alameda County, and he is suppressing free speech," said fellow A's fan Garth Kimball. Security found the argument unpersuasive. But as they escorted Leon from the stadium, the section he had been sitting in started chanting: "Lew Wolff sucks."

Bob Rose, director of public relations for the A's, said that the team has had a policy in place for more than thirty years banning signs with negative personal messages, so the target of the message had nothing to do with the decision. Signs become an issue, he said, if they target specific individuals and are in "bad taste." Although signs that ridicule opposing players and teams are commonplace at the coliseum, Rose nonetheless maintained that security would "absolutely" act as quickly to remove a sign with a personal attack against an opposing player as they did for the team's co-owner.

"Fans bring signs all the time talking about players, is that in bad taste?" Leon asked. He said he began protesting Wolff's attempts to relocate the team because he "felt that the media was just putting out what Lew Wolff wanted out there ... so I decided that I had to stand up and fight for what I love." Both his signs ridiculed Wolff's claim that he had thoroughly reviewed all possible ballpark sites in Oakland even though the city has come up with two new sites in Jack London Square.

Leon said his next move is to "bring more signs. Do more marches. Hand out flyers. Anything I can do to get the word out that it is ownership that is really responsible for a lot of the problems facing the team."

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in News

  • Oakland Organic Gardener Wins Battle Against Roundup

    Diane Williams fought for two years to stop Oakland Unified from spraying the likely carcinogenic herbicide. And, finally, she was vindicated.
    • Oct 10, 2018
  • Two PACs Take Aim at Desley Brooks

    Building trades unions and some supporters of Mayor Libby Schaaf and ex-Mayor Jean Quan are hoping to oust Brooks, but the councilmember’s backers say the PACs are misrepresenting her record.
    • Oct 9, 2018
  • Targeting Muslims?

    Critics say the Alameda County Sheriff's Office is using a Trump administration anti-terrorism grant to focus on Black, Muslim inmates returning to society.
    • Oct 3, 2018
  • More »

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

  • The Express' November 2018 Endorsement Guide

    We endorse Schaaf, Ezzy Ashcraft, and Butt; along with Fortunato Bas, Thao, Middleton, and Whitaker for Oakland council and Knox White and Oddie for Alameda council.
  • Role Reversals in the Oakland Mayor's Race

    In the Oakland mayor's race, the normally staid Libby Schaaf has come out swinging, while one of her top challengers, the usually brash Cat Brooks, is acting more like a Fortune 500 CEO.
  • Richmond at a Crossroads

    The city is on the verge of an economic boom: Will Mayor Tom Butt, a longtime city official, lead it to prosperity, or will the Richmond Progressive Alliance take full control of City Hall?
  • Oakland Council District 4 Is a Wide-Open Contest

    With the incumbent quitting, the race features seven candidates, including three who are running as a slate.
  • Island Gone Wild

    This has been a crazy year in Alameda politics, and it's about to get crazier.

Special Reports

Fall Arts 2018

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

The Queer & Trans Issue 2018

Stories about creating safe spaces in the Queer and Trans community.

© 2018 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation