Super Bowl free speech battle just heated up

The contest to host each year’s Super Bowl game is furious on its own.

But one state just sold out to the National Football League (NFL).

Now a major Super Bowl free speech battle is heating up.

When the chance to host a Super Bowl game comes their way, city leaders tend to fall over themselves to win the coveted honor.

The entire Phoenix, Arizona metro area is worked up over the coming event with host city Glendale taxpayers shelling out $2.5 million to get ready for the event.

They’re banking on a good turnout to generate tens of millions in taxes and hundreds of millions of spending at local businesses.

But some property owners are taking a direct hit to their wallets over the event—and they’re not one bit happy about being forced to shut down and shut up based on the whims of local leaders.

Property owners incensed as city & NFL try to dictate what they can’t do on their property

Now an Arizona businessman has filed a lawsuit against the City of Phoenix for banning “temporary signage” on private property in the city’s downtown area unless the property owners get prior approval from the NFL.

“The city of Phoenix is letting the NFL decide what I can and cannot say on my own property. That’s not right,” Bramley Paulin was quoted as saying by Reason magazine.

Paulin owns two properties affected by the ban.

A city staff member was completely unapologetic, essentially claiming that the NFL’s advertisers have essentially paid for the entire skyline.

“The NFL sponsors are making a huge financial commitment to be one of those designated sponsors, and we need to provide that protection to those sponsors in the downtown area where a lot of the Super Bowl events are happening,” the staffer argued.

But being robbed of valuable advertising space isn’t sitting well with Paulin — and his attorney, who works with the Goldwater Institute, agrees that being robbed of valuable advertising space is flat out unconstitutional.

“It’s a blanket prior restraint on speech,” John Thorpe explained.

The lawsuit delves into the city’s violation of free speech and due process clauses in the Arizona state constitution.

Paulin and Thorpe are also taking a swing at the city for delegating its authority to the NFL and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee which was apparently willing to make some big promises to benefit local government — even if it had to walk on the rights of individual citizens in the process.

Stay tuned to Unmuzzled News for any updates to this ongoing story.

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