Regulated Signage


The Rhode Island state Senate unanimously approved a bill that would hit pro athletes and other celebs with a $100 fine if they charged anyone under 16 for an autograph. Sen. Roger Badeau came up with this master stroke after some Boston Red Sox came to Providence and charged almost $200 per autograph.

But, hey, ballplayers, pro and otherwise, as well as celebs with dubious staying powers all know that at least some of those mewing brats with Sharpies at the ready will hand the 'graph off to mom or dad so they can try to recoup their investment, and maybe more, on eBay.

Then there is the fact that the no one ever said mindless idol worship would be cheap or easy. Better to learn that lesson early. Everything has a price when grown-ups play sports, especially loyalty.

How 'bout a $1000 fine for being a pathetic, groveling Sawx fan?

Gee, Thanks Mister.

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  1. does the stunning illogic of this even deserve comment? i’ve wasted enough words already.

  2. Interesting thought: Rhode Island has no professional sports teams to the best of my knowledge, so would this statute be a violation of the dormant commerce clause, given that it disproportionately burdens interstate commerce?

  3. I thought RI had pro baseball for years.

  4. So, Rhode Island has just killed any chance of having: Sports Collectible Shows, Sci Fi conventions, any other sort of fan conventions, book signings.

    Fortunately for me, this doesn’t affect Providence’s numerous exotic dancing clubs from hosting feature dancers.

  5. “I thought RI had pro baseball for years.”

    Sorry, I was thinking major league sports teams. Is there a market for minor league autographs?

  6. >>Sorry, I was thinking major league sports teams.

    Do the New England Patriots count? Since RI is part of NE.

    As a Rhode Islander I’m very embarassed about this. However, as someone who doesn’t give a damn about sports (and if I did, it would be basketball and hockey, two sports that exhibit grace and agility)I’m going to get over my embarassment very, very quickly.

  7. I wonder if this might lead to the proliferation of fake ID’s that lower the age of their owners!

  8. I can’t imagine any unintended consequences arisin from this. After all, we’re from the government and we’re here to help!

  9. But, hey, ballplayers, pro and otherwise, as well as celebs with dubious staying powers all know that at least some of those mewing brats with Sharpies at the ready will hand the ‘graph off to mom or dad so they can try to recoup their investment, and maybe more, on eBay.

    I don’t think that happens on a large scale anymore. The explosive growth of the “certified” sports memorabilia industry, and the production of more autographed baseball cards than anyone cares for, has made a lot of collectors unwilling to shell out for a signed item whose authenticity can’t be proven.

    Still a dumb law, though, particularly given Xmas’ point.

  10. If I understand correctly, a celebrity isn’t obligated to issue an autograph to a kid, free or not, right? So what about a sign at the table: “Will not sign autographs for those under 16”?

  11. “As a Rhode Islander I’m very embarassed about this.”

    This is nothing to be embarassed about, it’s just incredibly stupid.

    Embarassed are those from Colorado who woke up this morning to this headline: “Lawmaker sounds alarm on interspecies marriage”

    This from from their State Representative Jim Welker (R) “Where do you draw the line?” he says, “A year ago in India a woman married her dog.” This, of couse is his rationale for supporting a law banning gay marriage….what an ass…

  12. No-brainer: In addition to the $200 signature, the jocks should charge the obviously well-off brats another $100 to cover the fine. And hell, while they’re at it: a $25 Spoiled-Rotten Idiot Fee.

  13. I guess the people of RI ought to be grateful that their legislators are wasting time on this kind of meaningless crap. The more time they spend on stuff like this the less time they have to be screwing you in more meaningful ways… Perhaps we ought to keep drumming up these trivial issues in every state to distract lawmakers from their usual job of doing real damage.

  14. The government controlling how people sell their signature…help me out here, does this qualify as fascism?

  15. I don’t get the under age 16 thing. Is this some new adulthood cut-off or something? So if you’re 16 or 17, you gotta come up with the money, but if you’re 15 you don’t? There’s that many 16 and 17 year olds with full time jobs?

    And if the fine is $100, then the Red Sox players still would have made $100 off each autograph. Just thell the kiddies it’s $100 for the autograph plus $100 for the Rhode Island Children’s Autograph Tax.

  16. I think charging kids for autographs is sick. Of course, if I had faced such as a kid, I simply wouldn’t have purchased the autograph.

    Why is the gov’t involved here? Oh, that’s right, they’re the freakin’ government.

    A likely consequence will be that ballplayers who wish to charge for the signature will not visit RI anymore. Seeing that it’s so small, I’d bet that anyone willing to pay for a ‘graph is also willing to drive across the state border to do it.

  17. Of course, looking at my statement just now, I realize that by crossing the border to pay for an autograph might well come under the interstate commerce clause. I mean if Congress can hold a hearing on steroids, why can the SCOTUS regulate the inevitable and evil autograph traffiking ring?

  18. Since this is Rhode Island I assume this is being proposed because this guy didn’t get a big enough payoff the last time he met with representatives from the MLB Players Union. 🙂

  19. In addition to all the other logistical nightmares this law would entail, there’s the question of how one is supposed to know which kids are under 16. Since they’re too young to have drivers licenses, the only form of ID with birthdate on it that they’d be able to produce would be a passport.

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