It’s not private in the spotlight – or on the sidelines

I never thought I’d come to the defense of a team from Boston.
But since the New England Patriots technically play their games in Foxborough, Mass., I’m making a concession for them.
So they’re in trouble for taping the New York Jets’ signals on the sidelines.
Apparently it’s against league rules.
I get that.
Naughty Patriots.
Shame, shame, shame.
But here’s my question – how do you put a kibosh on taking note of a public act?
This is where I smash my journalist hat on my head, fitting it around my true blue New York Yankees cap.
We’ve all got our rights to privacy – whether they’re spelled out in the Constitution in so many words or not.
But step outside the doors of your home, my friend, and they go out the window.
If it’s not in private, it’s public.
Am I being too simple?
So let me spell it out for you.
If you attend a public meeting of a board – say your local town council meeting – and you decide to speak your mind, you just forfeited your right to privacy.
Because everything said during a public meeting is… well… public.
I can (and often will) write it in the newspaper. And if you refuse to give me your name, it’s not necessarily going to stop me.
A meeting isn’t a one-on-one with me. You didn’t request we go “off the record.”
And you had the chutzpah to speak in public – so you’d better be ready for your name to go with your words.
Am I being unreasonable? Nosy? Sensational? Insensitive?
Nope. I’m doing my job.
Don’t like it? Keep your thoughts private – and I will too.
So how about the photography part in all this?
After all, the Patriots were taking images of the sidelines signaling, albeit against the rules.
The National Football League may reign supreme inside a stadium, but out here in the real world, the rules are dictated by the Supreme Court.
As far as they’re concerned, if your kid is standing in the middle of a craft fair munching on a donut, I can take his picture.
You can’t take my camera.
If you have something on your property visible from the middle of a municipally-owned road, I can snap away.
Really, there’s no difference between what I can do and what the average Joe can do on his trip to Disneyland, camera slung around his neck.
Ever watched your vacation videos and noticed the lady on the next towel over on the beach was showing a bit more flesh than most of us would deem prudent?
Ever poured through your wedding photos and seen a married groomsman in flagrante delicto with the not-so-married maid of honor?
Shame, shame, shame.
Too bad the NFL can’t save them now.
But they could do us a little favor.
If you don’t want anyone to know you said it, don’t say it.
If you don’t want anyone to see it, don’t show it.
If you don’t think you can – then just stay home.


  1. Hi, Jeanne. I’m Tammy with Bear My Heart. I’ve been reading your work since the article on Lou Monteleone and the Lou Bear. Thanks so much for that story. I really enjoy your writing style and the way you can combine honesty with humor. I’m now a “fan.” Thanks again.

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