In a class-action civil suit filed yesterday afternoon in Kent County’s 17th Circuit Court, a local group of twenty-three MSU Spartan fans, calling themselves Green-Blooded Americans For Fairness, claim the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) is guilty of decor-discrimination for its use of a maize & blue color scheme. Papers, legal briefs and several post-it notes filed in Circuit Court claim the airport is guilty of “brazen and overt usage of a maize and blue color scheme in a public facility owned by a government municipality, which clearly represents the discriminatory endorsement and promotion of one State University over another”. In addition to seeking injunctive relief in the form of a neutral airport color scheme, the plaintiffs are seeking $5 million in punitive damages for “mental suffering and retinal damage” caused by prolonged and repeated exposure to the vivid blue and gold hues throughout the airport.
Kent County, named in the suit as legal owner of GRR airport (operated by the Kent County Department of Aeronautics), issued a statement this morning through its Public Relations Department, dismissing the lawsuit as “frivolous and without merit”. The statement goes on to explain that when Kent County International Airport was renamed as Gerald R. Ford International Airport in 1999, the color scheme was chosen because President Ford not only came from Grand Rapids, but played football for the University of Michigan in the 1930s. Speaking to the Times, GRR Public-Relations Spokesperson Laura Brady said, “These colors are not meant to offend Spartan fans, they were chosen to honor our 38th President. We believe the majority of Spartan fans can understand this, and we will not be bullied by a small minority of extreme fanatics who only see the world in green and white.”
With excitement already building for this Saturday’s annual football showdown between the two inner-state rivals, news of today’s lawsuit went viral across social media, with bitter partisan arguments erupting on Facebook and Twitter. “More than two million people a year go through the Gerald Ford airport, and a lot of them are Spartan fans who shouldn’t have to sit for hours in an environment that feels like a U-of-M cafeteria”, wrote John Macklin in a Facebook tirade this afternoon. Macklin, the founder and Director of Green-Blooded Americans For Fairness, went on to say, “Spartan fans have been victimized for years in this War-on-Green perpetrated by the liberal media and Ann Arbor-lovin’ elitists. It makes me nauseous and and hurts my eyes to sit in that airport for more than ten minutes, and it’s reprehensible that the only green to be seen at GRR is in the logos for Quiznos and Starbucks. Today is the day Spartan fans stand up and fight back.”
Within hours of yesterday’s court-filing, a pro-Michigan group calling itself The Blue-Maizers launched an online fundraising campaign to help Kent County pay legal expenses in defending the airport’s right to keep what the Maizers describe as a “tasteful and wonderfully color-coordinated airport decor”. Both sides of this dispute will appear in Circuit Court for a Preliminary Hearing on Monday, October 26. In Ann Arbor, Officials have announced a series of increased security measures for Saturday’s football game, hoping to prevent the already heightened emotions of this classic rivalry from being pushed over the edge by today’s lawsuit. Be sure to follow The Grand River Times’ for live tweets from the Courtroom on October 26.