Chase Daniel

New Orleans Saints quarterback Chase Daniel (10) stands with his hand over his heart during the national anthem as other Saints players sit on the bench before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) ORG XMIT: NCCB132

A state appeals court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans Saints season ticketholder seeking a refund because of player protests against police brutality during playing of the national anthem.

Morgan City businessman Lee Dragna sued for his money back and other damages in December because fans sitting near him during the Saints' game against the New England Patriots in September 2017 booed and cursed Saints players for not coming out of the locker room until after "The Star-Spangled Banner" was over.

The year before, some NFL players had begun kneeling during the anthem to protest police misconduct. As the protest grew and sparked controversy, some players decided to stay inside the locker room while the anthem was being performed.

Dragna’s suit said he never would have bought his tickets had he known that any player would protest during games.

He amended the suit in January to add claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, failure to warn of potential protests and violation of his right as a member of a captive audience to be protected from unwanted speech.

The Saints asked Judge June Berry Darensburg, of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, to find Dragna had no cause of action, but she ruled that there was cause under the emotional distress, negligence and captive audience claims.

The Saints appealed, and a panel of judges on the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled Oct. 15 that there was no cause of action on any aspect of the claim.

Judges Robert Chaisson, Hans Liljeberg and John Molaison wrote that in order to have a claim, Dragna would need to show that the team’s conduct was “extreme and outrageous,” that his distress was severe and that the Saints desired to inflict that distress or at least knew that it would be substantial.

The panel found Dragna’s claims “are simply not actionable” and that it could not see how he could amend his suit in a way that could make them so.

Legal analysts had said that the suit faced an uphill battle.

The protests were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat during the anthem at two preseason games in August 2016.

It wasn’t until he and fellow teammate and Baton Rouge native Eric Reid decided to kneel after speaking to a former player who was a Green Beret that the media took notice. Some other players followed suit, and the protests quickly became a recurring political sore spot nationwide.

The issue flared up a few months before Dragna filed his suit, when President Donald Trump said players who knelt should be fired. The president's statements prompted a backlash of more players kneeling, raising their fists or staying off the field entirely.

Earlier this fall, Nike named Kaepernick, who has not been hired by another team since the controversy began, as the spokesman for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” ad campaign.

In response, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn instructed that taxpayer dollars not go toward any Nike products at the city’s parks and sports facilities. He reversed course a few days later amid a public outcry.

Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.