Covington, KY (CNN, WLWT) - Americans have the right to free speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment of our Constitution.
However, there are limitations. For example, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater, and (apparently), you can't yell "BINGO!" unless you've got the card to back it up.
A Kentucky teen has been banned from saying the word, after crying wolf-- or bingo in this case -- at a crowded bingo hall recently, causing confusion and frustration for the players. But, 18 year old Austyn Whaley says most of the players paid him no mind. "They just looked at me, then looked back down."
The prank landed Whaley in court. A Park Hills Police Officer at the bingo hall issued the young man a citation, saying he "caused alarm to patrons." Whaley says the officer wasn't playing around when he was confronted. "Instantly, grabs my hand, handcuffs me, takes me to the back of his cruiser." He was charged with disorderly conduct and went before a Kenton County judge, who ordered him to discontinue using the word "bingo."
Despite the sentence, Whaley doesn't hold any hard feelings for the judge. "He's a good guy. I'm glad that he -- I wasn't the only one who thought the charge was crazy. I'm glad he was really cool about it."
The judge even gave Whaley a test before returning him to polite bingo-playing society. "He wrote down on a piece of paper the word and said 'what's that word again'? I said 'I'm sorry, I can't say that.'"
The brush with the law hasn't dampened Whaley's spirit. He's already working on alternatives.. "I try to say it backwards like 'ognib' or something along the lines of that." He does have a word of warning for other youth who may be inspired to copy his crime.. "Kids out there, don't say 'Mingo' in the 'Mingo' Hall."