Ever since this whole “players kneeling during the National Anthem” imbroglio started sending the NFL’s popularity ratings into sudden death, defenders on the left have argued that if owners told them to stand up and show respect, it would violate their First Amendment free speech rights. In response, many of us have patiently explained that it has nothing to do with the First Amendment. That protects you from government censorship on your own time, it doesn’t give you the right to inflict your opinions on customers at work and ruin your employer’s business.
Granted, I’m not a legal expert, but all you really need to do to understand the difference is to read 10 words of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Notice it protects you from Congress making laws, not from your boss telling you to get up on your feet or you’re fired.
Still, some people continue to make hair-splitting arguments to try to turn this into a First Amendment issue. Finally, one of the ultimate experts on Constitutional law has weighed in: Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz appeared on a New York radio station to confirm that this is an employer-employee issue, not a free speech issue. But being the expert he is, he took it even further, to explain why the people who want to invoke the First Amendment should be careful what they wish for.
For instance: the First Amendment protects all speech, good or bad. So if players have a First Amendment right to do whatever they want during the National Anthem, nothing could stop dissenters from putting on a KKK robe. It wouldn’t be a very wise idea when you’re surrounded by very large African-American men who are out to tackle you, but you could do it.
Likewise, he noted that those who accuse President Trump of violating the law by saying he thinks NFL tax breaks should be revoked would also have to admit that Trump has a First Amendment right to express his opinion -- and that’s all it is, since he doesn’t have the power to change tax laws.
No wonder leftists are always coming up with lists of people that the First Amendment doesn't apply to. When everyone has the right to speak freely, they actually have to defend their beliefs! That's a job I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
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