Tennessee Titans player Delanie Walker has one word for fans offended by players staging protests during the National Anthem: “Bye.” And a few more words: “I mean, if you feel that’s something, we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that.”

As I’ve pointed out before, all the arguments about the First Amendment, the importance of the issue, how passionately the players feel, etc., are irrelevant. The players have a First Amendment right to protest anything they want when they’re off the clock. But the NFL is a business. It has an employee manual that mandates in detail how to behave during the National Anthem, and player contracts that state that behavior that harms support for the team is a contract violation.

Commentary continues below advertisement

If a grocery checker insisted on lecturing you about veganism before ringing up your hamburger, you’d demand he or she be fired. So what makes stadiums different from every other workplace in America – aside from the fact they’re largely underwritten by taxpayers, which makes the partisan political statements even more inappropriate?

League officials and team owners are likely clutching their chests right about now at the thought of all the furious fans saying “Bye” in return. They should ponder what they’ve wrought by kneeling in “solidarity” with employees who are now actually telling their paying customers to stay home if they don’t like having political messages forced on them during the National Anthem. Funny, I thought the reason everyone came to the stadium – fans and players alike – was to participate in a football game. If it’s now more important to have a political protest than to have fans, then why even bother to play the game? Why not just turn it into a three-hour social justice protest? Bet that’ll sell a lot of tickets. Or at least, maybe a few Che Guevara T-shirts.


More Stories

NFL encourages players to stand (sort of)

Ugly rant from ESPN anchor

Comments 1-5 of 84

  • Nina huff

    10/22/2017 02:02 PM

    I believe that have a right to kneel.and i do not have the right to tell there employer how to treat them. I do have the right to turn them off and not watch them.please America stay strong do not support NFL in any way

  • Nancy McAlister

    10/21/2017 12:32 AM

    I do not watch football but if I did I wouldn't be watching the NFL. If they want to protest on their own time, fine. But do not do it when playing football and being paid millions by the very people watching the games and as I understand it, I am paying for them too thru my tax dollars.

  • Dr. James Thompson

    10/20/2017 06:49 PM

    The Bible says: Pride goes before the fall. The ignorant arrogance of those players "taking the knee" will bring about their immanent demise. The one knee that each of us will take one day is when we each bow and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. I love football but will no longer watch their games.

  • John wright

    10/19/2017 12:30 PM

    The taste the NFL has left in my mouth this season is horrible. We are still "One nation under God" and respect for life and one another is in our nation's fabric. I have given up on the NFL this 2017-18 season; I will rethink my decision next year as to my participation with the NFL for the 2018-19 season!

  • James R Lowell

    10/19/2017 12:14 AM

    Right, Mike! It never was about 1st Amendment rights, despite all the TV commentators statements to the contrary. It is purely an employment contract issue, and the league and owners are absolute idiots to allow the players to ignore very clear contract language. Hope they get some sense as their profits evaporate. Meanwhile, I am recording college football on Saturday and watching that on Sunday afternoons (after I get home from church, of course).