I’ve never had the desire (nor the necessary skill) to play football. But given what’s going on right now, I really wish that wasn’t the case. If I could right now, I would slap on shoulder pads and a helmet for no other reason than to kneel in public defiance of this president.
While people are perfectly free to hold the opinion that citizens of this country should be forced into standing for the anthem, the flag, the military, or whatever…I think that opinion is a bit misguided. One of the main purposes of the First Amendment is to ensure that citizens of this country (yes, even sportsballers) have the right to speak out peacefully against the government. Choosing to kneel during the national anthem is what I would call an extremely peaceful way of speaking out.
Kneeling during a song does not mean that a person is “disrespecting” anyone or anything. It does not make a person “unpatriotic”. It means that they are exercising the right granted to them in the First Amendment. I find it supremely ironic that people are so up in arms about somebody peacefully speaking out against the government during the ritual that is meant to celebrate the fact that we have the freedom to do that exact thing.
We can certainly talk about the employment side of the issue. Do sports teams have every right to dismiss players for speaking out in such a way? You’re absolutely right they do. Just like the NFL had every right to sever ties with Hank Williams Jr. for being an idiot in 2011. Employment, and the rights granted by the First Amendment, are separate issues. You have the right to speak your mind. You do not have the right to keep your job if what you say is in conflict with the policies of your employer. You don’t go to jail…that’s the free speech part. You can still get fired…that’s the employment part.
So now this, let’s say “president”, seems to think that if people take it upon themselves to speak out against his dumb ass and risk their own employment, then they are “sons of bitches”.
Here’s my question:
Who’s a bigger son of a bitch? A football player peacefully taking a knee? Or a “president” who would rather have a pissing match on Twitter about taking knees than deal with the goddamn destruction of Puerto Rico?