STANDING FOR THE RIGHT TO KNEEL: The Free Speech Straw Man 

Posted on October 12, 2017 by

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By: Christian Rogers

Today’s Quote

“I feel like they should let us do whatever we want to do. If you want to stand, stand. If you want to kneel, kneel. If you want to sit, sit. Whatever you want to do should be a personal preference to do.” – Mike Wallace (WR, Baltimore Ravens) 

Time Check

October 12, 1933 – The U.S. Department of Justice acquired Alcatraz Island from the Army.

October 12, 1938 – Production began on “The Wizard of Oz.”

October 12, 1987 – In Houston, Vice-President George H.W. Bush formally launched his quest for the Republican presidential nomination.

 


 

 

 

 

real time

Iss. 64

October 12, 2017

 

Dear Thinkers,

 

Contrary to the beliefs of some, If you elect not to stand for the National Anthem, then it does not, in effect, mean that you hate our Veterans. Still, it might reveal that you are radically misinformed which also requires attention.

 

About a year ago, when the whole kneeling epidemic commenced, The Real Times published an explosive column that I wrote titled, “Black Quarterbacks Matter” (It should be required reading as far as I’m concerned). In the piece, I mentioned that I happen to be a Colin Kaepernick fan—no I don’t have a jersey or poster in my room, but I tend to root for the guy. He has a cannon for an arm, he went to college in Reno (an intimate city which I frequent) and he’s genuinely exciting to watch. I also mentioned that what an NFL Quarterback says, in regard to politics, should be taken with a grain of salt, as it is not his job to process FBI reports, but to read Tampa – 2 defenses… and let’s be honest, Mr. Kap has hardly mastered that.

 

This is not a Freedom of Speech Issue

Before we move the ball any further, let’s clarify something: This has absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment. The Left, the same body that can hardly take a siesta from trashing the Constitution, swiftly acts as the first to throw a flag now that their agenda meets confrontation. Various TV hosts and pundits are murderously echoing this afflicted interpretation (either on purpose, or out of ignorance). If you, Dear Thinker, come across someone who claims “this is about their right to speech” or something akin to that, then I suggest you take a cold-hard-look at some of their other baseless statements, for they may also be out of bounds.

 

Let’s make this a bit more obvious. Imagine that a player wanted to stamp “Make America Great Again” on his helmet. Or that he decided to start holding political rallies during the post-game press conference (two acts that are unequivocally protected freedoms of speech to the average person). But you may have forgotten that these players are at work. And just like any workplace, the player’s employer (in this case the NFL) would step in and shut him down—and they should because it’s bad for business (just look at the ratings this season). However, such action would have nothing to do with infringement on any Constitutional rights! We have not even begun to dabble in the waters of government suppression, don’t give me that.

 

If a player wants to express himself at home, on his own time (like put a Trump sign in front of his house), I would have no problem with it. Under this premise, he is no longer using company time and he’s not ruining the football game with a sideshow. But even then, depending on what is in his contract,  our comrade might face backlash. And it still wouldn’t have anything to do with freedom of speech! For instance, Ronald Reagan was fired as the spokesman for General Electric for his outspoken Conservative views. More recently, the same happened to Curt Schilling and a similar circumstance with Tim Allen. And last I recall, there was not a single soul on the Left complaining that any first amendment rights had been violated. You see, this is not about free speech. This is an absolute straw man. It is insulting that we even have to cover this, but due to the high volume of ignorance that encircles us in the media, I feel compelled to make sure we are all on the same page here. A few weeks ago ESPN’s Jemele Hill attacked Trump, implying that he was a white supremacist, just this week Jamile Hill was suspended from ESPN for issuing a second political tweet, this time about Jerry Jones. What about her speech rights? Hmm…last I checked, the Supreme Court has yet to pick up her case… Because after all, when your job is to play football or to talk about sports, and you elect to act as if you are Rush Limbaugh, your employer reserves the right to reprimand you.

 

 

The Rules are the Rules

If you think that this rule is a dumb rule, then that’s all fine and dandy, but a rule about the way that an NFL game is carried out is not a freedom of speech issue, it is personal preference. For example, players are forbidden from over-expressing themselves after a touchdown. In everyday America, putting a muzzle on expression is illegal. In the NFL though, this is not the case as you are AT WORK… and their job is to play football not be an artist. In the NFL this form of expression is called “Excessive Celebration” and results in a 15 yard penalty as well as a fine! Think of it this way: It is likely that you could receive punishment for sitting on the floor during your next business meeting (though I’m not positive they would dish out a 15 yard penalty) And odds are that this would happen to you even without a specific rule being spelled out in plain english prior to you doing so, yet it would still be warranted. I mean, how many of us really have a rule that says specifically “you can’t sit on the floor in a meeting or else…” But the NFL actually does have this rule for the National Anthem!

 

Everyone knows you don’t have the right to do whatever the hell you want at work, you have the right to do your job according to your contract and receive the compensation agreed upon in that contract. It does not matter if you tell your boss that you are sitting on the floor to make a statement or to promote a just cause… That’s great… but do it on your own time! Your boss may agree with your cause, but it is also distracting! And Ironically, these players who have a very long offseason (comparable to other sports) do very little—if anything—to promote their cause on their own time. If Police Brutality was such a pressing issue, why not buy commercial time and run their ad during the game to raise awareness?  It is as if this highly important issue is not even one of their priorities and they put forth only the least effort. If this movement were truly vital to the health of our nation, one would assume that kneeling during a 3 minute song would be the the minimal requirement. I don’t know about you, but I would be out in the community building a coalition of voters, protesting outside of police stations, promoting legislation to enact better police strategies and doing every single thing within my power to get bad officers off the force. But hey, that all takes time, work, and devotion. Taking a knee, well that takes courage. Right?

Recently:

Roger Goodell wrote a memo stating “everyone should stand for the National Anthem”. He went on, as this is “dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.” Noting that it was, “a barrier,” And that, “We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.” We shall see what happens.

 

Keep it Real

Christian Rogers

 

The Real Times- a degree in common sense…

~Intellectual Entertainment~

E-mail the author at: christianrogers@realtimesblog.com

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