Freedom of speech applies to all Americans – United States citizens. There are no exceptions. However, employers may restrict speech by an employee on the clock so that such speech is not misinterpreted as being the employee representing the position of the employer if different than that of the employee or if such speech can result in harm to the business of the company. Same employee should be free to express opinions while not on the clock of the employer, not on the property of the employer, and not in the uniform (if any) of the employer. This should extend to the employee’s personal use of the Internet such as Facebook and Twitter, for which the employer can’t restrict. When all employees stand together (or kneel together in protest) with consent of the employer taking the same position on an issue, then that is acceptable – Freedom of Speech extends to such employers.
What is it that the NFL players are protesting? Police brutality. It’s not anti-American, anti-anthem, anti-country, or anti-flag for any individual, employer, company, or organization to protest police brutality. It is in fact police brutality that is anti-American, not the people protesting such unacceptable behavior. Being against brutality does not mean those who are protesting are anti-police, because most protesters know there are good people in law enforcement who do not engage in brutality or murdering unarmed Americans.
President Trump believes the police should be free to use any force necessary without question and without any consequences to police. He favors militarization and nationalization – federalizing – police, as a kind of police state. Trump considers protests against police to be anti-American, and that people who protest against police for any reason should not be protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
I favor Freedom of Speech. Even so, I believe there is a right place and time for everything, including such protests. Most people turn on the TV to a football game because they want to watch a football game, not to watch protests on any issues. I believe the NFL players should not engage in such protests during the broadcast of a game. Instead, they should make an informative video, post it to YouTube, then promote it at Facebook, Twitter, and via other Internet options. I believe it is a mistake for NFL players to tie in our flag and national anthem with protests against police brutality or any other issues being protested, because it shifts the focus from police to the flag and anthem – making the protesters appear to be anti-American when in fact they are pro-American.
Editorial Article by Jim Lantern, Centrist Independent Voter in Norman, Oklahoma
9:00am CT Tuesday – 26 September 2017