2 thoughts on “Explainer: Here’s What the First Amendment Means for #TakeAKnee

    1. In short, it means nothing at all.

      Many people are making #TakeAKnee out to be a First Amendment issue. But it’s actually not because the First Amendment only limits what the government can do to curtail speech. Thus, it would be a First Amendment issue if Trump was trying to pass a law to require standing for the anthem, fine organizations that disrespect the flag, or something along those lines. In the absence of that, the First Amendment is irrelevant. The NFL is bound by the terms of the contracts it has with the players / their union / and the owners, not by the First Amendment. Accordingly, the NFL likely has the discretion to require players to stand for the flag if it wants to. Of course, just because the NFL has the ability to curtail the protests, that doesn’t mean one has to agree with it doing so.

      In many ways, it’s analogous to the Google Memo flare-up that occurred a couple months ago, except that the political loyalties involved are mostly flipped. That wasn’t a First Amendment issue either because Google should have the right to terminate people it judges, correctly or not, to be bad for its company culture, brand, etc. But as with the NFL, acknowledging the legality of the situation does not mean one is obligated to agree with Google’s decision.

      Thanks for the comment!

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