Many pundits are getting it wrong and it unfortunately shows a lack of understanding of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It is very clear that the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, protect us from government, not the private sector.
The San Francisco 49ers, the National Football League, and any other private organization have a right to control speech on their property or while working in their employ. I should also add the Denver Broncos as Brandon Marshall was on one knee during the National Anthem at Thursday night’s opening game against Carolina.
It is certainly the case that players have every right to express their views as a fundamental right, but not at the expense of an employer who is paying them at the time of the protest for their services. There is no “right” of free speech in the private sector that is constitutionally protected.
Recently a related incident occurred with a guest on my program, Justin Danhof of Project 21 (an African-American Conservative Think Tank), reporting that he attended Starbucks and Costco annual shareholder meetings to ask for a commitment that they would allow their employees to work on their own time for candidates of their choice. Mr. Danhof asked that they pass a resolution to this effect. Both companies refused. Why?
Howard Shultz, Chairman of Starbucks is a well-known liberal as is Jeff Brotman, founder of Costco. They would not commit to protecting employee rights who work for a candidate of their own choice on their own time. This means they work for Donald Trump at their own risk.
Ironically, if the 49ers or Broncos instructed Kaepernick and Marshall respectively to stay in the clubhouse during the National Anthem instead of making a visual display of embarrassment to the team, the left wing in this country would go ballistic.
Yet it is apparently Ok to stifle or suppress conservatives from working for the candidate of their choice at Starbucks or Costco.
Where has Kaepernick been when it comes to doing volunteer work in minority communities? Where was Brandon Marshall? As a result of public pressure, Kaepernick is now donating 1 million dollars to minority causes. Better late than never.
By the way, he will earn 14 million dollars this year. Has this country discriminated against him as a failed quarterback who had great potential and now is second string?
And, what about the white parents who adopted and raised him as their own. It sounds as though this country has been good to Kaepernick.
He might also consider that the vast majority of African-American homicides have resulted from other African-American members of those communities. Well over 90% of homicides against African-Americans fall within this category.
Kaepernick might also consider that the vast majority of police involved homicides have been found justified by grand juries and judges. Also, the police homicide in Milwaukee was by an African-American police officer. He was facing a known criminal who refused to drop his firearm after warnings and instead faced the officer with the gun in hand. What would Kaepernick suggest that officer do? Or what Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson should have done when Michael Brown tried to grab his gun and presumably shoot the officer?
There is a handful of homicides by out of control police officers and those are being prosecuted and they should be. The system is working.
In the meantime, let us suggest to the pundits that there is no free speech protection when you are on a football field in the employ of a private organization.