Free Speech and the NFL
The National Football League is an industry that provides entertainment via football games. Like every other industry, it answers to the law of supply and demand. The NFL will go on as long as people are willing to buy tickets to NFL games, watch NFL games on TV and buy NFL merchandise.
The 2017 NFL season has been irksome for some people because NFL players have chosen to exercise their freedom of speech by engaging in peaceful protest. For example, before their game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys knelt during the playing of the National Anthem.
If people don’t like NFL players exercising their freedom of speech in such a way, then the former can do the American thing – which is to refuse to watch NFL games and refuse to buy NFL merchandise.
The un-American thing to do would be to deny NFL players their freedom of speech.
It is true that NFL players aren’t exempt from the free-market consequences of their peaceful protest. That is where the law of supply and demand comes in. If NFL players don’t supply what NFL fans demand, then the latter can withhold their time and money from the former. A boycott is in itself an exercise of free speech.
The proper response to free speech that one doesn’t like is for one to engage in one’s own free speech.
It would be foolish at best to try to take a First Amendment right away from NFL players . . . or from anyone else living in the USA.
Personal Note: The fact that I defend the First Amendment rights of people in the USA doesn’t necessarily mean that I approve of the way that those people exercise their First Amendment rights.
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