- The Washington Times
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If NFL players have a right to on-field free expressions of speech, then that means pro-life players can take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to show solidarity with all the babies who could have been, save for America’s legal rubber-stamp of abortion.

Right?


After all, if players are permitted to bend knees, or stay in the locker room — in violation of league rules — during the anthem to protest for racial justice and against white police officer killings of blacks, then certainly the unborn are worthy of similar field representation.

The situations are similar.

NFL players now taking knees say blacks are unfairly, unjustly being targeted and killed. Pro-lifers say abortion unfairly, unjustly targets and kills human lives. And there are strong feelings on both issues, with plenty of supporters, critics, naysayers, doubters and outright deniers to go around.

It’s not quite apples to apples. But it’s close enough to merit reflection.

So here goes: Wonder if league top brass would be so accommodating for a player who bended knee during the anthem to protest abortion as they are now for those who disrespect the song on social justice reasons?

Wonder how the media would report that scenario? Think of it — dozens upon dozens of pro-life players falling to their knees during the playing of the anthem, some maybe even taking a few seconds to pray for the souls of the innocence that were lost.

Think how that would be covered by the mainstream, largely left-leaning press.

But wait, there’s more.

Wonder if those who stand steadfastly on the side of the anti-anthem players now would stand just as tall, just as vociferously on the side of the anti-abortion players?

Logically speaking — they should.

But here’s the thing: If abortion were bringing NFL players to their knees right now, chances are this story would have taken a completely different path.

The media is currently making a great case that everybody, even NFL players, have rights to free speech and expression. The media is also making a great case against President Donald Trump, painting him as the evil villain who wants to strip poor NFL players of their First Amendment rights by pressing team owners and coaches to fire those who protest the national anthem on the field.

But let’s remember that while yes, NFL players have the right to petition and protest and air their grievances, they don’t necessarily have the right to petition and protest and air their grievances while on the job.

The football field is a football player’s office.

Can America’s average Joes and Janes head into their places of work, put down their coffee cups, flip on their computers and then, say, walk around the office a few times while holding pro-Black Lives Matter signs?

Certainly — they can.

But the issue is appropriateness. Employers probably wouldn’t take kindly to the workplace disruptions.

The issue is also accountability. The employees who engaged in such behaviors might, post-protest, face some sort of punitive measures from their bosses.

Employees are free to express themselves. But that doesn’t mean their expressions come absent accountability. Moreover — and note to social justice warriors, leftist activists and particularly the media — the fact that they face accountability doesn’t mean they’ve lost their free speech rights.

This is the logic that’s lacking from the whole NFL fiasco.

The NFL players who want to thumb their noses at the national anthem are engaging in their expressions of free speech. But they don’t want to be held accountable for these expressions — they want, in essence, their rights upheld but critics’ similar rights squelched.

That’s not constitutional. That’s dictatorial.

And a media that can’t understand that and report accordingly ought to mentally exchange the issue that’s leading NFL activists to take a knee during the anthem — the so-called racism and brutality of police against minorities — for another, one that maybe doesn’t already align itself with the narrative of the left. Try abortion.

It’s like this: Those who now support the players using their field time to protest police ought to similarly support any player who wants to use his field time to protest abortion.

Those who now oppose the on-field protests against cops should similarly oppose on-field protests against abortion.

The current NFL fiasco is not a race thing; it’s not even a freedom of speech thing. It does speak to patriotism. But truly, it’s a matter of appropriate displays of political protests and whether employees have the right to express themselves however they see fit while at their places of business. Make the case that way, and suddenly, the whole problem of NFL on-field interruptions and distractions goes away.


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