The movement first started with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality. Now the movement is growing as players protest President Trump’s call to fire anyone who doesn’t stand during the national anthem.
Chris McCarty interviewed and quoted by WBIR for the segment on free speech
NFL ANTHEM PROTESTS SPARK FREE SPEECH DEBATE
WXIA, our sister station in Atlanta, worked to verify if NFL players are required to stand for the national anthem.
Knoxville employment attorney Chris McCarty said it is up to the NFL, a private employer, to decide what it will and won’t allow on the field.
“A private employer could say we don’t want you practicing politics,” McCarty said. “We don’t want you talking politics. We don’t want that in the work place. Absolutely they could say don’t do it, and if you do it, you’re fired.”
McCarty said the First Amendment and free speech does not necessarily apply to NFL players since they are governed by the rules of a private employer, the NFL.
“It has no play when it comes to a private employer doing something about it,” McCarty said. “So when you go to work for the Dallas Cowboys, it’s not going to work for the federal government. That means you have less freedom there to speak.”
However, according to our verify article, there are no absolute rules and enforcement if players do not stand during the national anthem.
Former Tennessee Vols football player and 11-year NFL veteran Fuad Reveiz said he believes the flag and anthem are things that players should not disrespect while on the job.
“Some of us believe strongly that that flag represents a lot of things very dear to us and do not appreciate what’s going on quite frankly,” Reveiz said.
Reveiz said the coaches and commissioners that he played under would never have allowed these kind of demonstrations, and it’s up to the NFL commissioner to change any future behavior.
“I’m all for people expressing their opinions, whether they want to or not, however they want to, but on the job, that’s a whole different story,” Reveiz added. See the segment on WBIR.com by clicking here.