DARIN DAMME

Opinion: Freedom of Speech applies to everyone, including the president

Sep 23, 2017, 4:06 PM

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session o...

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters. North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said his country may conduct a "historic" hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean. Many experts think North Korea wouldn't do something so risky, but it's hard to rule out given North Korea's steadily expanding nuclear and missile tests. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Here’s what I’ll say about the dust up with NFL players, NBA players and President Donald Trump.

Freedom of Speech applies to everyone, but many are confused as to what it really means.

Freedom of Speech simply means that the government cannot prosecute you for your beliefs or what you say.

You do not have freedom of speech at work. If your employer tells you not to say or do something while you are working, they can fire you for ignoring their directive.

Any NFL owner can tell all players to stand for the Anthem or they’re fired. It’s 100 percent in their rights as an owner to do that.

The president has Freedom of Speech as well. He is well within his rights to state his opinion that owners should fire anyone who disrespects the flag.

The president is not making a law, a directive, or even suggesting a law that the government would require someone be fired for not standing. He’s not even saying an NFL team would be favored by the government or punished for not doing what he says. He’s simply stating his opinion – “Freedom of Speech”.

NFL teams are make their money from fan support, whether through ticket sales, merchandise sales or TV ratings/contracts. If NFL team owners decide to mandate the players stand, because they feel it hurts their product if they don’t, the owners have every right to do it. If the owner doesn’t care, he can let the players do what they want. It’s the owner’s call. Not the player’s and not the governments.

If NFL players are told to stand and are firm in their conviction that they not stand for the pledge, their recourse is to go on strike or quit.

If NFL fans are firm in their conviction that players stand, they can boycott the NFL if they choose.

If the president feels firmly that NFL players should stand then he has every right to say it.

Americans that don’t like what he says, can tweet their hearts out and not vote for him in 2020 and elect someone else who reflects their views.

Americans that do like what the president says can boycott the NFL if they choose and vote for President Donald J. Trump in 2020.

Pretty simple. That’s how freedom works.

Darin Damme

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Opinion: Freedom of Speech applies to everyone, including the president