Yes, The NFL Has Every Right To Tell Their Employees What They Can Or Can’t Do

Written by Michael Cummings on May 26, 2018

In talking with Jordan Peterson back stage before a recent event, Ben Shapiro remarked (paraphrase), “Isn’t it too bad we get paid to tell the truth?”

This is what we’ve come to, that searching for, reviewing, and articulating the facts of a given situation is considered rare and admirable. People like Peterson and Shapiro are highly skilled at their crafts, but they aren’t revealing core truths the rest of us in our hearts don’t know or at least couldn’t learn on our own with a few minutes of what used to be known as “looking it up.”

Speaking of looking it up, the First Amendment to the constitution says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“Congress” means Congress and, by extension, all government. This negative right stops there. Nowhere does the constitution say private entities can’t regulate free speech.

But to see the reactions from people on the left and right, you’d think the new NFL rule requiring any personnel on the field to stand for the National Anthem (they can stay in the locker room) was akin to slavery. One Twitterhead said the rule essentially sanctioned the full-scale slaughter of blacks by law enforcement.

Have all the opinions you want about what the NFL chose to do as a free enterprise. The law means the NFL can make players wear rainbow tutus and tiaras on the field if they want to. Commissioner Goodell and the owners’ decision to placate ticked-off fans was economic above all else. Estimates put last year’s ratings drop at eight percent so translate that into drops in revenue for this year, and instantly you’ll see course corrections when the bottom line looks weak.

David French, a National Review contributor and attorney who concentrates on constitutional law, wrote the following:
…the power of the salute lies with the choice to salute, and the most repugnant form of censorship is compelled speech — the effort to force a person to state what they do not believe. Mandatory reverence isn’t reverence at all.

Apparently, NFL players are allowed free speech, but the owners are not.

For someone like French who is supposed to know the constitution more than most, on one hand this surprises me. On the other, National Review is full of NeverTrumpers so it makes sense that their continued disgust for the president clouds the judgement of even the most gifted conservative minds. Do you see how easily emotions can lead you to make bad conclusions and worse decisions?

When Trump said NFL players who kneel during the Anthem should be fired, he was wrong. But that doesn’t mean he broke the law. I would prefer the president’s Twittercizing was limited to conservative policies and pro American dispatches, but this rule and his related comments have nothing to do with him. They have nothing to do with anyone not directly affected.

And if you’re one of the privileged to be forced by this rule to stand during the Anthem, if you don’t like it, quit. This is about money because for the moment the United States is still the bastion of free market enterprise, and short of breaking the laws of God and man, you are free to do what you wish.

Let the bell ring.

Image: Excerpted from: SSG Teddy Wade – U.S. Defense website, Public Domain,

Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.