For Constitution Day, Freedom of Speech Facts:
Even in a National Anthem Protest in a Football Game. . .
First Amendment Rights have Choices and Consequences
In a free and open society with the First Amendment guaranteeing political speech, there are consequences. ~Rush Limbaugh
What do you think the First Amendment’s free speech clause grants you? The right to say what you want politically? You’re right. It does. Now, the First Amendment says that government cannot stop you from saying what you want. It doesn’t say the San Francisco 49ers can’t. If you work someplace, your First Amendment rights do fall under the policies of your owner or of your boss or of your workplace.
This is not a fine point. But larger point is this: The media is trying to portray Kaepernick as a hero for courageously and with great guts criticizing his own country and criticizing the bias and the prejudice and the murderous police. It takes guts and courage.
1) You Have the Right To Say What You Want, But You Don’t Have The Right To Be Heard
Now, there’s every entitlement to do it. Kaepernick, anybody else has every right to say what they want to say about that. But, two things are incumbent here. No one has the right to be heard — and this I find… When I say this to people who think they understand the First Amendment, that shocks them.
‘Cause they’ve never thought of it that way. Yeah, you can say what you want, but nobody has to listen to you.
2) You Don’t Have the Right To Be Immune from the Consequences
The second thing is you have the right to say what you want, you have the right to believe what you want, but you do not have the right to not suffer any consequences from it. So if you are going to make a case as a player in the NFL that your country is rotten, that your country mistreats people of color — if you’re gonna say what Kaepernick said — then you’ve got to be willing to accept the consequences of what you said!
How many people do you think believe that Kaepernick should be applauded for courage and not have to suffer consequences for what he said? How does that work? Everybody… You know, there’s a price.
There are consequences.
There’s gonna a reaction. Not everybody’s gonna agree with everything that anybody else says. Kaepernick is not a victim. But they’re trying to portray him as a victim. “He went out and he said courageous things; he had the courage to criticize his own country,” and for that he should be made a hero? That’s not how it works.
You don’t get to go out and say provocative things and then be immune from criticism or consequences.
And so that factors into what you’re gonna do. If you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna say things that are gonna make it harder for the people who might hire you to do business, it makes perfect sense they wouldn’t hire you. Now you add to that that these people may believe you’re not any good anymore. But if Kaepernick isn’t being hired because of what he said, that’s perfectly normal.
Anybody who’s been in the free speech business understands this the first time they ever say something controversial. Why do you think most people shut up? Why do you think most people “don’t want to go there”? They don’t want the reaction. They don’t want the controversy. They don’t want the criticism. So they don’t say anything. They whimper around. They may react when somebody else does, but most people will stand or sit mute — and the reason is because they see what happens.
In a free and open society with the First Amendment guaranteeing political speech, there are consequences, and there are ramifications.
Now, some of the responses, some of the circumstances are not fair, admittedly. But in a free and open society with the First Amendment guaranteeing political speech, there are consequences, and there are ramifications. The point is, the First Amendment does not grant anybody immunity from the consequences of what they say or from the reactions from people to what they say — and Kaepernick is being held up as somebody who should be immune. “He should not be held accountable for what he said because we happen to agree with what he said,” the media says. That’s not how it works.
If you’re a football coach and you believe your team needs discipline and focus if they’re to have a chance, the last thing you want is a circus, for whatever reason. Talk to Tim Tebow! Tim is the exact opposite of Kaepernick. He loves America, is a born-again proselytizing Christian. Why do you think he’s not in the league? A lot of people think, “Because there’s anti-Christian bias, Mr. Limbaugh!” There may be, but there are also people that don’t want to deal with the circus — and, if they don’t, that’s a consequence. You know, it may seem unfair, because you make value judgments on what someone says.
For Both Tebow and Kaepernick there are Reactions, Consequences
Like you may value what Tebow is and what he says, and you might not think so much of Kaepernick and what he says or does. But in both instances, there are consequences for behavior and for reactions. You know, if you want to be on radio or TV? That’s what Kaepernick ought to do. I think what he ought to do, Kaepernick ought to get a show on YouTube and go to town. He can say anything he wants; Google would celebrate it. (Google owns YouTube.) But Jim Brown said it. Jim Brown said (summarized), “Make up your mind what you want to do: You want to play football or you want to be an activist?”
It’s that simple.
When you pick up a stick, you pick up the other end. Choices have consequences. It’s as simple as that. ~C.D.