If Paid Athletes Can #TakeAKnee, Can Paid Employees Express Political Beliefs Without Consequence As Well?

in Philosophy/Politics by

President Donald Trump’s recent tweets regarding the prevalence of NFL athletes kneeling during the national anthem was met with immediate disapproval from haters. Though tweets from Trump are always susceptible to backlash, the arguments against Trump, this particular time, hit some good points. The prominent arguments being stated are that kneeling during the National Anthem is a right protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, and that political speech is not what the athletes are paid to do and the athletes must respond to their fan feedback. This is clearly a tough topic to have a simple opinion on because both arguments are true.

It should first be recognized that all individuals hold their right to express an opinion. Although former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s reasons for kneeling and sitting during the National Anthem are entirely asinine in my opinion, he is surely well within his right to do so. But at the same time, his actions are not why he gets paid; Kaepernick is paid to throw a ball, not a tantrum. Thus, since we find that both arguments are credible, can a middle-ground solution can be found?

This is where the debate gets difficult. If you feel as though athletes shouldn’t express political beliefs on the job, then do you agree with James Damore’s firing from Google for airing his opinions on diversity? Establishing a policy that censors individuals for an extended amount of time in their day would be explicitly unconstitutional. In addition, this belief would justify government control of employers. If enacted, government would have to enact laws requiring for employers to serve as “Big Brother” effectively silencing political speech. Such a policy would extend government control down to the workplace in which individuals work, infringing on individual liberty.

On the other hand, if you believe free speech rights reign supreme in every atmosphere, your beliefs would infringe on basic property rights. For example, somebody cannot just walk into your house, say something offensive, and sue you for violating his free speech rights after you kick him out. The same logic behind this example holds true for employers. Employers, who hold property rights over their respective companies, have every right to shape their property however they see fit, all the way down to the views of their employees. For example, left-wing outlets such as Salon have every right to deny job positions to conservatives, and a conservative individual cannot sue Salon for violating their free speech rights. Overall, companies have every right to discriminate in their selections for employees.

So back to our original question: If athletes can #TakeAKnee, can employees express their beliefs in the workplace without consequence as well?

My answer: it depends on the relationship between employees and their employer. In other words, employers and employees must set their boundaries of free speech prior to starting work. Obviously, as a writer for The Liberty Conservative, I am not only granted the right to express my opinion but it is also my duty to do so. Additionally, it is generally agreed upon between fast food workers and their respective establishments that their sole duty is to deliver food, and not political speech, to their customers. This kind of reasoning maintains that James Damore was fired for wrong reasons because Google claims to be an institution of intellectual thought and diversity adnd firing Damore undermined their stated goals. To truly determine if a certain firing or action done by an employer or an employee is justified, one should look at the boundaries agreed upon between the two parties. Ultimately, whether or not free speech rights are being violated on the job entirely depends on context.

  • Before 9/11 they used to stay in the locker room during the anthem. This day has been annoying.

    The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states:

    “The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

    “During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.

    • You mean NFL has rules? Who would have thought?

    • You forgot to add this has only been since 2009. How long have the league and the anthem been around? Also, does it bother that gov’t has to pay for the anthem to be played? Seems like that should be the most bothersome of the new uber patriotic

  • If you have to ask the question, you already know the answer.

  • Since when is unarmed black people being killed by cops a political belief? Oppression and desensitization to the abuse of power is the the goal. Once this is accepted in regards to black people by the majority, your next.

    • No one shoots unarmed anyone nitwit. Follow instructions. A Cop has no way to know if you have a gun or not pinhead.

    • Explain to me how a guy with his hands up gets shot in the back with his up? Go look at some actual facts and then speak. Right now sound just the kind they’re looking for. Spineless drones who will believe what they are told to believe.

    • Vincent Vega Are you just a moron or were you born stupid ? very few of these black thugs are not guilty

    • Ray Pellerin I guess you don’t follow current events much.

    • Larry Launer, are you talking about the black Jacksonville cop who repeatedly struck a handcuffed white woman with full force while his white coworkers stood by and watched? That black thug?

    • They never made it to trial Larry Launer. How do you know whether they’re guilty or not? Please explain how you perform this on site jury and jury.

    • So how about that black on black violence… don’t blame white people for that.

    • I’m blaming black on black violence on anyone nor was it a topic of this “discussion”.

    • On a side note Brian Geiswite, violence is wrong no matter what it comes from. The term you used in itself is propaganda. Because you never hear “white on white” or “yellow on yellow” violence does that mean it doesn’t exist? It’s all systematic and has less to do with race than you think.

    • The only systematic violence is that by white liberal democrats who patronize colored people, making them believe that they are too weak or stupid to succeed, to escape poverty and violence. My point Is, if social justice warriors really wanted to help, that is a more realistic cause.

    • So trying to get those who are supposed to uphold the law to do so without killing unarmed people is not a worthy cause? Mind you most of these people were clearly not reaching for anything. There has to be accountability somewhere

  • The rule says “should” not “must”. Words matter.

  • The Hatch Act would seem to indicate otherwise for some.

  • They kneel not because they are just athletes, they kneel because they are Americans and they are also HUMAN. Silent protest is better than a violent protest.



  • Not in the real world!

  • You mean like the guy at Google?

  • Well these guys seem to think so… lol Where was the outrage then?

  • That is a fabulous question. I never even thought of this from this point of view.

  • If you diss your company and their customers you will get fired in a second

  • Finally we can see what the NFL is all about. Michael Vick the ‘Dog fighter felon’ wasn’t enough. NFL hires and pays thugs millions. Time to end their tax exempt status and they can pay for their own billion dollar stadiums.

  • If they can take a knee… we’ll we can take a knee and pray!!

  • Only when they’re left wing

  • Won’t be buyng a ticket or mechandise anymore. I can protest too…lol

  • As with many things, the choice lies with each business

  • They don’t take a knee during a play. They do it before the game starts.

    • So it’s cool to get drunk before your shift starts?

  • Could one argue that kneeling is a greater sign of respect to the flag then placing one’s hand over their left chest?

  • Tinker v. Des Moines, people.

  • When are these NFL players – who are so upset with racism in America – going to start protesting black-on-black crime? You know … one of the leading causes of black deaths in the U.S. Of course, that comes in second to PPH which aborts millions of black children every year. But let’s not discuss that. Let’s get back to the reason you’re kneeling today.

  • The athletes are employees, it all depends on the employer.

  • When these football players are on the field, they are as paid employes of the team, and the owners.

    NFL rules state that the players will be on the field, and stand for the National Anthem. As employees of the team owners, they have to abide by a Code of Conduct set forth by the Team Organization. Failure to abide by that code of conduct will be cause for disiplinary action against those players, UNLESS, the team owners agree with the statement or action being made. In that case we have every right to Boycott the NFL, Which is what I am doing.

    To my Knowledge only the Texas Cowboys owner has come out and said that he will enforce the rules of Conduct and dicipline any player taking a knee, or otherwise disrespecting the flag or National Anthem.

  • Wouldn’t it be up to the company?

  • Not a chance

  • Up to the employer.. Colin had consequences

  • If you are a conservative and speak your mind. you will be fired. A libturd can say anything, including racist statements and they won’t touch them! Screw the NFL, hope your ratings continue to plummet, you nasty pinko commie assclowns!

  • Not if your white privileged !

  • No one said it doesn’t come with consequence.

Latest from Philosophy

Wait! Before you leave, share this article!

Share this article!

Go to Top

Thanks for visiting our site! Stay in touch with us by subscribing to our newsletter. You will receive all of our latest updates, articles, endorsements, interviews, and videos direct to your inbox. 

Like and follow us on social media!