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We're Seeing Freedom of Speech on the Gridiron So How About in Every Other Workplace?

Why don't Americans demand that the 1st Amendment apply on the job too?

Blacklisting Kaepernick, as the NFL's teams appear to all have done, may cost a couple of teams a badly needed crack quarterback (and everyone agrees there are teams that could use him), but it isn't really costing any team any money or lost ticket revenue to let him stay unemployed. Now that whole teams are taking a knee, or refusing to enter the field for the opening patriotic display and the singing of the national anthem, though, there's no way to fire them without trashing the season and losing millions of dollars.

If workers want to finally do away with totalitarian policies in the workplace, they need to start taking a page from their sports heroes and begin speaking out collectively on the issues that matter to them. It has to be a collective effort though. Maybe it is the dirty washrooms. Maybe it's unfair pay for women or minorities. Maybe it's the endless war in Afghanistan. Maybe it's police brutality in the local metropolis, or toxic waster in the local water supply. Whatever the issue, like-minded workers need to start talking about it, wearing T-shirts declaring their views, demanding that the company that employees them stop supporting policies they object to. Whatever the issue, if you can talk about it on the street or at home, you should be able to talk about it where you work and where you spend most of your waking hours each day!

The Constitution says it clearly in the First Amendment:
 
 

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech."
 

 
Note that it does not say anything about "except in the workplace." And yet Congress has endorsed myriad laws and regulations that allow employers to fire workers "at will," which includes for saying things that the boss doesn't like (they call it insubordination, which is a term that has no place in a supposedly free society). We don't allow people to be fired for being of the "wrong" religion, or for being of the wrong race, so it's not like there's no precedent for Congress to limit the power of corporate bosses over their workers. But when it comes to that free speech thing, our elected officials and our judges get cold feet.

It's ironic that many of the yahoos in the stadiums who angrily shout "Stand up!" at some football player taking a knee during the national anthem probably forget that they can't say anything political or make a political protest on their own job. They have no rights. And for that matter, neither does the guy down on the field that they are heckling, and yet he is doing it.

And the truth is, any of those guys down there on the field in their uniforms making a pubic protest, is doing more than just protesting against some issue, like police abuse. They're also protesting for the right of all workers to make their voices heard where they work.



story | by Dr. Radut