Let's have a brave NFL
Now that President Trump has lauded the NFL rule change requiring players on the field to stand respectfully for the National Anthem, the left has gone into full conniption mode.
Throwing the players a bone, the new rule allows them to remain in the locker room while others show respect for the flag and the anthem. Trump's remarks about the rule change, although sparking outrage from liberals, illustrate a fair and adequate understanding of the First Amendment. Quoting Trump: "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still it's good. You have to stand proudly, or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe shouldn't be in the country."
The inconvenient word "maybe" was immediately banished by the left-leaning media as not being useful for race-baiting, political propaganda purposes. Dropping the word "maybe" changes the context of the quote to a deceitful degree, placing it squarely in the fake news category.
The point is that the players have options. Stay off the field. Stay out of the NFL. Stay out of the country. They can even choose to become a CNN talking head and get paid to rant about the evils of capitalism and how racist the system is. Black millionaires screaming racism. Only in America.
Having options means having freedom. Although the words "freedom of association" do not appear in the U.S. Constitution, the freedoms framed within the First Amendment all have association implications. Here's the rub for NFL protesting players. Because you are free, you are free to leave. I believe that this is the meaning of President Trump's recent remarks on the subject.
The employer, the NFL, has a right and a duty to shareholders and associates to protect its own business model. Players protesting on the field are causing a distraction. Discontent among other employees and the paying consumer is clearly damaging the NFL product and brand. Ratings are down, revenue is dropping, and advertisers are leaving.
I have little faith that the NFL will turn things around. Even though it holds a winning hand – a government-sanctioned monopoly – the owners are too pusillanimous to shove all in against confused malcontents who clearly don't know what time it is. And so the NFL invites its own demise.
It's time for some savvy investors to start up a new professional football league. It should be one that recognizes that but for the God-given freedoms enshrined and protected by the fundamental law of the United States, we have no ability to be entertained by fabulous athletes, and they have no way to make millions performing for us. It should be a league that says to its own employees: We applaud your right to protest, but do it on your own dime and on your own field, and leave our logo, our brand, and our sponsors out of it.
Welcome to the New Football League. You are encouraged to stay, but you are free to go.
William A. Shields is a radio talk show host and the author of EXIT 13A – A Control Tower Diary. He resides in Wilmington, Delaware. Email Willie: WSHIELDS1775@VERIZON.NET. Twitter: @WILLIEONRADIO.