Legally Speaking: Can NFL Players Kneel During the Anthem? | We The Internet TV

How about we talk about the NFL
and the controversy over kneeling in protest during
the National Anthem? Do the players have a
First Amendment right to kneel
during the National Anthem? [BARRY] No, because
the NFL is a private organization, which isn’t bound by the
First Amendment rules. [LOU] Okay.
All right, that’s it! (music) [BARRY] I just think it’s an
unwise policy to prevent football players from taking a knee
to protest what they view as excessive police force against them. You know, the Supreme Court,
when the government has tried
to enforce patriotism norms by, for example—there was
a famous case where
Jehovah’s Witnesses’ children were made to salute the flag and
say the Pledge of Allegiance in class, and they sued and they said that that
violated their First Amendment rights, their freedom of belief,
their freedom of conscience to have to do something that
they disagreed with, like the NFL players are saying,
“it violates our conscience to have to stand to promote patriotism when we have this big issue
with what’s going on in our country.” And the Supreme Court originally
sided in favor of the government, saying that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ children could be disciplined for failing to salute the flag. And this was in 1940, but what
happened in the wake of that decision, then, Jehovah’s Witnesses
became subject to a lot of
persecution by people. And the Supreme Court started
seeing this and rethinking their decision, and so in the famous case of
Barnette v. West Virginia school board, the Supreme Court reversed
itself and it said, “No, we think that compelling people
to say and do things that violate
their belief or their conscience, even in the service of patriotism,
to foster a spirit of patriotism,
violated the First Amendment.” And so even though the NFL isn’t
bound by the First Amendment, I think that they would
do well to heed those words, and to recognize that you
don’t promote patriotism by forcing people to engage
in patriotic acts where they’re not
fully on board with that. [LOU] As far as teams threatening
fines or suspensions to their players,
they’re totally able to do that, right? [BARRY] They’re totally able to do that, and as I understand this policy, it’s just making them stay
in the locker room. But they can be fined, I suppose,
if they disregard that. (music) [LOU] So President Trump tweeted
that NFL players should be suspended if they kneel during
the National Anthem. Should the President of the United States have any influence on the subject? I don’t necessarily remember
another president doing that, taking such an active approach
to something that’s happening
in a professional sport. [BARRY] Yeah, and I don’t either. And in fact, it gives some weight then to the argument that the NFL should be bound by the First Amendment, because the court has ruled
in other cases that if the government pressures a private actor into
committing a constitutional violation, like a free speech violation,
then the private actor is liable for the violation just like the
government would have been. And so I think here, there’s sort of
a decent argument that, given the bully pulpit that Trump
has used to basically cajole the NFL into adopting this policy,
could make the NFL a state actor, a government actor for the purposes
of this policy, so it could make them… at least it strengthens the argument
that they are violating the First Amendment when they prohibit players from taking the knee. [LOU] Yeah, it seems like the
president does this thing where he’s just, “I’m just talking!
What if this should happen,
what if this would happen to go down?” [BARRY] Yeah, so it’s indirect. And a lot of people say this really
has nothing to do with Trump,
it really has to do with money. And the NFL is afraid of losing
viewership for people that don’t like to see players
taking the knee, and there’s
probably a lot to that too. [LOU] Well, they definitely lost me. I don’t like to see
giant men holding hands. (music) [LOU] Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed our video. If you have any questions
about the First Amendment or free speech in general,
let us know in the comments. And be sure to subscribe to our channel, and make sure to click the little bell icon, so you get notified any time we release a new video.

63 thoughts on “Legally Speaking: Can NFL Players Kneel During the Anthem? | We The Internet TV

  1. Players have every right to kneel, just like every right to stand. Both are patriotic. Thanks Kaep for the what you started and awareness you brought. 👍🏼

  2. It's a bit wishy-washy, but in my opinion I don't think kneeling during this display of "Patriotism" should be a suspendable offense, and I don't think teams should make that a real issue. The fact that this dude Colin Kaepernick can't find a job is just a sham. He could at least be a backup-QB. He's a much better player than MANY current backups and starters. The NFL is a football league. Not a political organization. It doesn't really matter what political statements the players make. Like in 1968, it's not the first time athletes displayed their own forms of protest. Nothing wrong with it. Totally respect it.

    I don't get why people get so worked-up over it. They aren't harming anyone. They aren't talking about military veterans. They're specifically protesting in response to a specific issue in society.

  3. 1:50

    Take that LGBTQ

    "Compelling people to say or do things that violate their belief or concience is a violation of their first amendment right"

  4. It’s kinda like burning the flag, it’s legal but you’re probably a scumbag if you’re doing it. Especially if you’re an NFL player that has no problem benefiting from being an American when it comes to money.

  5. Let's be clear here:
    NFL players DO have a right to kneel during the national anthem.
    And the NFL has the right to fire them for doing so.

    Very misleading title there, WTI.
    Yes, anyone can do anything.

  6. Facebook, Twitter, and NFL are Private Businesses
    says Cal LAW can FORCE private business to allow unwanted LEFTY Free Speakers on private business property.
    Ok, so that CAL LAW applies to Conservative Speech the same at LEFTY Speech, dont it? Facebook & Twitter are in which state?

  7. Personally i think they're protesting a made up problem. With that said i think players should be allowed to kneel if they want. In fact it used to be pretty normal until the NFL made it a rule like 20 or so years ago. I, however, will always stand and salute because i for all our problems, i wouldn't want to live anywhere else or any other time.

  8. Had to pause before watching….to say thank you for covering this point.
    I've been wondering since they started about the legality and such.
    Thank you

  9. I would have been interested to hear him answer the question of since they have contracts that are collectively bargained that dictate what is and isn't finable and as of this CBA there is nothing prohibiting an NFL player from doing so.

  10. They have the free speech to peacefully call attention to issues they care about.
    You have the free speech to disagree with them.
    Just don’t say they hate America.

  11. you're 25 times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a cop if you're unarmed, not committing a crime and not resisting arrest.
    every time a black man is murdered, 93% of the time he was killed by another black man. POLICE VIOLENCE IS NOT A PROBLEM IN AMERICA. STOP BREAKING THE LAW, ASSHOLE!!!

  12. pls talk about the origins of fire in a crowded theater example– wasn't it based on a draft protester, and isn't that example controversial?

  13. I'm not going to stop somebody kneeling during the National Anthem (though, I've always thought standing during the anthem was more about respect than patriotism- and if they wanna be disrespectful, that's on them), just like they're not going to stop me from ripping up my season tickets, team colors (I'm not gonna pretend I ever owned a Kaepernick shirt), etc.

    Take Kaepernick for example… You can't force me to respect someone I consider a massive hypocrite. Pretending he was making some kind of a protest about slavery and the national anthem, or something? I dunno… It never made sense to me. What would he know about slavery, being, as he is, a multi-millionaire? But, I think it was more about Kaepernick's BRAND than some kind of noble, principled, protest, anyway…. It did get him a big payout from Nike- even though it tanked Nike's share price (What does he care about THAT? They already PAID him!).

    People that support Kaepernick are gonna say that people who disagreed with him, are just doing it because they're "racist". Maybe some are. I doubt it. Personally, I think that most of the time, the people that accuse OTHERS of racism, are the ones who have the MOST racist attitudes and beliefs. I, for one, judged Kaepernick on his ACTIONS and the "Content of his Character", NOT on the color of his skin!

    Now, if you say that makes ME racist, just because I'm WHITE… I think you'll find- if you just engage your brain- that makes YOU the racist…

  14. Legality was never questioned. It is if you SHOULD or not and what it actually represents.

    The flag = America to some.

    If you protest it, to those people you are protesting everything about America….and that means dividing your fans and make them have to choose between their national pride and the sport they watch. And as a business, they have to choose if they wish to risk losing that business or not. Thus, youre fired.

  15. The NFL should fire the players if the owner doesn't like it and it cost him viewers. The idea that the 'spirit' of the first amendment should deter him from making that decision reeks of drug use🤡🌎

  16. You asked the wrong question. The Question is can a private Corporation force it's employees to pledge allegiance to a system government or country. And saying the NFL is not bound by first amendment rule is asinine. Is the NFL bound by the 14th amendment rules? the 15th? Can the NFL enslave players and their children?

  17. Simple solution for the NFL. "Due to a loss in revenue resulting from negative fan reactions of NFL athletes kneeling, the NFL at this time will be reducing all future contracts to reflect said losses which average somewhere around 15%. The NFL recognizes this could be harmful to some if not all of our valued athletes and in 'rebellion' of our accountants/share holders demands, we will be offering as an option a Patriots Bonus. This will in affect recoup near the estimated 15% income for the athletes, while hopefully a return of 'good-will' from the fans, displayed in an upward, as opposed to downward trend in ticket/merchandise sales." This way, the athletes aren't being 'punished' for kneeling, they're being rewarded for being patriotic. Watch how quick they stand up.

  18. There's no gun to anyone's head. They can CHOOSE to kneel. And by that CHOOSE to accept the consequences. And the NFL can CHOOSE how to handle one of their employees that disregards company policy.
    Free will at work at its finest!


    Go AB and the Pats!! 😉

  19. And yet the government wants to force people to get vaccines and go to the doctor in spite of their religious beliefs to not do so.

  20. I'd say just let him kneel. Who cares? It's a silent protest that doesn't hurt anybody. If he doesn't like what the flag stands for then he can refuse to salute it until the issue he is concerned about changes. His view on the Nike American Flag shoes was retarded though. Why would Nike allow a football player to speak on behalf of all black people?

  21. Job, job laws, rules regulations, so no case closed, NFL can't win one side or the other they lose some viewers, but players can decide to lose their jobs on their own accord

  22. I just love how these delusional people cry about their "rights" being violated while they disrespect the flag or national anthem which represents the country and people that sacrificed to afford them those very same rights.

  23. I have a question: I know that death threats aren't protected by the first amendment. But what can be considered a death threat?

    For example: I've had the misfortune of multiple recruitment attempts by legitimate white supremacist organizations. On many of these occasions I have heard them describe non-racist white people as "race traitors". And I've also heard them explicitly advocate violence of every known variety against such people.

    So if someone calls me a race traitor (or some a nazi, or a rape apologist, or a heretic or something else like that) would the law allow me to react as though they have threatened my life or safety?

  24. The moment Trump involved himself, it became an A1 violation. If that fucking dementia-succumbing Narcissist was just told no once and a while growing up, wasn't coddled as he was, even the slightest form of discipline, this wouldn't be an A1 issue.

  25. This is really not too complicated. Actions of employees especially while on "duty" reflect on the employer, and impact the employer and their co-workers and stakeholders. Employers are given latitude to protect their business.

  26. Also they're on the clock. Do it in your own time! What employer should be required to allow a worker to protest while being paid? Ridiculous. The lawyer missed the point completely.

  27. I've never understood whats so bad about this either. Someone is amazing and brave for kneeling. Someone is fed up with the situation so they kneel. How is this an amazing to simply kneel down on one knee during the national anthem. On the other hand people are so angry or mad about someone kneeling. What's so bad about it? He kneeled this is offensive and completely turns you off.

    If you ask anyone what the most important thing about America would anyone say it's flag, a song or an anthem. People are the most important thing about America. It's people.

  28. Please tell me when and where a football player that wasn't disobeying the fucking law was mistreated by alarm for smin I'm sure somebody will come up with something but I really don't give a shit kick him in the dick

  29. The players have a First Amendment right to kneel. The NFL has no claims over their rights to beliefs or opinions.
    The NFL has contracts with their players about what can or cannot be done on the field or in public or in private. They can say a player violated their contract and not continue to employ or pay them, but they have no GOVERNMENTAL authority over Constitutional law.
    If you want to get right down to law, the NFL as an employer can't hold a player responsible for disobeying an illegal request (such as requesting sexual favors or committing crimes) or any request that needlessly endangers the employee (such as being asked to play without a helmet or not being informed of any risks involved with the job).
    The NFL as a privatized business can make policy, however. If the NFL says players can't kneel or can't pray on the field or can't voice their opinions in opposition to the official response of the NFL, the players have a right not to sign the contracts.

  30. So interesting to watch people get mad over something like this. It fascinates me how simple and primal somebody can be about something so… Not worth making an issue…

    The only reason this is a thing, is because the, "President", used a red herring fallacy to distract everyone from the crap he was pulling.
    A classic shitty president move, I should add. Nothing new to Tronald Dump.

  31. When I watch a football game. I’m there to be entertained. Protest on your own time. If your famous enough. Somebody will listen. If your a second rate hack like Kaepernick. Then I guess your out of luck. I personally won’t buy Nike products again because of that guy and the Flag controversy. How that was linked to racism I still can’t figure out. Other than Nike being spineless.

  32. I used to watch the NFL as an escape from all the political garbage thats invaded our tv programs. 🙁 Guess I will read more books.

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