1st Amendment Right to Free Speech No Longer Exists

by Darryl Richie about a year ago in controversies

NFL team owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell decided players must stand for the national anthem during the 2018-2019 season or they will be fined. Is the NFL condoning racial injustice involving people of color?

1st Amendment Right to Free Speech No Longer Exists

On Wed, May 23rd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced there was a meeting in Atlanta where NFL team owners met and agreed that players must stand for the national anthem, or they will be fined by the league, according to Jill Martin of CNN.

The new policy was approved unanimously by team owners.

"We want people to be respectful to the National Anthem,” Goodell said. “We want people to stand, that's all personnel, and make sure that they treat this moment in a respectful fashion that's something I think we owe. We've been very sensitive in making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on."

The NFL wants its players to respect the national anthem and the flag, but why can’t the owners show their players respect back by letting them silent protest the many injustices that happen to people of color in this country? Or, why should the NFL owners and commissioner care if everybody they love isn’t being affected by police brutality, racism, and injustice?

NFL players get paid a lot of money to play football, and the average salary for a player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year, and the highest salary is $27 million annually. But what are the NFL owners and commissioners' salary per year?

The NFL owners pay themselves between $50 million and $60 million in salaries, and these statistics are from 1987 to 1990, according to ABC News and Keith Noonan of Fool.com. One could only imagine how much the NFL owners are going to make during the 2018-2019 season.

Commissioner Goodell has made $212.5 million since he was elected commissioner in 2006, and the NFL nearly paid Goodell $32 million in 2015. Goodell’s current net worth is near $75 million.

In 2016, starting with Colin Kaepernick, NFL players began to silent protest and NFL owners were contemplating replacing Commissioner Goodell. Goodell said he would step down if certain requirements were met.

According to ESPN, Goodell asked for a salary of $49.5 million a year, the use of a private jet for life, and a lifetime health insurance for his family.

Shortly after his demands, Goodell signed a new contract with the NFL worth $200 million, and about $4 million annually. The new deal runs through 2023.

The NFL owners and Commissioner Goodell realize they have a business to run, and they don’t want anything to interfere with their money.

Since the silent protest, the NFL TV viewership dropped 10 percent last year, according to Frank Pallotta of CNN, and Papa John’s Pizza blamed the protest for their lackluster pizza sales during last season.

It’s amazing how the NFL can make new rules so players can’t peacefully silent protest, which hasn’t caused one fatality. But somehow, the American Government still hasn’t passed any new gun laws to stop domestic terrorists from shooting up schools, casinos, and churches in America.

According to Saeed Ahmed and Christina Walker of CNN, there has been approximately one school shooting every week this year.

For example, the latest shooting happened May 18th when 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis shot and killed ten people at Santa Fe High School located in Texas.

I believe the only way people could understand what racism and injustice does to a person's psyche is to experience it firsthand for themselves, or somebody who they truly care about experiences it. My question is, why does it have to go that far in order to understand this type of hurt and prejudice to recognize what others go through daily?

I’m sure if a loved one close to one of the NFL owners or the NFL commissioner experienced injustice, they would have a different perspective because all the money in the world can’t bring a loved one back from the grave.

Now, it looks like the NFL are condoning President Trump’s statement calling the NFL players a “son-of-a-bitch.” The players were silently protesting the American flag to fight against injustices against people of color, and not the changed narrative of disrespecting the men and women who put their lives on the line serving our country.

The Legendary Jackie Robinson

On May 23rd, Milwaukee Police released a video of NBA player Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks being tackled and tased for no reason, according to Patrick Redford of deadspin.com.

On Jan. 26th, Brown parked his car in an empty Walgreens parking lot, and the Milwaukee Police claimed Brown couldn’t park his car across two lines, even though the parking lot was empty at 2 AM. The officer called for backup, and several officers surrounded Brown. After the officers wrestled Brown down to the ground, they tased him.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales held a press conference and released a statement apologizing for the unnecessary force used on Brown.

Brown released a statement of his own, confirming that he will file a lawsuit “to continue forcing change in our community.”
The Bucks released a statement calling Brown’s arrest “shameful and inexcusable.”

It’s ironic that Sterling Brown’s bodycam video displaying his altercation with police surfaced on the internet the same day the NFL owners and Commissioner Goodell decided to forbid players' 1st Amendment Right to silent protest injustices in America.

If the people of color within the NFL boycotted the league, would it survive? Of course not, because the NFL is nearly 70 percent African-American, according to Vice, retrieved from H.A. Goodman from Huffpost.com.

If they decided not to play, the NFL owners and commissioner wouldn’t profit off them and the league would crumble. It’s obvious that the NFL owners and commissioner don’t respect their employees, because if they did, they wouldn’t have created a new rule that enables freedom of speech through the form of silent protesting.

Injustice dealing with people of color doesn’t seem like it’s going to get better anytime soon, which is discouraging. Forbidding silent protests and acting like racism and injustice doesn’t exist doesn’t solve the problem, it just adds to the problem. Not addressing the issue is why racism and injustices will be a never-ending issue in this country, and unfortunately, this is America…

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Darryl Richie

Inspirational Speaker, Author and Blogger looking to inspire with my story of being a two-time cancer survivor and hip amputee. My focus is to share my pain, struggle and accomplishments with the world.


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