In his open letter to the NFL, it’s pretty apparent that NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar forgot to read the Constitution. In his letter, Jabbar said “In May, you implemented a childish policy about how grown men must respond to the national anthem: a player can stay in the locker room during the anthem, but if he takes the field and then protests, the team and the player can be fined. Oh, Dear Owners. You stood at the precipice of history tasked with deciding whether to choose the principles of the US Constitution over profits of commerce, patriotism over pandering, morality over mob mentality, promoting social justice over pushing beers. Sadly, you blinked. Courage, it seems, is expected only of players.”
Actually, the Constitution gives employers the right to squash free speech if that speech hurts their business. Each individual NFL franchise is worth lots of money. For instance, the Dallas Cowboys’ franchise is worth $4,800,000,000. The NFL’s TV contract is literally worth billions of dollars each year.
For that reason, these owners have the right to protect their financial interests. Abdul-Jabbar’s whining about owners choosing “the principles of the US Constitution over profits of commerce, patriotism over pandering, morality over mob mentality, promoting social justice over pushing beers” sounds like socialist blather.
The Constitution is just fine. Just because it doesn’t give you the outcome you prefer doesn’t mean it isn’t intact. The truth is that the Constitution is built on the premise that there’s constantly competing principles that have to be balanced against each other. That’s why the First Amendment doesn’t prohibit business owners from limiting their employees’ speech.
Further, this didn’t help the players’ cause:
The entire Hands Up, Don’t Shoot thing was a myth. That isn’t opinion. It’s a finding of fact. If players want to be activists, let them do it on their own time. NFL fans tune in, at least partially, to escape politics. Then, too, if the players want to use the opportunity to be activists, I’m certain that lots of fans will be willing to eliminate the NFL from their TV schedule. I’m certain because lots of them already have eliminated it from their TV priorities.
For all of Abdul-Jabbar’s high-minded talk, he apparently hasn’t figured out that free market capitalism still drives this nation.