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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What About Jerry Jones’ “Free Speech Rights?”

Whether it was his intended purpose or not, Jerry Jones just showed his team—and the rest of the NFL—how you’re supposed to conduct yourself at work when your speech is in conflict with the proper policies of your employer. As we continue to endure the foolish debate—which is rooted in a lie—over NFL players kneeling during our National Anthem, last week Jones told the Dallas Morning News that players for his team—the Dallas Cowboys—will stand during the playing of the anthem.

This declaration from Jones was somewhat contradictory to the new NFL policy adopted last May—but now in question—which allowed players who wished not to stand during the anthem to remain in the locker room while the anthem is playing. Jones’ assertion that his players stand for the national anthem also evidently violated an NFL gag order on the issue of players kneeling during the anthem.

Now, as an NFL owner, Mr. Jones is not an employee of the NFL in the same sense as are the players, but, like the players, he is subject to league policy. Thus, when the NFL told Jones to essentially “shut it” when it comes to the anthem issue, Jones obliged. According to the Star-Telegram,
Four days after seemingly defying the NFL and letting the world know about his team’s zero-tolerance policy regarding standing for the national anthem, Jones is now not talking about the issue because he has been told not to by the league.

Jones informed several local television stations who had booked him for interviews on their Sunday night show from training camp in Oxnard, Calif., that questions about the national anthem and his team’s policy were not permitted because the NFL had told him to stop speaking on the matter.
No screaming about his “First Amendment rights”—because, unlike many ignorant NFL players, he probably well knows that, in this situation, he has none; no crying about what a “bully” is the NFL; and no lying about “systemic racism” or widespread police brutality in the United States; just quiet, simple compliance—which is quite an accomplishment for Jerry Jones.

You see, it’s not so hard or complicated: employees at private owned businesses like the NFL don’t have the right to protest while on the clock. Again, unlike the ignorant NFL kneelers, Jones understands what’s best for his league and his business. The kneeling farce has become an expensive distraction for the world’s most powerful and lucrative sports league. The owners want this nonsense to end, and I don’t blame them.

They could go a long way to making this happen if they would stop pretending that those kneeling had a real cause. Of course we shouldn’t ignore police misconduct when it happens, but we certainly shouldn’t pretend that it’s a widespread problem in order to allow a handful of football prima donnas a political platform to get more democrats elected.

Copyright 2018, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

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