I thought we settled this issue back in the 1960s. Athletes don’t give up their Constitutional rights when they sign a contract. They retain ALL their rights, including the right to free speech, and taking a knee is free speech, whether you like it or not. Refusing to serve in an unpopular, un-winnable war on the grounds of religious pacifism––even if you make your living as a professional boxer––is free speech. And calling NFL players sons of bitches is free speech, too, so let’s have more trump. This is how the Republican Party destroys itself, with angry, hateful, divisive, obscene words.
A few years ago, I was at a motor speedway standing in line at the refreshment stand outside the track proper. I was in an area called the midway. The “Star Spangled Banner” started playing inside the track, but I could barely hear the song. A surly guy standing next to me said, “How come you’re not taking off your cap?” Nobody else in line was taking off their cap, except him. It was early afternoon and he seemed to be drunk already. I asked him what the protocol was. If I were inside the track, I’d certainly stand and remove my cap as I do at every sporting event I attend. If I’m walking down the street and hear the National Anthem coming from a TV speaker inside a house, do I stop walking and remove my cap? How close to the anthem do I have to be to actually be considered a participant? This seemed to confuse him and the counterman was asking me for my order, so the conversation ended. I still don’t have an answer.