By David Codrea
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- We should have expected this to happen.
Colin Kaepernick’s decision to make the national anthem a forum for personal race-based grievance exploitation has spread, and not just within the National Football League. Taking their cue from the pros they hope to be some day, college and high school athletes have also decided that they’re social justice warriors, too.
Hey, it’s their right, right? The First Amendment and all that? I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it…? First they came for the whatevers?
Uh, no, actually. Sure as individuals, on their own time and dime, they’re free to make the case for just about anything they want (short of posting 3-D printing data online). But they’re not on their own time and dime. They are wearing uniforms with team names and logos. They are representing a team and an organization. The forum they are privileged to participate in is not about them and what they want.
Were this not the case, imagine what would happen should any player wish to commit career suicide and conduct a protest on behalf of White Lives Matter. That’s something he wouldn’t be able to get away with even out of uniform and off the field.
Ask Riley Cooper if league officials were more worried about his free speech (which no argument was racially offensive and dumb as hell), or making sure he was sufficiently publicly shamed and punished. Or, switching sports and professions for a moment, ask Curt Schilling about expressing his views on “gender identification” in bathrooms on Facebook.
Not to wander too far afield, but a quote from Star Trek comes to mind.
But back to the uniform—try expressing yourself in one of those in a way not approved by the NFL, and don’t be surprised to see swift and certain discouragement with an “or else” attached. NFL is so protective of its trademarks, they even stopped East Rutherford from using the term “Super Bowl.”
Curiously though, the uniforms have been authorized for use to go after another right, with then-mayors Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino donning Giants and Patriots jerseys to stump for citizen disarmament in front of the Super Bowl audience. And that’s hardly the end of the league’s hostility to RKBA.
The NFL may be loath to push back against players making political statements they approve of, or at least don’t have the guts to put a halt to lest a costly walkout ensue and all those lovely revenues be lost, but they have no problem keeping those players from having the means of personal defense. Right there in the rules, under “Standard of Conduct,” they prohibit:
Possession of a gun or other weapon in any workplace setting, including but not limited to stadiums, team facilities, training camp, locker rooms, team planes, buses, parking lots, etc., or unlawful possession of a weapon outside of the workplace…
A lot can happen in those times when a player is on his own and unarmed. Admittedly, some of them look like they shouldn’t be – on their own, that is.
And it’s not just the players NFL doesn’t trust. A couple years back,my wife won some preseason tickets to see the Browns, and while I normally couldn’t care less, she wanted to go. Not only did they not allow our collapsible umbrellas for the walk back to the car in the rain, purses were verboten — they make women put stuff in a clear plastic bag, claiming “enhanced public safety.” (I realize I’m probably not telling most who follow such things anything — it’s just I remember an era when you could board an international commercial airliner without undergoing sigmoidoscopy.)
And it’s not just us mundanes NFL doesn’t trust: They don’t even want off-duty “Only Ones” carrying their service weapons (although Texas has said “Come and take it.”)
It’s probably not too relevant that NFL hired former ATF Fast and Furious stonewalling front man B. Todd Jones as a league mouthpiece, but I couldn’t just let that one go unmentioned.
Meanwhile, expect the Kaepernick-inspired protests to continue – he wasn’t forced to apologize or be fired on the spot as an example to others, and once you give up control like that, the momentum is just too big to stop. And expect the phenomenon to grow in colleges and high schools. Me, I’m waiting for Pop Warner…
But funny thing about free speech: Say you disagree, and while everyone is sitting you stand with hand on heart and sing. Or say you disagree strongly, and when you see someone raise a clenched fist, you exercise your right to “Boo” him.
My guess is we could very well see this happen, and when it does, those who could have put a quick end to it and did not will share in the civil culpability under the doctrine of “knew or should have known.”
You also may see some people trying to make it back to their cars wondering “What the hell was I doing paying good money to put myself in a ‘gun-free zone’?”
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.