Constitutional Law Review Summary
The article addresses the issue of athlete’s protests during sporting activities. The article was written after the recent outburst by NFL players choosing to kneel down when the U.S. national anthem was being sung by players and fans present in the stadium. The action of the NFL player drew varied reactions from different members of the public. One of the persons that criticized the actions of the player was the President of the U.S. Donald Trump. The president called out to NFL owners to fire such athletes for disrespecting the American flag. The criticism by the president was criticized and supported in equal measure. The issues have been turned into a circus with no transparent approach to handling the issue. As it can be seen, there is no legal ground for firing the players based on constitutional issues. The first amendment additionally provides for freedom of speech and expression for the American citizens (Bomboy, 2017).
In the article, the laws discussed relates to that of the first amendment and labor relations laws. The issue of protest in the U.S. Constitution is unsettled. There is a debate ongoing on how the issues should be addressed. Some individuals argue that the action is a constitutional issue while some say that it is a labor issue. It is a legal issue since stadiums are public spaces in which the taxpayers pay taxes for its maintenance. Since players play for pay and the public contributes more than 70% towards sports, the issue should be settled constitutionally. The other argument is that that the issue is labor related. Labor laws or contractual obligations regulate athletes sign contracts to play for a given team and their behaviors. It is for this reason that such players should be disciplined within the internal structures of the team. Additionally, labor unions can defend the actions of these employees if they do not comply with contractual provisions. As it stands, the issue has exposed the weakness in the constitution. The issue calls for a constitutional review to determine the jurisdiction of the issue concerning constitutionalism and labor relations (Bomboy, 2017).
I believe that the issue should be handled as labor relations issue and not a constitutional issue. Freedom of speech and expression of the citizens is provided in the first amendment. The constitution protects the actions of the player. The existing vacuum on how such an issue can be dealt with legally casts more doubt on the constitutionalism of the criticism raised by various public figures. It would be prudent for NFL owners to include the manner in which such issues will be addressed in the contracts signed by athletes. The actions of the player are related to behavior and fall under labor issues. The use of internal mechanisms will help to address and prevent future occurrences of such an issue (Bomboy, 2017).
The issue raised in the article is essential for sports managers. Managers need to have a clear understanding of the jurisdiction of athlete’s protests. They need to be informed on such issues to prevent situations where they make decisions that later backfires. There are instances where NFL owners have been sued for discrimination for taking actions against protesting players. It can be argued that such decisions were misadvised since the matter in question has not been sufficiently addressed. As such, sports managers should always proceed with caution when it comes to making controversial decisions.
Bomboy, S. (2017, September 25). The First Amendment and Restricting Professional Athlete Protests. Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-first-amendment-and-restricting-professional-athlete-protests