Academic Master

Laws and International Laws

the issue of athletes’ protests during sporting activities And the role of the First Amendment

The article addresses the issue of athletes’ protests during sporting activities. It 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 person who criticized the player’s actions was the President of the U.S. Donald Trump.

The President called on NFL owners to fire such athletes for disrespecting the American flag. The President’s criticism was criticized and supported in equal measure. The issue has been turned into a circus with no transparent approach to handling it. As can be seen, there is no legal ground for firing the players based on constitutional issues. The First Amendment also provides American citizens freedom of speech and expression (Bomboy, 2017).

In the article, the laws discussed relate to that of the First Amendment and labor relations laws. The issue of protest in the U.S. Constitution is unsettled. There is an ongoing debate on how the issues should be addressed. Some argue that the action is a constitutional issue, while others say it is a labor issue. It is a legal issue since stadiums are public spaces where taxpayers pay taxes for 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 the issue is labor-related. Labor laws or contractual obligations regulate athletes signing contracts to play for a given team and their behaviors. For this reason, such players should be disciplined within the team’s internal structures. 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 of 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 the issue should be handled as a labor relations issue, not a constitutional one. 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 player’s actions are related to behavior and fall under labor issues. Using internal mechanisms will help 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 clearly understand the jurisdiction of athletes’ protests and be informed on such issues to prevent situations where they make decisions that later backfire. There are instances where NFL owners have been sued for discrimination for taking action 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



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