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Free Speech Rights: Public Employees v. Football Players
Sharon Block and Maddy Joseph. 5/30/2018. “Free Speech Rights: Public Employees v. Football Players.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The NFL players in a very real and direct way are being forced to support publicly the political views of their employers at the behest of the government. The rule forces players to abandon expression of their own strongly held beliefs about racism, police violence, solidarity among NFL players, and the meaning of patriotism. Moreover, by making them stand during the anthem, the rule is meant to force the players to adopt, as Ben put it, “a particular vision of patriotism.” 

The Supreme Court has warned against the danger of government-imposed patriotic orthodoxy. In finding unconstitutional a law that required school children to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Justice Jackson wrote for the majority in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” 

These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit
Terri Gerstein. 4/8/2018. “These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit.” The Guardian. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why would dozens of news anchors recite a Sinclair Broadcast group script? Because their contracts entrap them

 

Above all, workers and their allies can take the lead in joining together to unearth and combat these abusive practices. Teachers from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are rising up, seeking better conditions for themselves and their students. Workers at media companies have been electrified, too, organizing new unions in recent years. 

The Sinclair anchors spoke in unison delivering the company’s message. Maybe one day soon, they can take back the power and again speak in unison, this time delivering their own. 

 

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