Senator John McCain, in what is likely a vindictive rebuke to the President, says he supports the kneeling NFLers.
He will support anything that the President doesn’t.
“That’s their right to do what they want as citizens,” McCain told TMZ Sports when asked about the Dallas Cowboy players who took a knee then locked arms in solidarity before playing the Arizona Cardinals on Monday.
That’s not totally true. Free speech is the law in public workplaces, not private organizations. Also, the operations manual for the NFL requires players stand for the anthem.
He then joked about hating the Cowboys.
“I’ve always hated the Dallas Cowboys and will continue to do so to this day,” he said in the interview, which followed the Cowboys’ 28-17 victory over the Senator’s hometown Arizona Cardinals.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, said he disagrees with the protests, but says they are protected under the First Amendment, saying players are “clearly within their rights to express themselves as they see fit.”
That’s not exactly true.
As far as the First Amendment is concerned, employees in the public sector – who work for governmental entities – have First Amendment rights in the workplace, subject to certain restrictions. The case law that has developed over time regarding First Amendment rights in the workplace has come from the public sector, as the government is directly affecting employees in public sector cases.
There are, however, no Washington cases that this author is aware of where freedom of speech has been protected under the First Amendment in private sector workplaces.
Then there are the NFL rules which the NFL follows selectively.
The game operations manual, not the rulebook as many have reported, lays down rules about the national anthem, and this is what it says:
The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.
During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.