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Letter: First Amendment protects against government


Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Oct. 2 Monitor Letters To The Editor section had several letters on the players’ protests in the NFL, and how those protests were protected by the First Amendment.

The First Amendment prohibits government interference or regulation with public speech or right to assembly. In the NFL player protests I’ve seen no government interference with the protests. The NFL players are private employees of their respective teams performing their assigned work during work hours. Do we have a right to protest government activities at our work site during work hours? Do we have a right to “peaceably assemble” to protest our government at any location we wish?

NFL players sign a players contract that includes a “morals clause” that states “if Player has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club, then Club may terminate this contract.”

This was the basis for the NFL suspension of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson for bad behavior outside of their employment. Would that morals clause also cover political protest at the work site?

One of the letters in Monday’s paper included this line: “NFL players were exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest.” My question is what part of the U.S. Constitution mandates the terms of an employment contract between private parties?

The U.S. Constitution was written to limit the powers of our federal government, and that’s a big enough job by itself.

John Wentworth

Loudon