Kneeling, the National Anthem, and Free Speech

First, let’s to dispel the myth that knelling during the National Anthem is protected free speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution – IT IS NOT PROTECTED FREE SPEECH.

The First Amendment  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.  It quite clearly says that Congress shall make no law restricting free speech.

Private enterprises, on the other hand, are free to limit speech in any way they want.  Employers do that every day.  They can tell employees what is acceptable dress, what posters and/or stickers they are allowed to post, etc.  Hence the NFL teams are free to impose any restrictions they would like on their employees, the players.  The employees are free to either live by the restrictions or leave and work somewhere else.

Having dispensed of the notion that kneeling during the National Anthem is protected free speech, let’s address the positive or negative effects of kneeling during the National Anthem.  Ironically, these highly recruited and over paid (most likely 1%’ers) athletes are calling attention to racism and police brutality in the United States.  Apparently they are protesting for someone else because they certainly are not the products of racism.

So let’s talk about racism in the US.  Apparently these 1%’ers feel that some portion of Blacks in the US are subject to a disproportionate level of racism and police brutality.  While I would be the first to admit that there are racists and bigots in the U.S., I believe it is no greater here than any other of the industrialized nations and far better than in many of the underdeveloped nations.  Additionally, I think census data suggests it is not institutionalized.  If it were, how would you explain that over the past 2 or 3 decades, Blacks have seen a significant upward movement in the income quintiles as tracked by the US Census Bureau, except for the years during the Obama administration.

Relative to police brutality, one study by Harvard Professor Roland G. Fryer Jr. found no evidence of a racial bias in police shootings.  This was published in the Washington Time, July 11, 2016.  Now many say that is impossible considering that Blacks make up approximately 12% of the population in the U.S. but they are arrested at a much higher rate, so there must be a racial bias by the police.  However, consider this: multiple studies have found 3 key characteristics that are common to all races across approximately 80% of the prison population in the U.S.  The 3 common characteristics are; 1. Low education, 2. Single head of household families, and 3. Low income families.  Now, which race leads, by a wide margin, in all three of these key characteristics of those in prison: The Black Race?  Hence, it would seem somewhat logical that Blacks would be involved in a higher percentage of criminal activity and hence, have to higher arrest rate than the general population.

Getting back to kneeling and the National Anthem, since kneeling really does nothing to help the lower end of the Black community other than making these 1%’ers feel like they are doing something.  Maybe these hypocrites should try standing for the country that has provided them the best life possible and than going out in the Black community and work with young Blacks to encourage fathers to stay with their families, encourage the youth to stay in school, and really help the people they profess to care about find ways out of poverty.