A lot is being said about the free market, a business’ right to enforce rules, private enterprise, the NFL as a business, players as employees, the right to protest, or quell protest, and the right to discriminate as an expression of free speech. These are not simple topics and I think a way to distill answers is find connective threads.
America is a free enterprise/capitalist system, but not purely so. We are, in fact, a Mixed Market system which means there is governmental interference, ostensibly to keep the market fair. The SEC was created because the untouched market that pre-existed allowed people to “cook the books” and falsify values. That led to a run on the banks and a market collapse. It wasn’t a fair system at all.
On the issue of Free Speech; the First Amendment, while our preeminent amendment, has some elastic, if not amorphous, values. Sedition, libel, slander, are not clearly defined. It is assumed, but not clear, that we cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theater (if there isn’t one) as an exercise of free speech. Or to incite a riot. The question becomes “When am I under the auspices of another set of rules and when are my rights amended?”
Nazis’ marching in Skokie were ultimately upheld by the courts under First Amendment protection. What if riots ensued? Not hard to imagine the hurt and anger toward a parade to glorify discrimination.
The point being that it requires collective interpretation and that requires a system of government predicated on the enlightenment of rights. Weren’t human beings always free and deserving of equal rights, even before our societal recognition of those freedoms? And why wouldn’t that apply to a gay couple ordering a cake?
Are rights “given” or are they “recognized”?
Can an employer demand participation in a display of nationalism if you feel that you are being more patriotic by protesting that participation?
The Star Spangled Banner ends with “Land of the free…” and if you feel strongly that the promise men and women have died for is being placated by words and not policy…do you forfeit that fundamental right to expression because your employer tells you to?
You may say “YES” to that question, but it is undeniably a valid one.