By Warner Todd Huston
National anthem protests are still a thing despite that the NFL is losing both millions of fans and dollars over its now ubiquitous anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem. But, while the league continues to cower in the face of the players while sticking a finger in the fans’ eye, the “reverend” Jesse Jackson is claiming that these pampered, millionaire players are “slaves” who don’t have “freedom.”
Jackson recently appeared on Fox Sports 1 to deliver the absurd proclamation that pro football and basketball players are “slaves,” and if it wasn’t clear with his last 50 years of clownish proclamations, it is completely clear that Jesse Jackson has no clue what “slavery,” “freedom,” or “progress” even mean.
The civil rights activist appeared on FS1’s “Undisputed” to talk about the national anthem protests still killing the NFL’s ratings. He first attacked President Donald Trump for calling players who engage in these anti-American protests “sons of b***hes,” but Jackson also had harsh words for the very league that has indulged these super rich, players in what many call the “National Felons League.”
As he warmed to his bashing of the NFL, Jackson idiotically claimed that football players are slaves.
“To go from picking cotton balls to picking footballs and basketballs without freedom is not very much progress,” Jackson said on the Monday broadcast.
This is the worst sort of lies and demagoguery. One simply cannot be a millionaire football player AND at the same time be a “slave.” Not even metaphorically.
Indeed, these players often spend a decade previous to entering pro football being coddled, excused, and allowed to get away with murder (almost). They are often allowed to pass classes they don’t attend, they get A’s on papers they neither wrote nor even read, and they are all too often let off the hook when they get arrested for drugs, abuse, traffic offenses, and so many other crimes.
This is not the way “slaves” are treated. Needless to say, slaves are never given as much leeway as high school and college football stars often receive. And this insane mollycoddling doesn’t end when college stars become pro players.
All his hyperbole aside, Jackson’s main point is that players would have their civil rights violated if the league or the team owners were to tell them that they have to stand in respect for the country during the anthem.
But, even in this Jackson proves that he doesn’t know how American rights work because NFL players simply do not have any such “right” to protest at their workplace.
Sure, if the owners and the league allow them to, they have the ability to protest. But they don’t have the right to force their protests on the league or the owners if the two decide to put a permanent end to such impertinent displays.
In our system, a right is something given to us by our creator, something no one can take away. It is, as the founders said, “inalienable,” or it can’t be alienated from or taken away from you.
However, a right also cannot impinge on someone else’s right to act (or not act). Our actions must not require someone else to do something to “give” us our rights. This, for instance, is why healthcare cannot be a right. After all, if healthcare were a right, then a doctor or nurse would be required to treat you no matter what they want to do as individuals. So, if healthcare were a right, then you are necessarily taking away the freedom of choice from a healthcare provider because they would not be allowed to turn away from you or decide to treat you in a different way. Their rights as individuals would be eliminated in favor of your “right” to healthcare.
Since exercising your right cannot force others to act, healthcare cannot be a right. Get it?
It is similar with the national anthem protests. Players have been insisting that they have a “right” to indulge their statements of hate for America. But, while they have a right to express their opinions on their own time, they do not have any such right at work.
Neither the fans, nor the NFL’s team owners, nor the league itself are under any obligation to meekly accept the players’ protest without responding the way THEY see fit to respond. Owners have a right to ban the protests — as does the league — and fans have a right to turn off their TV’s and drop their interest in football.
Furthermore, the players’ right to hate the United States is in no way impaired if they are barred from expressing that hate in the stadium. They can rail against the country all they want in their private, off-field life. And fans still have a right to hate the player’s actions and turn against him.
Hence, their right to express themselves has not been eliminated.
So, while the players may still want to protest, they do so at the risk of their livelihoods. The fans have every right to quit their NFL habits and that, in turn, will end up depriving the players of money and the opportunity to play a kid’s game for a job as the money spent by fans dries up.
Jesse Jackson is wrong in every respect. These pampered, millionaire players are not slaves in any way.
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