The U.S. Constitution’s right to free speech, as codified in the First Amendment, protects American citizens against governmental limits on expression. It doesn’t affect the ability of private entities to control what employees say or do. But that’s not the end of a constitutional analysis that could force the NFL to respect the rights of players to protest during the national anthem, at least in some stadiums.
As recently explained by Nikolas Bowie of Slate.com, some state constitutions apply more broadly, potentially preventing the NFL from prohibiting players from protesting during the anthem. States like California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington may have constitutional provisions broad enough to prevent the NFL from restricting anthem protests, which could directly impact home games of the Chargers, Rams, Raiders (for now), 49ers, Steelers, Eagles, Broncos, Patriots, and Seahawks.
After being traded by the Dolphins to Philadelphia midway through the season, Ajayi averaged 5.8 yards per carry between Week 9 and the end of the season (only Kamara had a higher mark among backs with at least 50 attempts during that stretch). And he was Philly’s lead back throughout the team’s Super Bowl run.
Journalists encircled the Philadelphia Eagles safety and social justice leader, eager to hear his thoughts on President Trump’s decision to revoke the football team’s invitation to visit the White House this week for what would have been a celebration of February’s Super Bowl victory.
But Jenkins did not speak. His bearded face remained emotionless as reporters hurled questions at him. To each he simply raised another sign, many of which bore sobering statistics on the justice system.
What does that have to do with not going to the White House yesterday? one reporter called out.
Malcolm, do you feel it was fair for the president to cancel the White House trip even though a large majority of the team wasn’t going? another asked.
Are you upset with the White House for canceling the event? came another.