Harvard University Professor says: NFL ban on kneeling players violates First Amendment
By: Keisha Hutton, Xiro Xone News May 25, 2018 Updated: 5:22 PM PT
In the wake of the NFL’s new policy that restricts player from kneeling during the national anthem has begun to cause massive backlash across the country.
Benjamin Sachs a Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School, penned an op-ed for Vox. In it he said, "If, as the NFL Players Association says, the employer implemented this change on its own, the policy is flatly illegal for that reason and should be rescinded by the league." He added, “The other reason for the policy's illegality surrounds President Trump's involvement in the issue.”
President Trump and Vice President Pence have been dismissive against players kneeling down on one knee during the national anthem as a way of protesting police brutality and racism in America.
The NFL voted this week to force players to remain in the locker room if they wish to protest during the national anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We believe today's decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it."
Professor Sachs notes that, "In an earlier round of the protest dispute, President Trump called on the league to discipline Colin Kaepernick for his leadership of the anthem protests and threatened to use the tax code to punish the NFL if they allowed them to continue." He went on to argue that, “this pressure from Trump and Pence brings into play the players' constitutional right to have their speech not censored by the government.”
"When the president and vice president of the United States are this intimately involved in encouraging a private employer to adopt a workplace rule, the Constitution should have something to say," said Sachs.