It was slightly over a year ago that I wrote about the new (at the time) controversy that was roiling the NFL, which was Colin Kaepernick's decision to take a knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to the 49ers games. The purpose of Mr. Kaepernick's actions was to draw attention to police brutality issues among other things. The media and the talking heads on ESPN in particular seemingly couldn't stop talking about it.
At the time, from a legal standpoint it was quite simply about the rights of an employee to voice their personal opinion in a very public way while working for a private employer. The NFL, as you know, is not the US Government, nor is it a state or municipal government for that matter. The NFL is a private entity, as are the 32 NFL franchises that employ the NFL players. Because of this fact, there is no civil rights issue, and there is no free speech issue. It is WELL settled that private employers can dictate employee conduct while the employees are on company time - for instance when an NFL player is suited up on the field about to being playing a nationally televised game.
Fast forward one year, and the debate has persisted. Mr. Kaepernick was released by the San Francisco 49ers and and not been signed by another NFL team despite there being a clear need for starting caliber quarterbacks.Read More