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The NFL and free speech

Dear Editor:

Football season is fast approaching and I want to share with you something that continues to irk me. The NFL states that it fully supports free speech and expression by its rank and file and an occasional non-member or two. That is definitely not a true statement.

The NFL continues to allow disrespectful demonstrations by Colin Kaepernick and his sidekicks. They protest against our president, our country, our flag, our National Anthem, Veterans, and even Police Officers if it helps mollify a particular group and their supporters. Players do and say whatever they want and the NFL does not have a problem with their view or speech.

What they do have a problem with is players supporting 'other social issues'. What follows are a few examples to prove my point that the NFL is full of bull manure.

1. 2012 - The NFL had issues with Tim Tebow kneeling at each game to pray. They also had an issue with Tebow wearing "John 3:16" as part of his eye-black. They made him remove it!

2. 2013 - They fined Brandon Marshall for wearing 'green cleats' to raise awareness of people with mental health disorders.

3. 2014 - Robert Griffin entered a post-game press conference wearing a shirt that depicted "Know Jesus Know Peace". He was forced to turn it inside out by an NFL Uniform Inspector prior to speaking.

4. 2015 - DeAngelo Williams was fined for wearing "Find the Cure" eye-black for breast cancer awareness.

5. 2015 - William Gay was fined for wearing purple cleats to raise awareness for domestic violence. (Not that the NFL has a domestic violence problem.)

6. 2016 - The NFL threatened to fine players who wanted to wear cleats to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

7. 2016 - The NFL prevented the Dallas Cowboys from wearing decals on their helmets to honor 5 Dallas Police Officers killed in the line of duty.

As you can see, the NFL does not support free speech and expression. It seems clear their position is against free speech and expression by their players regarding other social issues - to include God, domestic violence (rampant in the NFL), and cops killed simply for being cops. The NFL is even against honoring the memory of those killed on 9/11. If players protest/support any of these issues they are threatened with stiff fines and who knows what else. If you assume that I am no longer a fan of the NFL you'd be correct.

Thank goodness "College Game Day" is just around the corner. Go NOLES!

One final thought (unrelated to football): 60 years ago, Venezuela was 4th on the World Economic Freedom Index. Today they are 179th and their citizens are dying of starvation. In only 10 years, Venezuela was destroyed by democratic socialism. Think about that for minute!

Wayland Abernathy, Jr.

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