Let’s get a few things straight. Telling an employee that he or she can’t do something while on the job is not a violation of his or her First Amendment rights. It wouldn’t be censorship if the NFL came out with a ruling that mandated the following: “There will not be any political protests at football games.” (PJ Media) In fact, the NFL has such rules already in place, and when a player signs a contract with the team, he is agreeing to follow those rules.
The NFL is not the government. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), an elected official, does not understand this. She “took a knee on the floor of the House tonight during a special order by the Congressional Black Caucus focused on rooting out racism and defending the First Amendment.” She took an oath to uphold the Constitution that she does not understand.
There are already rules prohibiting certain types of on-field displays. For example, in the first week of the 2016 season, Antonio Brown was called “for a ‘sexually suggestive’ end zone dance (he twerked) and the celebration cost him” a 15-yard penalty and a fine of “somewhere around $10,000.”
The Star-Spangled Banner may be an issue for some people, and they have a right to protest its history for whatever reason,1 but it’s almost a guarantee that the National Anthem means something deep and important to the vast majority of Americans who sing and appreciate it that has nothing to do with the War of 1812 with Great Britain or slavery.
Lady Gaga performed a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. I suspect that most older Americans had no idea who she was, but I can guarantee you that they appreciated her rendition more than they did Roseanne Barr’s.