The other night, my wife and I went to see a protection of The King and I at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. I would have been ticked off if the actors had decided to make some political statement — Left or Right — before, during, or after the show. Theatergoers paid to see a particular show. They didn’t pay to hear someone spout off about politics and why they were angry with the world.
Before the production started, a representative from Fifth/Third Bank came out to kick off opening night and the season. Fifth/Third Bank sponsors the Encore series at the Fox. He welcomed us and told us about some of the upcoming productions. One was Hamilton. Hamilton is political, and if people want to spend their time and money watching it, they are free to do so. There would not be any First Amendment protection for a conservative actor who decided to protest the political plotline while he was performing. He most likely would be fired, and rightly so.
The NFL players that have been protesting did it on someone else’s dime and time. There is no law against protesting. In fact, the First Amendment protects their right to “free speech” and “assembly.” But it does not protect them from stealing someone else’s venue to do it. These multi-millionaires (some close to billionaires, for example, LeBron James) could easily pool their money and purchase a sport’s team and protest at every game. The result of their investment — either good or bad — would be theirs.
They could invest their money in a play, film, book, documentary, commercial, or whatever, to express their grievances. These players aren’t destitute slaves with no recourse. They don’t live in slave quarters on someone’s plantation. They are free men. They need to act like it and stop playing the victim.