The NFL is not a 'safe space' by William Falk, Editor
Mon Oct 2, 2017 11:39pm

This is the editor’s letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

The NFL is not a 'safe space' by William Falk, Editor in chief of The Week Magazine

The Founders of this nation were a radical bunch. Only true revolutionaries would dare to enshrine freedom of speech as the very first, and most fundamental, constitutional right. Human beings don't find it natural to tolerate views we find threatening or offensive; when people upset or challenge us, our instinct is to make them shut the hell up. For people in power, that temptation is nearly irresistible. This is why the first act of every tyrant is to suppress dissent — and why the First Amendment has always been fragile, especially in times of national crisis. In the current crisis, threats to free speech are coming from both the left and the right. Leftist inquisitors have turned college campuses and insular liberal communities into "safe spaces" where "hate speech" — and even mainstream conservative ideas — are impermissible. Violators are banned, fired, and silenced by any means necessary. "Shut it down!" is these righteous censors' rallying cry.

Now it is President Trump who is shouting, "Shut it down." He doesn't think African-American NFL players should be "allowed" to kneel during the national anthem as a political protest, and is demanding the league fire them. His stance requires a certain lack of self-awareness, given that Trump began his political career by saying deliberately outrageous and offensive things — insisting, for example, that former Vietnam POW Sen. John McCain was no war hero, because he was taken captive (loser!), and that the then-sitting president was a foreign-born Muslim impostor with no legal right to the office. In certain countries whose authoritarian leaders Trump admires, such impertinence can get you hauled off to a gulag, or your head chopped off by a hooded executioner with a scimitar. Look: Free speech can be very upsetting. But honoring everyone's right to speak is the only hope we have of seeing anything from another point of view. Let's deal with it, and stop acting like a nation of snowflakes.

      • Sort of....Sprout, Tue Oct 3 10:04am
        When one is acting in the role of an employee, especially when uniformed in their employers colors/uniforms/etc, I do think that the employer DOES have a right to some say in limiting speech under... more
        • That is NOT the topic of this discussion.Sia☺giah, Tue Oct 3 6:24pm
          NO ONE disputes that employers can limit free speech by putting future employment on the line. However, NOTHING I posted had ANYTHING to do with that argument. It was SPECIFICALLY about Left vs Right ... more
        • As far as I know....wondering, Tue Oct 3 2:53pm
          there is no rule in the NFL about standing for the national anthem. Tradition, yes... rule, no. Perhaps the owners of the individual teams could make such a rule... I don't know. But again, kneeling... more
          • Yes, he should be "fired", but that is NOT the topic of (nm)discussion... Sia☺giah, Tue Oct 3 6:32pm
          • I have heard some folks say that there is a rule... And while for some sitting or kneeling or standing with a fist raised, or some other behavior than the TRADITIONAL posture does not necessarily... more
            • didn't you read the damned thing?
            • I agreewondering, Tue Oct 3 3:34pm
              They certainly could make a rule. That doesn't mean that they have to. And they could fire players who break the rules. If people don't like the rules or behavior that they see, they don't have to... more
              • A proposal Pikes, Tue Oct 3 4:33pm
                A man will tell his barber things he won't tell anyone else. Not even his wife. Same goes for a bartender. Trump doesn't drink. However he and Kim Jong Oon have a fondness for their barbers.... more
      • A two-edged sword...wondering, Tue Oct 3 4:39am
        I think maybe the "PC" movement went too far. People weren't allowed to say or express what they thought or felt if it wasn't PC, so now we see the backlash. On the other hand, there are good reasons ... more
        • Very true. Freedom of speech, according to different sides,HAS limitations they impose... Sia☺giah, Tue Oct 3 6:31pm
          NONE of which make ANY SENSE when push comes to shove. Those whining about the NFL protest are vindictively PUNISHING football players and teams for exercising their freedom of speech, while the very ... more