Donald Trump and his infamous twitter account are at it again. Trump has tweeted roughly 25 times specifically mentioning the NFL since September 23, 2017.
He has taken his tweets to the extreme calling for players to be fired on September 23 and 24 as well as stating, “the issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” on September 25.
Although these statements show a lack of knowledge about the protest in its entirety, President Trump still has the right to make these statements. The statements are a First Amendment issue.
Colin Kaepernick was using his first amendment right when he knelt during the National Anthem on August 14. He did not gain media attention for kneeling until August 26. He was kneeling to protest racism. He used a controversial time to express his opinion, but he was nonetheless expressing an opinion.
Donald Trump was expressing his opinion as well. He was expressing his opinion that people should not kneel, and he believes that standing is a sign of respect.
Both were expressing an opinion.
President Trump does have a bigger platform than Kaepernick. President Trump is one of the most powerful men in the world, but Trump’s call for the firing of NFL players is just a call. President Trump himself cannot fire the players nor can he force the team owners to terminate players.
The issue of platform is one that should not be overlooked, but cannot stand as the basis of and argument to regulate speech. If platform was an issue, no celebrity of any kind could say anything if a lay person disagreed with that opinion. The precedent would be set that because one person may have a bigger platform their opinion should not be heard because someone else is not being heard as loudly from their smaller platform.
The issue is over disagreement of opinions. People are divided between respecting the flag and allowing NFL players to protest racism during the National Anthem, but people are using the argument that because Trump is president he should not be allowed to publicize his opinion on controversial topics.
Well, what do we want him to do? Do we as Americans want our president to stay silent on every topic that could be controversial? Do we want him to only speak if America unanimously agrees on an opinion? If that’s the case, the President of the United States will never speak because there is not a single issue that every person in this country agrees on.
I agree that he should be educated on the subject before the he speaks about it, but it is still his right to speak on controversial topics.
Both sides had the opportunity to express their opinion. The problem occurs when one side tries to control the free speech of a differing opinion. Donald Trump did call for the oppression of one side of the debate. In that, Donald Trump is wrong.
Expressing an opinion is a fundamental right. To prohibit an opposing opinion from being disseminated into the public is unlawful according to First Amendment theorists as well as Legislation and several Supreme Court cases.
The right of every American to speak about controversial topics is a precious gift that should not be squandered just because someone disagrees with someone else.