Free Speech, Patriotism & Colin Kaepernick via HuffPo

Free Speech, Patriotism & Colin Kaepernick via HuffPo

Sorry to keep you waiting…

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The First Amendment.

Being first generally means the most important, the most significant; it sets the tone for what is to follow. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment is integral to our Constitution and our fabric of our nation. Wars were fought to protect the Constitution as it stands. But there’s a funny thing about the First Amendment; folks forget that freedom of speech really means just that ― the freedom to express yourself however you see fit. As long as it is not coupled with an illegal act, or the possibility harming another person (the proverbial yelling fire in a crowded theater), then the speech is permissible.

So this makes the controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner is very interesting to me.

Read the rest in the Huffington Post here.

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Sherman’s March to the Superbowl…

Richard Sherman.

I bet you had no clue who he was before last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.  I certainly didn’t. I think he would rather be remembered for this….

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than the rant he gave after the game to Erin Andrews of Fox and with reporters in post game interviews.

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In the now infamous rant heard round the world, he insulted receiver Michael Crabtree from the 49ers.

So why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a result of his comments, he received a ton of backlash, some of it racist in content.  The nicest of the tweets and posts  called him a thug, and went downhill from there to include racial slurs. Some even called for him to be shot in the head, calling him a disrespectful (n word).

What???

Here is a reminder that clearly America is not past race.  The bottom line is this.  Did he act inappropriately? This was not a rant at an art gallery opening, or at Wimbledon.  This was football. Plain and simple.  The sport where aggression is rewarded, and the hardest hits put points on the scoreboard.  Why is he expected to act like he is in Sunday service? Other players have said inappropriate things in the moment of victory, why is this somehow an indictment of all people of color?

Newsflash: Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford at the top of his class.  He is highly educated.  He was not raised in the hood. He volunteers his time with needy children.

Take a look at the interview Sherman gave to CNN’s Unguarded. Is this the portrait of a thug? Richard Sherman on CNN

And what about free speech? I thought getting shot for having a different opinion was a premise for repressed countries. Apparently some Americans have the same thought patterns as a dictator. This also brings to mind the Duck Dynasty saga. He said nasty things about gays (that we’re not direct quotes from the Bible FYI), and African Americans (no, we were not happier getting lynched during Jim Crow), and no one tweeted that he should be shot in the head. On the contrary, many people backed his free speech rights. So why is Sherman any different? He didn’t insult Crabtree’s mother. He didn’t burn the flag. The backlash is WAY out of proportion to what he said…and the racist comments are just vile.

Was I thrilled about what he said? No.  But I also was mad that the 49ers lost. If I was a Seahawks fan, I probably would have felt differently about his statements.

Should he have conducted himself better? Of course, there is always room for improvement.  He could have been more gracious in victory. But we can’t expect players to beat each other up on the field, and seconds later, act like they are in a Grey Poupon  commercial.

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“Excuse me sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Regardless, I am still #OmahaOmaha Broncos Nation for Superbowl Sunday. Richard Sherman will be fine, he may even get a bunch of endorsements out of this whole experience.

But it is still disturbing to realize that in 2014, race is very much a factor, and can erupt at any time.

M.

 

“Thug Baby” – The Aftermath

“Thug Baby” – The Aftermath

school to prison

We we have all heard about (or seen) the now infamous “thug baby” video out of Nebraska. The Omaha Police Association came under fire for posting this video to their website. They say it was a teaching moment…but was it really?

While the toddler was removed from the home, the mother (who is 16), is now in protective custody herself as a result of death threats from the release of the video.

Words, and actions both have consequences. See my article about it on theLaw.tv. Free Speech vs. Responsible Speech

As always, please share your thoughts!