Colin Kaepernick’s America

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

“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 of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Role of Free Speech

Read this article and discuss the role of companies in relation to their employees’ Free Speech rights.  What are their motivations? How do these motivations intersect with or diverge from the First Amendment? 

What the NFL’s new rules for Anthem protests really mean for the First Amendment, according to experts The Washington Post, May 24, 2018

The Role of Free Speech’ titled ‘Since Kaepernick

Kaepernick has inspired a cadre of athletes across all major sports to protest systemic racism and police brutality. Familiarize yourself with some of these protests with these articles:

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss your position on Kaepernick’s actions. Is it an effective way to protest police brutality?
  2. Or does it do more harm than good, including the perception of some that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to U.S. troops? 
  3. How does Kaepernick’s protest fit into the politicization of Free Speech? Is Free Speech a political issue? Why or why not?
  4. Consider Kaepernick’s role in Nike’s ad campaign and how Nike has profited from it. Does the commercialization of protest mitigate its efficacy? 
  5. Should high school students be allowed to imitate Kaepernick’s actions? What about college students? Employees in the workplace? 
  6. Sports are a business, of course.  Does the NFL, as a corporation, have the right to limit players’ protest? Has it been unfair to Kaepernick or has he benefited from his standoff with the football establishment?

Activity

Click on these themes below: Professional Consequences

Deselect the Education category

Discuss: What patterns emerge? What do these repercussions tell us about incentives or obstacles to exercising Free Speech in a professional setting?

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