Standing to Kneel: Analyzing NFL Players' Freedom to Protest During the Playing of the U.S. National Anthem

15 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2018 Last revised: 26 Mar 2018

Marc Edelman

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business; Fordham University School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2018

Abstract

This Article analyzes whether an NFL player who protests during the national anthem has any legal recourse if he is fired—or not hired—as a result of his political protests. Part I of this Article describes the history of NFL players engaging in political protests during the national anthem. Part II explores whether the firing of an NFL player for his political protests would violate the player’s constitutional right to free speech. Finally, Part III discusses whether the firing—or not hiring—of an NFL player for his political protests would violate the player’s rights under the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Keywords: NFL, protests, national anthem, Constitutional law, First Amendment, Freedom of speech, collective bargaining agreement, CBA, Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump, political protests, sports law, police brutality, sports governance, sports business, collusion, player protests

JEL Classification: Z2, Z21, Z22, Z20, Z28, M14, L88, L83, L5, K4, K31, K20, K1, J7, J58, J53, J51, J48, J41, J00, A13

Suggested Citation

Edelman, Marc, Standing to Kneel: Analyzing NFL Players' Freedom to Protest During the Playing of the U.S. National Anthem (February 1, 2018). 86 Fordham Law Review Online, 1 (2018); Baruch College Zicklin School of Business Research Paper No. 2018-03-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3122145

Marc Edelman (Contact Author)

City University of New York - Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B9-220
New York, NY 10010
United States

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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