Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 | 2 a.m.
Supporters of the NFL players protests say the First Amendment gives Americans the absolute right to express dissent.
The real question is, “Do the NFL players have a right to demonstrate while they are on the job as uniformed private employees?” Eighty years of settled workplace case law have determined that there is no federal law protecting employees at private companies from firing for engaging in any demonstrations while on the job.
Further, NFL owners have broad freedom to fire players perceived to violate the NFL’s personal conduct policy. According to the policy, posted on the NFL website, “prohibited conduct” includes “conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.”
Since polls (Remington Research Group, Sept. 22) show that 64 percent of Americans oppose the players’ demonstration, the NFL owners would be justified to take some action to protect the reputation of their business.