Wilkes: How the NFL Players’ Union Can Block the League’s New Ban on Protests

Labor News

Trump has persistently condemned the players' peaceful and silent protests. (Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Reprinted from In These Times by Kathy Wilkes on June 1, 2018.

“On August 26, 2016, then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem, triggering a national debate around First Amendment rights of speech and issues of racial injustice,” writes Kathy Wilkes in In These Times. …

“More than a year later, President Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on protesting players and demanded they be fired. The NFL and the union responded immediately in the players’ defense. Trump continued to denounce the protests for weeks and called on football fans to boycott games. Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones threatened to bench protesting players after consulting with Trump. …

“Perhaps the most full-throated legal opinion in favor of the players to date comes from Benjamin Sachs, professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School. Writing for Vox, he offered multiple reasons why, as the headline states, ‘The NFL’s ‘take a knee’ ban is flatly illegal.’

“Primarily rooted in the players’ rights as union members with a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) firmly in place, Sachs’ analysis aligns with In These Times’ November report on the labor laws and contract provisions that yielded the October NFL/NFLPA deal preserving the status quo. …

In These Times 6/1

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About Jeffrey Burman 4877 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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