Trump claims victory, NFL says wait a minute

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - President Trump is crowing about a victory in his long battle over the NFL player protests. But the NFL says, no, it is still just considering whether to try and force players to stand.

Two and a half weeks after fans started burning jerseys and the president really began slamming the NFL protesters, the president is still at it, tweeting, "It's is about time Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem -- RESPECT OUR COUNTRY."
   
The league says there's no decision yet, and won't be at least until next week's owners' meeting.

If the NFL does decide to penalize players who kneel during the National Anthem, it’s all but certain to have a fight, but not under the First Amendment.

The First Amendment only stops the government from squelching your free speech. It does not apply to private outfits like the NFL.

“It's something that impacts the government. It doesn't bear on private entities,” said N. Jeremi Duru, a sports law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law. “But the idea behind it that our society is stronger when people are able to speak freely, to express themselves freely, it's a powerful thing.

RELATED: NFL owners could weigh change on national anthem policy 

And if the Cowboys carry out their threat to bench protesters? “Do you think Jerry Jones is going to bench them all and lose the game?," asks Duru. “I don't think so.”

The players union could push back under labor law and its collective bargaining agreement. The union says the right to protest is the very thing that makes us the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Duru says the Amendment that's really at issue here is not the First Amendment but the Fourteenth. The Fourteenth guarantees equal protection under the law. And these protests started with the players suggesting that the communities where they grew up were not getting that equal protection.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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