Troy Bilt, thank you for bringing this up.
Let's begin by understanding the difference between Negative and Positive Rights
(5 minute video).
Negative Rights, such as the 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech, impose a duty of non-interference. Otherwise known as Liberties, all that needs to be done is to refrain from blocking the act. Negative Rights do not conflict with the Negative Rights of others. We can all live together harmoniously if we simply refrain from squelching others Negative Rights. Of course the 1st Amendment includes "Congress shall make no law..." and aims at restricting the force of government.
Positive Rights, sometimes called entitlements, impose a positive or active duty on someone. This is where contracts enter the picture. You give me X and I'll provide Y. You pay your AARP membership fee, you are entitled to certain benefits that AARP provides. Pay a retainer to a lawyer, you can expect certain performance from the lawyer.
It's no secret that I enjoy watching pro football. The NFL (and other sports leagues) made a deal
with the Dept of Defense, received funding/personnel/jet fuel/training runs and puts on a mini-salute to the DoD/#TEAMAMERICA during each game. Without knowing the details of the deal, the NFL has a rule stating
that players shall stand during that mini-salute. Leaving aside the misappropriation of the People's cash to achieve whatever...two entities can enter into a contract such as this.
We have to know that NFL teams tell players what to say while in the press conference regarding injuries, how not to give away the game plan, how to speak about team struggles, hold-outs, etc. So, as an employee under contract, NFL players have a positive duty to perform as expected. That said, NFL teams cut players and dump contracts all the time. These facts go unchallenged without the fervor of patriotism and the political climate, properly so.
What I would disagree with is that there are many employees
being fired for what they put on social media that is unrelated to job duties. (no matter how odious the speech)
In short, while NFL players are wearing an NFL logo, behind team microphones, at the complex, on NFL time, they have a duty to perform in such a way that pleases to owners, growing the NFL's revenues. Running afoul of the pleasure of the check signers brings consequences, properly so. The NFL is paying for and expecting a certain level of behavior.
If an NFL player is sitting on his own couch, in his own living room, posting on social media (or his own website) about his political views, it would be a different story. They don't seem smart enough to make this distinction, because that's not where the cameras are.
As to the Social Media stuff...while no money is being exchanged, the service is being provided and there are terms to that service (hello OFCC overlords)
. Some topics are off limits, some are encouraged, based on the community the site providers are attempting to build.
Claiming that anything on the internet is a monopoly is a bit puzzling. There are so many opportunities to begin another site, build a bigger, better brand....MySpace is dead in 2018...but was once the biggest damn deal out there.
“A free people claim their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”
-Thomas Jefferson, 1774
Tweed Ring: "...we should have all done more to elected Republicans..." Agreed