In the United States Constitution, Amendment I, it states that a U.S. citizen has the right to “freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.” This means that we are given the right to speak out and voice our concerns and opinions, even when they may be biased. But things have taken an uneasy turn for ESPN commentator, Jemele Hill after she exercised her freedom of speech in a Tweet from her personal Twitter account that apparently went against ESPN’s social media regulations.
The Tweet reads:
“This play always works. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”
The Tweet was written because Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones stated that he would bench any player who kneeled during the national anthem.
So, why is Hill receiving backlash for her comment?
According to ABC Local 10 News, Hill was recently suspended for the second time after Tweeting a comment in regards to the latest controversy that stems back from 2016 when Colin Kaepernick was first seen sitting during the national anthem. Many NFL players have recently elected to do the same in an effort to protest the oppression of black people and police brutality. The fact is, there are various viewpoints on the topic of kneeling during the national anthem and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Some see it as disrespectful to the country as many American soldiers have given their lives for this country while black families have lost loved ones to the inequality and mistreatment that has been inflicted upon them and their race.
So, who is right and where should a line be drawn as to what can and cannot be said about the topic? Perhaps this topic is just as controversial as politics and religion and no one viewpoint is right.
Unfortunately, for Hill, it would appear that she is restricted to expressing her views and opinions on the matter as ESPN has taken action and suspended her yet again. Could she be fired? Possibly. The fact is, if you breach your contract with your employer or continue to engage in behavior that is prohibited, you could very well lose your position. But is it fair? If the President of the U.S. can call players “sons of bitches,” can’t an ESPN commentator comment on a relevant topic? This sparks this next question:
Are there circumstances that require you to silence your voice?
Teachers can boycott current policies and express their concerns on being underpaid and treated unfairly, women can stand up against abortion, but influential black individuals are barred from using their social media platform to voice ways to help bring awareness to black oppression and provide ways to go against those who simply don’t understand? It would appear that way.
Something to remember is that freedom of speech is a right given to those living in the U.S. If you cannot express how you feel at the time you want, are you really given the right? Sadly, companies such as ESPN have certain policies in place that limit what their employees can and cannot say regarding a particular issue. Obviously, there should be some boundaries set when someone works for such a large company, however, if it is a mere comment implying their own views, should they be restricted from voicing it?