One irritating thing about politicians, usually on the state or local level, is why they seem to go out of their way to court lawsuits. Like this stupidity:
Tennessee Republicans are up in arms over a state college basketball team’s decision to kneel last week during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” prompting legislators to warn the public university system not to allow student athletes to do so again.
A firestorm of controversy has surrounded the action by players on the men’s East Tennessee State University basketball team, who during a Feb. 16 game at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga dropped to one knee on the court as the national anthem played.
Coach Jason Shay and ETSU president Brian Noland have said the team did not intend to disrespect that nation’s flag or military, but are seeking to prompt discussions about racial inequality.
After voicing their outrage in legislative meetings, local television news segments and social media posts over the players’ act of peaceful protest, Senate Republicans on Monday sent a letter to all presidents and chancellors of public Tennessee colleges and universities.
“To address this issue, we encourage each of you to adopt policies within your respective athletic departments to prohibit any such actions moving forward,” reads the letter, signed by all 27 members of the Senate Republican Caucus, including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally.
It’s an empty gesture. Were it to be put into effect, it’s a guaranteed loser in court, despite astute constitutional scholarship like this:
“The First Amendment is sacrosanct,” said Sen. Janice Bowling who does not believe university athletes should be allowed to kneel during the anthem. “I would never resist anything that’s going to allow them to exercise their First Amendment on their own time, absolutely.
“They’re representing the school and the school represents Tennessee and Tennessee shows preference to our time-honored people and institutions who went before us. We respect our heritage and our history.”
Sen. Rusty Crowe questioned whether freedom of speech extends to athletes in uniform, while Sen. Mark Pody said he was concerned that student athletes would engage in an act of protest while “they’re taking state money, they’re in our state schools, in our state uniforms.”
The First Amendment is sacrosanct, except when it’s not.
This isn’t a left or right thing. I’ve seen equally dumb stuff from liberal politicians. But, not only is crap like this empty, it costs taxpayers money to defend the inevitable litigation it brings. What’s the point?
Ah, hell, don’t answer that. Thus endeth the vent. Have at it in the comments.