The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

Submitted: College Athletes Rights to Protest

November 23, 2017

This year in sports, professional African American athletes have been expressing their disagreement with the government publicly. National Football League(NFL) players have been kneeling for the National Anthem. Some National Basketball Association(NBA) players have made comments about their opinion of what is going on with the government today. There was even a Major League Baseball(MLB) player who decided to take a knee during the National Anthem one game. These players are receiving a lot of scrutiny for this, but should they?

Seeing these professional players get scrutinized for trying to express their free speech makes it even harder for college athletes who feel the same way to express their feelings publically. College athletes across America should be able to express their opinion as long as they do it in a legal matter.

I am an African American college athlete and I feel strongly about being able to protest or speak up for equality. Professional athletes face consequences for protesting but their consequences are not as serious as the consequences college athletes will face. As a professional athlete they are making at least six figures and if cut or fired from the team they have that cushion to fall back on. Also they are a public figure so it would not be hard for them to find a place of employment afterward. College athletes on the other hand do not have this type of money to fall back on. Also, if cut from the team their scholarship money will be taken away; therefore cutting them off from finishing school and receiving their degree. Without their degree and money they are put in a situation to fail. College athletes across the country should have the right to protest for two main reasons. First, the first amendment allows U.S Citizens the right to free speech. Second, being an athlete gives you a great platform to be able to express your issues with the government to other students who may fee l the same way.

College athletes should not have to be afraid to participate in a protest. The first amendment gives United States citizens the right to free speech. Yes, there are restrictions on what is considered free speech but as long as it is done in a professional matter there should be no consequences. The first amendment was put in the constitution for this reason, to be able to express your thoughts and feelings freely. According to nypost.com there was an incident where a college football player took a knee during the National Anthem and got cut from the team. This should not be allowed to happen. If someone wants to express their free speech then they should be able to without consequences.

As a college athlete you are able to reach and affect many people around you which are mainly students. This is a perfect platform to express your thoughts and views on what is going on in the country today. When protesting, the more people you have participating the stronger the message. If college athletes are able to spread their message to the students then it will help solve the problem that the African American athletes are protesting about.

This is an important subject because it could change our future for the better. If college athletes are able to protest then more U.S. citizens and students will be aware of the issues that are going on in our country and with our government. College athletes should have the right to protest. The first amendment allows them the right to free speech, and their platform is perfect for spreading the awareness of issues in our country. If us college athletes are able to protest and stand up for what we believe in then there will be a change for the better in the future.

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