BAILEY T. STEEN | SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018
Days before we entered 2018, The Indianapolis Star reported on new legislation introduced by the Republican Representative Milo Smith requiring their state football team, The Colts, to pay reparations to event attendees, only “until the end of the first quarter”, should anyone in the audience take offence to a player on their team protesting the national anthem by kneeling.
As The Hill noted, the bill would only require The Colts to refund tickets if the kneeling player is a member of their own team, not if the kneeler is from the opposition, given it’s already wildly unconstitutional and out of state jurisdiction.
“I’m pretty patriotic, and it didn’t sit right with me,” Smith went on to tell The Star. “To me, when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country.” With Smith stating the already bloody obvious point of the kneeling: it’s a protest protected under the free speech and free expression parts of the American constitution.
Citing his legislation was “inspired” by attending a Colts game around the September of 2017 where multiple players kneeled, Smith continued to once again state the obvious by saying: “Our government isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world, and I think we need to be respectful of it.”
The fundamental concept behind the first amendment protection of free speech is the government cannot regulate and compel that speech. The respect Smith commands of the players holds as much weight as the social justice activists, often railed against by conservatives and free speech absolutists, who demand respect as the higher virtue above liberty when it comes to gender pronouns.
It’s antithetical to the new conservative orthodoxy, often taking the shape of, say, a Dr. Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro, on how respect isn’t inherent and compelled speech is wrong. With this particular conservative in Smith, as well as anyone else supporting the bill, just replacing respect for gender with respect for country.
But what makes this legislation, pardon the phrase, “so rich” is that it’s not only compelled speech, but essentially a form of reparation and redistribution in itself, being given to fans who feel oh so unprotected and hurt by speech.
“Facts don’t care about your feelings” as the GOP introduces legislation that will quite literally give your money back to protect your feelings when faced with facts. Or at least the alternative facts of the left if you don’t agree with the protest, which I personally can understand.
Whereas the likes of Smith and Fox News’ own Tomi Lahren somewhat straw man kneelers and sympathisers, stating their protest is specifically against the flag, the anthem and for racism dating all the way back to those unpaid reparations for slavery.
Some protest sympathisers, such as prominent anarcho-communist professor Mike Isaacson, may be the exception to the rule and actually believe hold those beliefs, raising concern for police brutality suddenly triggers a need for reparations for offence taken.
While you don’t have to agree with the kneelers, and I know I don’t entirely once you consider, say, the false “hands up don’t shoot” narrative of Michael Brown, who was shot after he committed assault against a cop yet is still treated by The Black Lives Matter movement as a saint gunned down in his prime, but there’s a distinct irony in this role reversal.
Smith’s bill was condemned and may be challenged in court by Indiana ACLU, who released a statement describing the bill as the government “fining political speech” against Colts players and their bosses.
“In effect by passing the law, government would be weighing in … and fining political speech by the Indianapolis Colts,” stated ACLU director Jane Henegar said, speaking with the Star. “It seems like the worst thing that could happen is government weighing in and trying to control in any direction the political speech of private actors.”
The Hill noted that Smith’s game, which took place on the 24th of September last year, was a week before former Indiana Governor and current Vice President Mike Pence notoriously left a Colts game at the Lucas Oil Stadium after members of the San Francisco 49ers, the opposing team at the time, kneeled in protest of police brutality and Trump pressuring the NFL to fire players if they take a knee.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a rally for then-Republican senator Luther Strange, who lost the nomination in a special election to take the seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a White House statement shortly after the game, ironically leaving in his own form of peaceful protest.
Thanks for reading!
Bailey T. Steen is a journalist, editor, artist and film critic based in Victoria, Australia, but is also Putin’s Puppet ™ on occasion.
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Cheers, darlings!! x