The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a number of freedoms, and freedom of speech is among them. But the Amendment applies principally and precisely to preventing the federal government from infringing on an individual’s right to speak freely.
But on Tuesday afternoon, when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine for Clippers owner Donald Sterling based on racist comments made by the owner, some people with a peculiar view of the First Amendment came out of the woodwork to defend Sterling. And by “peculiar,” we of course mean wrong.
Sterling has a Constitutional right to say what he said, horrible as it is, and not have the federal government silence him or punish him for it. He does not have a right to say what he said and be protected from punishment by a private organization with which he does business.
Here’s a sampling of the (100 percent wrong) people who believe otherwise:
So to all those people out there claiming Sterling’s First Amendment rights are being violated, feel free to go be quiet for a while and maybe take a US Civics class before returning to your grand social media platform.You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me @dougsaffir