Freedom of Speech: The NFL’s Unfair Double Standard

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The NFL has become the center stage for protesters in the past three weeks of the season. Former super star and quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is stealing the attention of every news station by taking a knee during the national anthem in protest for the current ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Kaepernick’s cry for attention is accompanied by the outrage of Americans who do not approve of anyone disrespecting our flag, our country, and those before us who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom–their lives.

Through his protesting of our flag, Kaepernick has received no punishment or fine from the NFL for his actions. What most people fail to realize is that Kaepernick’s actions are not the only protest going on in the NFL today.

Now, unless you are an avid Steelers fan or a crazed fantasy football player, you probably have never heard of Steelers backup running back Deangelo Williams. Listed on the roster at 5’ 9”, 207lb’s, Williams has recently acquired the first string running back role for the Steelers while their normal starter, Le Veon Bell, sits out his three game suspension for missing a drug test.

During those three games, Williams picked up 258 rushing yards with two touchdowns and was leading the NFL in rushing yards at the end of week two. Pretty impressive stats for a ‘backup’ guy. Regardless of the praise he received in the first three weeks, he was completely overlooked by mainstream media. In fact, Deangelo Williams’s good hearted protest to find a cure to breast cancer landed him with a fine.

In 2014 Deangelo Williams lost his mother to breast cancer. The following year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the NFL fined Williams $5,787 for having, “Find the Cure” written on his eye black. He was later denied permission by the NFL to wear pink for breast cancer awareness throughout the rest of the year, other than the month of October. Their reason being that the pink did not go with his uniforms colors.

Upon hearing the news, Williams was quoted saying, “It’s not just about October for me; it’s not just a month, it’s a lifestyle. It’s about getting women to recognize [and] get tested.”

So what message is the NFL sending to the public? Or, let me rephrase that question, so what message WOULD the NFL be sending to the public IF mainstream media cared about an issue that isn’t a ‘hot topic?’

Now do not get me wrong, I support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. I support equality and want racial discrimination to be a thing of the past, but why is it that the NFL will not punish Kaepernick for doing something that is disrespecting every man, woman, or family member who ever served this country or lost someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice. If you do not fine him for his ‘freedom of speech,’ then why contradict yourself by punishing a man for wanting to end a disease that is killing many more women and men annually than police shootings?

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