Author(s): Dylan Colletti, Robert M. Pullis
This article examines the relatively new phenomena of professional athletes’ publicly protesting the American Flag and National Anthem during sporting events and the potential legal ramifications of such protests to both the athlete and the athlete’s employer. Legal issues are examined that involve both the First Amendment right of freedom of speech and federal law under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that governs the relationship between an employer and its unionized employees. Distinctions are made between public versus private employers and also between union workers versus at-will workers. An analysis of one NFL player and his protests is made.