Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is the latest athlete to draw President Trump’s ire. Lynch, before Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, sat during the United States national anthem as he has done for every game this season. However, when the Mexican national anthem started to play, he stood. This action caused the president to tweet.
Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
This is far from the first time President Trump has weighed in on the anthem protests. He, earlier this year, criticized the owners’ handling of the situation and his remarks led to a boycott effort by his supporters against the NFL till they stop the protests. The difference here, though, is he is singling out a specific player with his use of the bully pulpit, which raises the question: Does President Trump have the right to call for Marshawn Lynch’s suspension?
Those who feel President Trump has the right to call for Lynch’s suspension point to the 1st Amendment. They argue that President Trump is a citizen of the United States and he has just as much right to speak his mind on an issue as the players. He didn’t call for the arrest of anyone, he merely voiced what actions he thought the NFL should take towards a player. They feel the president is just one of many who see these protests are disrespectful and have gone on way too long.
People who feel he doesn’t have the right see his tweet as an abuse of power. They feel that, as the president, his words have tremendous impact and can put pressure on the owners to discipline Lynch when there is no reason to do so. Also, they argue that, if the president has such issue with the protest, he should meet with the players and seek a way to find common ground; that is what a leader does. Finally, people feel the president has more important things to worry about than the NFL, and he should focus on his job.
Sports Illustrated covering President Trump and Marshawn Lynch situation:
Does President Trump have the right to call for Marshawn Lynch’s suspension? Is he a person exercising his 1st Amendment rights? Or is he abusing his power as president?
Yes, President Trump has the right to call for Marshawn Lynch’s suspension
People who think President Trump has the right say that, if the players can use their 1st Amendment rights, so can the president. They feel that he is expressing his feelings, not arresting people, so there is no abuse of power here.
— Mauricio D Mendez (@mauriciod44) November 20, 2017
NFL players can sit. No one is arresting @NFL players. Their rights are not in jeopardy. Neither are the rights of people protesting that they are sitting. Actions have consequences- @potus is simply uses his right and keeping us informed. #BiasedMedia sure isn’t
— Tishia – @Tishia on gab.ai (@4tishia) November 20, 2017
So Marshawn Lynch is protected by the 1st amendment but POTUS isn't?
— TR (@tryan03) November 20, 2017
No, President Trump does not have the right to call for Marshawn Lynch’s suspension
Those who feel he does not have the right say that this is a clear abuse of power by the president. They feel that his words have such huge impact because he is the president that, now, the NFL will feel they may have to discipline Lynch, even though he did nothing wrong.
No he can't, because it's their right. Also, It's illegal for him to tell an employer to discipline an employee. Read the Constitution and research our laws.
— Brittany Artus (@brittany_artus) November 20, 2017
You don’t have to like the fact that NFL players sit during The Anthem, but please don’t insult our Constitution. You as President should realize that it gives Lynch this freedom!
— Ed Krassenstein 💎 (@EdKrassen) November 20, 2017
Instead of talking about specific people through Twitter, why don’t you call or meet them, share your frustration, and listen to their side.
— Rondell Treviño (@Rondell_Trevino) November 20, 2017
Does President Trump have the right to call for the suspension of Marshawn Lynch?