I STAND WITH… The First Amendment

Apr 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) makes a glove save in the overtime period against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs at Verizon Center. Boston won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

The first amendment. What is that? Well, let’s take a look. According to Wikipedia, the definition is as follows:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court has applied the First Amendment to each state. This was done through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court has also recognized a series of exceptions to provisions protecting the freedom of speech.

…so where does it say that an athlete can’t be protected by the amendments? I failed to read that, or learn that when I was in school. Tim Thomas is no stranger to controversy. He is the Chuck Norris of the NHL goaltenders, in the way that he has that kick-butt factor. He also seems to share the same political views as Chuck Norris. Thomas is the most vocal NHLer off the ice, or perhaps, the most non-vocal. By non-vocal I am referring to the interview that he got up and left when reporters kept pressing him on personal statements that he made on his personal Facebook after refusing to accept the White House’s invitation with the rest of the team. Thomas was respectable enough to address their questions with a blanket statement that it was his personal views and that they had nothing to do with hockey. He said that he didn’t believe that when they signed up to be athletes they also signed away their rights to have personal opinions. He was ready to finish the interview, as long as they left the personal stuff alone, and focused on the game. But they didn’t. So he got up and left. I don’t blame him one bit! Whether or not I agree with what he said, I’ll keep to myself. My personal friends and family know and that is all who needs to know. It’s not my place to go on giving a lecture on morality or lack of on here, however, if I did want to post such a thing on my personal Facebook, that would be my business.

Tim Thomas uses his personal Facebook as his sounding board. If you don’t like what he says, it’s simple. Don’t read it. He has the right to say whatever he wants as long as he’s not in his team’s jersey. He ended up the center of controversy again this past week when he posted this statement about the CEO of Chick-Fil-A’s anti-homosexuality stance:

I stand with Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A is privately owned by the Cathy family. The company president, Dan Cathy, drew the wrath of gay rights advocates and supporters when he made recent statements that some have alleged are anti-gay.

Cathy told Baptist Press that the company was unapologetically in favor of traditional marriage.

“Guilty as charged,” he said. “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”

In a separate interview on the Ken Coleman Show — Cathy suggested that the nation could face God’s wrath over the redefinition of marriage.

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,’” Cathy said. “I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”

Wow. That really is a lot to take in. That is a risky step for someone in the public spotlight to take. -or is it? It seems to me that Tim Thomas is being torn apart for WHAT he believes in, rather than the fact HE STANDS UP for what he believes in. It seems to me that athletes can’t have a point of view. If an actor or a musician speaks out, then it’s ‘cool’. Most country musicians stand up for Patriotism and are open about standing with the troops, unless you’re the Dixie Chicks. Then there’s the bands like Green Day who are very openly anti-war or anti-a certain president. The only reason there was a controversy with the Dixie Chicks was because they are in the predominately Republican Country Music scene and they lashed out against President George W. Bush, Jr. Look at Tim Tebow. He’s criticized for being open about his Christian beliefs. There was a video made entitled ‘Tebow’s first day at Jet’s training camp’ which it showed Jesus walking down the road and people laying out palm branches.
Thomas wasn’t the only athlete to refuse a visit to the White House under the Obama administration. Dan Hampton, Superbowl Champion Chicago Bears alumni, and NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, and Kevin Harvick all said no to a catered dinner as well.

What is fueling the fire even more is that Thomas is standing with Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, who has given millions of dollars to organizations who fight same-sex marriage and told the Baptist Press that he supports ‘the biblical definition of marriage’. His own teammate, Zdeno Chara, speaks out for the You Can Play Project, which supports athletes in the NHL no matter your sexual orientation. Their message is simple. If you can play, then you can play.

From one extreme to the other. In an age of ‘tolerance’ we are being taught not to tolerate someone who goes against the flow. Is the message really tolerance? Or is it to not stand up for what you believe in , stand back, and shut up if it’s not the ‘in’ thing of the moment. An NHLer with liberal views has it made if they choose to speak out, as they should. But what about those who have other opinions? Again, I want to make it clear that I am not saying which way I support one way or another, as I represent the FanSided Sports Network and I’m just not going to go there. What I do support, however, is our FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT that is being snuffed out. You’ve heard the saying that ‘Freedom isn’t free.’ Yeah, well, that goes two ways. It is our longing for complete freedom that has us bound with chains. We can’t even say to have a nice certain holiday in the fact that the other person might not celebrate it and be offended. I say if they’re offended, then they need to just get over it and stand up for what THEY believe in themselves. Personally, I don’t celebrate Al-Adha. In other countries where, what I view as animal cruelty is allowed, Muslim families sacrifice an animal and distribute the meat amongst their families. Am I going to be all bent out of shape if one of my Muslim friends come up to me and wish me a happy celebration of it? No! I’m not! I’d just smile and say thank you, or wish them a happy whatever it is I’m celebrating at that time. If you’re Christian and someone says Happy Hanukkah, it’s not taking your spiritual significance away if you don’t tell that person that they are wrong for not believing in the same thing that you do.

Sean Avery is a well-know advocate for gay rights. I don’t hear any hype or controversy against him for that. Only applause commending him like he’s done some great act of charity. No, it’s not. He is simply standing up for what he believes in, as well as Tim Thomas. Only you don’t see Thomas making a ‘You Can’t Play Project’ or commercials. He’s just making personal comments on his personal Facebook. Be careful America, I beg, for it truly is freedom that is binding us.

-again this is not the view of FanSided-
@HulaDolly @BoltsByTheBay @FanSided
[email protected]

 

Topics: Sean Avery, Tim Thomas

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  • Ryan

    Do you understand what the 1st amendment even is? By the logic in your article you have no idea. All the 1st Amendment does is protect people’s right to freedom of speech against the government, not against others reaction to moronic statements.

  • lovetali

    Normally I would say boo against anything anti-gay but this article does make a great point that “Tim Thomas is being torn apart for WHAT he believes in, rather than the fact HE STANDS UP for what he believes in.”
    However, I also do believe this article is wrong when they say that there have been no bad feelings towards Sean Avery because he’s had his share of having to deal with conflicts like these too and it is unfair to take away from his struggle and all the comments surrounding his support of the LGBT community.

  • Chuck D.

    Tim Thomas refused to go to the White House not as a private person but as a member of the Boston Bruins. That is not his personal life that is his job. The only reason he doesn’t explain himself is that he knows it will sound bad. And he didn’t make any statements when he was a run-of-the-mill back-up – he waited til he had all the money he needs. And he sieved out last year. He should spell it out if he has a pair.
    And T-bo is not criticized for his beliefs. It is that his post TD routine that intimates his god has nothing better to do on Sundays than to help his team win a football game.
    As for Chick-a-fil —what does that have tpo do with sports?

  • http://www.facebook.com/HulaDolly Hula Doll Reynolds-Dolce

    I appreciate your feedback. Chuck, that Tebow thing is more opinion. What is wrong with him for thanking his God openly after he scores? However, you do have a point that he was in position to represent the team when he refused to go to the White House. Lovetali, thank you. That was the point that I was trying to make. I haven’t seen backlash towards Sean Avery for his stance. I’ve seen it for the moronic things he does with his attitude, but not about this. If you have a link, I would love to see it! Then I will write another article on HIS right to what he believes in as well. Ryan, the article is about the fact that he has the right to free speech in his own time. It’s about the negativity that he is receiving. Just as well the critics have their right to free speech as well. Instead of hating on Tim Thomas, they can use that speech to stand up for what THEY believe in.