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Do First Amendment rights exist in sports?

The Chicago Tribune Company sold the Baltimore Sun along with other papers and properties to former Chicago White Sox minority partner Sam Zell who apparently overpaid for the properties and could not afford to maintain the newspaper at 2002 worker levels. The Sun is a shell of a newspaper these days. The Cubs franchise along with Wrigley Field also was jettisoned.

There is limited free speech in sports. People like NBA Commissioner David Stern and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gagged NBA and NFL owners and threatened them with fines for talking about the lockouts. Goodell fined Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams for giving the finger to someone as he sat in his owner’s box watching his Titans play. Major League Baseball commissioners have put up gag orders on the owners during labor talks.

Sports fans and constitutional experts on radio, TV and message boards should take note.

Evan Weiner, the winner of the United States Sports Academy's 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award, is an author, radio-TV commentator and speaker on "The Politics of Sports Business." His book, "The Business and Politics of Sports, Second Edition" is available at, Barnes and Noble or Amazon Kindle.


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Comments (2)
2 Friday, 07 October 2011 11:26
Putting aside the ridiculous attempt to make this about free speech, you might want to research a little more. The Braves are owned by Liberty Media, not AOL Time Warner. And AOL is no longer part of Time Warner as of two years ago. You might want to consider a refresher course in journalism, if in fact you did graduate from college.
1 Thursday, 06 October 2011 13:53
It really gets my goat when people try to bring in the 'Constitution' and "Free Speech' into arenas where they do not apply. And it doesn't apply here, not at all.

Free speech, as all Constitutional rights, apply to all citizens of this country. In public, you can say whatever you want, and you will not be prosecuted. That's what it means.

So "free speech" or the right to "bare arms" and so on do NOT apply to organizations, be they public or private. Were any of the people in this article prosecuted by a government agency for what they said? No? Then they, in fact, Spoke Freely, as protected by our Bill of Rights.

Constitutional rights means that you won't be prosecuted or jailed for speaking your mind, it does not in any way mean you won't be fired, asked to leave private property, or otherwise penalized by a private organization or individual.

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