Does context matter?

I’ve already said my piece about NFL protests. Knock yourself out, Colin. You too, Donald.

But I do have to wonder something. Suppose you went out to see a movie. You buy your tickets, your popcorn and soda, find your seat, and sit through the commercials. Then, just as the featured presentation is about to begin, the lights go up. Down the aisles walk a half dozen theater staff, who take up positions before the screen and proceed to put on “Make America Great” ball caps and kneel down for a minute.

Never mind the fact that this is a theater and they may get stuck to the floor like that indefinitely, would you mind this intrusion on your entertainment time? Do your mind part of your concessions money going to these people? Do you respect their freedom of speech, or do you complain to the management and threaten to never watch another movie there again? Do you keep going to movies knowing that they will be doing this every time for the foreseeable future?

At what point does freedom of speech impose on your freedom to avoid their speech? At what point is a protest at a paid event a violation of your rights as the person who paid for one thing and got another?

This is more of a general question; the NFL ownership/management have pretty much stated their support for players taking some of their “on-stage” time to make political statements, as is their right. They’ve made their bed and are willing to lay in it. And frankly I don’t care. The NFL doesn’t get my money anyway.

But, to the fact that NFL attendance/viewership is down, the last thing I want to hear is accusations against fans. All this means–if indeed it means anything–is that when people plunk down their hard-earned cash to attend or watch a game, you can’t blame them if what they want is to watch a game, not your protest. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get what you pay for–and only what you pay for. Don’t try to tell people they shouldn’t be upset when their can of corn also contains earwigs.

I suspect cable “Pay-Per-Protest” channels aren’t likely to be a viable business model any time soon.

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