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Civil Unrest

Pro athletes should speak out on controversial issues

Pro athletes should speak out on controversial issues

When top NBA players took the court for warm-ups sporting their now-famous "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts, they were clearly violating the NBA attire rules, but they also evoked the American tradition of civil disobedience championed by Henry David Thoreau. Ironically, though, our pro athletes may actually have a greater obligation to speak up than they have a technical right to do so. The First Amendment does not directly apply — it only pertains to government action, not NBA rules — and the NBA and NFL have a right to enforce their rules. But league commissioners would still be wise to exercise the restraint of a broader perspective, recognizing the difference...

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