There is Nothing Illegal About Restricting Free Speech
Yes, a person has the right to sit or stand during the national anthem. You can agree or disagree with the message that person is sending by sitting, kneeling or lying down, however freedom of speech protects that person’s right to do whatever they want during the national anthem.
All that being said, the US soccer team’s new policy that forces players to stand during the national anthem, is completely one hundred percent legal.
The reason for this is quite simple, the rules of free speech do not apply here, because a private organization is allowed to restrict your speech.
For an example, let’s meet Darryl.
(Darryl’s bad at making eye contact)
Darryl is an imaginary man who works for Wal-Mart. Darryl hates working for Wal-Mart, as it’s a generally miserable existence. So, Darryl talks to his co-worker about the manager, who to be fair is an absolute prick.
The next day Darryl comes into work and gets called into his manager’s office. Darryl forgot that the coworker and the manager were good friends. The manager yells at Darryl for three hours and then promptly fires him.
That little story is completely legal because when Darryl signed on to be an employee at Wal-Mart, he signed off on a portion of his free speech.
(Darryl signing away his free speech)
You see, free speech doesn’t exist inside of a privately-owned property. Businesses can absolutely restrict what their employees say in the workspace. Remember when your teacher in high school would say this isn’t a democracy?
She was absolutely right.
The same concept applies for Megan Rapinoe; the US soccer player who kneeled during the national anthem.
Now that the US soccer team has made a rule that everyone must stand during the national anthem, she has a few choices: kneel and accept the consequences; stand with everyone else; quit the league in protest; or just find another way to fight for her cause.
As far as the law is concerned, this is just the US soccer team exercising their right, as to what their employees can and cannot say in the workplace.
Of course, anger at the US soccer team for exercising this right is a different matter. Get angry at them all you want, just don’t say what they did was illegal because, by every measure, it is completely legal.